(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/20; via Pam Green.)
Bette Midler has never seen “Hello, Dolly!” onstage.
Sure, she’d seen the movie, and she was generally familiar with the story, but when the producer Scott Rudin started calling her some months ago, asking her to consider starring in a revival of the musical on Broadway, she realized she needed to do some homework.
She went to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to watch a film of Carol Channing in the 1995 revival, and to YouTube to watchclips of Pearl Bailey in the 1975 revival. She watched “The Matchmaker,” a 1958 film starring Shirley Booth, which is adapted from the same Thornton Wilder play that inspired the musical.