Thursday, January 16, 2014

50 years ago: Hello, Dolly! opened on Broadway

Hello, Dolly!

Jerry Herman (music & lyrics)

The Musical

Premiered in Detroit: November 18, 1963

Opened on Broadway: January 16, 1964

Number of Performances: 2844

Opened at London’s West End: December 2, 1965

Number of Performances: 794

Movie Release: December 16, 1969

Cast Album

Charted: February 22, 1964

Peak: 11 US

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US

Genre: show tunes


Charted: November 15, 1969

Peak: 49 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: show tunes

Songs on Cast Album:

  1. Prologue/Call on Dolly
  2. I Put My Hand In
  3. It Takes a Woman
  4. Put on Your Sunday Clothes
  5. Ribbons Down My Back
  6. Motherhood
  7. Dancing
  8. Before the Parade Passes By
  9. Elegance
  10. Hello, Dolly!
  11. It Only Takes a Moment
  12. So Long, Darie
  13. Finale

Songs on Soundtrack:
  1. Just Leave Everything to Me
  2. It Takes a Woman
  3. It Takes a Woman (Reprise)
  4. Put on Your Sunday Clothes
  5. Ribbons Down My Back
  6. Dancing
  7. Before the Parade Passes By
  8. Elegance
  9. Love Is Only Love
  10. Hello, Dolly!
  11. It Only Takes a Moment
  12. So Long, Darie
  13. Finale

Singles/Hit Songs:

These were covers of songs from this musical which became hits:

  • “Hello, Dolly!” – Louis Armstrong (#1, 1964)
  • ”So Long, Dearie” – Louis Armstrong (#56, 1964)


4.208 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings for cast album and soundtrack combined)

Quotable: “One of the last great old-style musicals” – William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

Awards (Cast Album and Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

About the Show:

“Few Broadway musicals have proven as timeless as Hello, Dolly!.” LP “The centerpiece is the David Merrick adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker (1956). When coupled with Gower Champion’s impeccable direction and choreography, as well as Jerry Herman’s equally memorable score, (pardoning the pun) the stage was set for an irrepressible blend of laughter and song.” LP

“Herman used a turn-of-the-century, major-chord, big-melody approach” WR to create “one of the last great old-style musicals and a massive hit. Even today, its songs…are so memorable most people can hum them.” WR

“The ensemble are…superb, boasting the respective talents of [Carol] Channing as Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi, Charles Nelson Reilly portraying Cornelius Hackl, and concurrent newcomer Eileen Brennan as Irene Molloy.” LP “It’s precisely because Channing doesn’t quite have the range for these melodies that she’s able to express the character so well (an effect lost in the Barbra Streisand movie version, though Streisand has no trouble expressing character in other ways).” WR

“In addition to the universally renown title selection, Hello, Dolly!, the David Burns’ led It Takes a Woman, Reilly and Brennan’s It Only Takes a Moment, Channing’s I Put My Hand In and So Long Dearie are a few of the other classics.” LP

“After opening at the St. James Theater on January 16, 1964, Hello, Dolly! immediately became an unprecedented success, ultimately running for 2, 844 performances – the most for any Broadway musical up to that point. The soundtrack yielded similar enthusiasm, selling roughly 80,000 copies during its’ first week alone. While those results would have been staggering for any release circa 1964, for an LP of a stage show the numbers were all the more impressive.” LP

Notes: The 2003 deluxe edition of the cast recording overhauled the sound with digital remastering and added six recordings, including “‘I Put My Hand In’ and ‘So Long Dearie’ taken from the 1965 London cast, led by Mary Martin. ‘Before the Parade Passes By’ and ‘Hello, Dolly!’ featuring Pearl Bailey are from the 1967 revival. Plus, Ethel Merman's 1970 redux of ‘Love, Look in My Window’ and ‘World, Take Me Back.’” LP

There’s also “ten-minutes-worth of recollections from a 2003 interview with Carol Channing,” LP which contains “wonderful reminiscences, nicely enhancing the substantial cache of supplements.” LP

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 8/11/2008; last updated 12/24/2021.

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