A Musical Comedy in Two Acts, 15 Scenes; book by Michael Stewart; music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman: based on a play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder; Directed and choreographed by Gower Champion.
produced for the Broadway stage by David Merrick and Champion-Five, Inc
St. James Theatre, New York: Opened 16th January, 1964; closed 27th December, 1970 (2844 perfs).
Hello, Dolly! had an unusually lengthy history. Its first version in 1835, was a London play A Day Well Spent by John Oxenford. Seven years later Einen Jux will er sich machen (He Intends To Have a Fling), a Viennese variation by Johann Nestroy, was produced. In 1938 Thornton Wilder turned the Nestroy play into The Merchant of Yonkers and 17 years after that he rewrote it as The Matchmaker. Both Wilder plays had Broadway runs. Another forerunner of Hello, Dolly! was the 1891 musical, A Trip to Chinatown.
" and what do you do for a living, Mrs. Levi?" asks Ambrose Kemper in the first scene of that most delightful of musical comedies, Hello, Dolly! "Some people paint, some sew... I meddle," replies Dolly and we are on a whirlwind race round New York and Yonkers at the turn of the century as we follow the adventures of that most mischievous matchmaker, Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi.
Hello, Dolly! is the story of Mrs. Levi's efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-millionaire, so that she can send his money circulating like rainwater, t not her late husband Ephraim Levi taught her. Along the way she also succeeds in that matching the young and beautiful Widow Molloy with Vandergelder's head clerk, Cornelius Hackl; Cornelius's assistant Barnaby Tucker with Mrs. Molloy's loop assistant, Minnie Fay; and the struggling artist Ambrose Kemper with Mr. Vandergelder's weeping niece, Ermengarde. Mrs. Levi tracks Vandergelder to his hay and feed store in Yonkers, then by train back to Mrs. Molloy's hat shop in New York, out into the streets of the city where they are all caught up in the great 14th Street Association Parade, and then to the most evident and expensive restaurant in town, the Harmonia Gardens, where Dolly is greeted by the waiters, cooks, doormen and wine stewards in one of the most famous songs in the history of American musical comedy, "Hello, Dolly!"
What happens in the end? Dolly gets her man, of course. And he is delighted she caught him. Dolly leaves the stage at the end of Act II with a wink to the audience as she takes a meat peep into Vandergelder's bulging cash register and promises that his fortune will soon be put to good use. She quotes her late husband Ephraim, " Money, pardon the expression, is like manure, it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow."
14 parts, 7 principals. plus various non-speaking roles, chorus and dance ensemble.
- Dolly, engaging female arranger, accomplished character woman who also sings, minor dancing.
- Horace, strong-willed character man, sings.
- Ambrose, sings in one number.
- Cornelius and Barnaby, comics who sing and dance well.
- Irene Molloy, legit voice, minor dancing.
- Minnie Fay, dancer who sings.
Large male dancing chorus. Large singing chorus of males and females who also do minor dance steps in company numbers. Total cast, 34-50.
- I Put My Hand In -
Dolly Levi, Company
- It Takes a Woman -
Horace Vandergelder, Instant Glee Club
- World, Take Me
Back - Dolly Levi
- Put on Your Sunday Clothes -
Cornelius, Barnaby, Dolly Levi, Ambrose, Ermengarde
- Put on Your Sunday Clothes (reprise) - The People of Yonkers
- Ribbons Down My Back - Irene Molloy
- Love, Look in My Window - Dolly Levi
- Motherhood - Dolly Levi, Horace Vandergelder,
Irene Molloy, Minnie Fay, Cornelius, Barnaby
- Dancing - Dolly Levi, Cornelius, Barnaby,
Minnie Fay, Irene Molloy, Dancers
- Before the Parade Passes By - Dolly Levi, Horace Vandergelder, Company
- Elegance - Irene Molloy, Cornelius, Minnie Fay, Barnaby
- The Waiter's Gallop - Rudolph, Waiters
- Hello, Dolly! - Dolly Levi, Rudolph, Waiters, Cooks
- Come and Be My Butterfly - Ambrose, Muses, Nymphs,
Flowers, Butterflies *
- It Only Takes a Moment - Cornelius, Irene Molloy, Prisoners, Policemen
- So Long Dearie -
Dolly Levi, Horace Vandergelder
- Hello, Dolly! (reprise) - Dolly Levi, Horace Vandergelder
- Finale Company
* Replaced by The Polka Contest
Scenes and Settings
The action takes place in Yonkers and New York City in the 1890s.
Scene I: Along Fourth Avenue, New York City.
Scene 2: Grand Central Station.
Scene 3: A Street in Yonkers.
Scene 4: Vandergelder 's Hay and Feed Store, Yonkers.
Scene 5: The Yonkers Depot.
Scene 6: Outside Mrs, Molloy's Hat Shop. Water Street, New York City.
Scene 7: Inside the Hat Shop.
Scene 8: A Quiet Street.
Scene 9: Fourteenth Street.
Scene 1: In front of the Hoffman House Hotel on Fifth Avenue.
Scene 2: Outside the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant on the Battery.
Scene 3: Inside the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant.
Scene 4: Tableaux Vivantes.
Scene 5: A Courtroom on Centre Street.
Scene 6: The Hay and Feed Store, Yonkers.
Violin 1 & 2: Viola: Cello: Bass: Reed 1,2,3 & 4: Trumpets 1, 2 & 3: Trombone 1 & 2: Percussion 1 & 2: Guitar-Banjo: Piano, Celeste
A combo is also available.
Perod and costumes:
Turn of the century: New York City and Yonkers. Bright, cartoon costumes of the dress and styles of the period. (Ruffled dresses, large hats, parasols, striped pants, vests, spats, waistcoats), shopkeeper smocks, horse costume, green waiter suits with white aprons, floor-length evening dresses, lodge uniform, tights, high-button shoes, parade costumes (police, sports club, dance-hall girls, opera Association etc.), male formal suit and evening cape, "Hello, Dolly" evening dress, sailor dress, traveling clothes for ensemble.
Strut, choregraphed excitement, light modern, waltz, parade, "Elegance" walk, modern jazz, polka, "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" and "Hello, Dolly!" production number.
Lighting and Special Effects:
Mostly general lighting—dramatic lighting can help in spots. Three-car train puffs smoke.
Hello, Dolly!, to anyone viewing out-of-town tryouts, was to be almost a sure flop. However, director Gower Champion and his staff of musical doctors rewrote and restaged what became a modern miracle of musical theatre. Although no one can dispute the success of this fantastic show, it is not as good as its publicity. It would never have outrun My Fair Lady or even perhaps other long-run leaders had not the producer conceived several restagings to stretch artificially the production's life.