First Image Released of Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!'

Julieta Cervantes
Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!'

Midler stars opposite David Hyde Pierce in the blockbuster Broadway revival of Jerry Herman's beloved musical, which has already racked up advance sales of more than $40 million, ahead of its first preview Wednesday.

Well, hello, Dolly.

Bette Midler is dressed to the nines in flamboyant red with extravagant head plumage in the first image of the star as Dolly Gallagher Levi, the brassy matchmaker at the center of Jerry Herman's classic musical, Hello, Dolly!

The shot of a radiant Midler strutting her stuff in front of the red-jacketed male chorus, playing waiters at the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, was released ahead of the first preview on March 15 of the Broadway revival, which promises to be among the hottest tickets of the season.

Officially opening April 20 at the Shubert Theatre, the show smashed box-office records with sales of $9 million on its first day of availability. A spokesman for the production says advance sales have now surpassed $40 million.

Directed by Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, the production will pay tribute to the original 1964 staging by director-choreographer Gower Champion. While Champion's original model saw multiple return engagements, the current revival, produced by Scott Rudin, is the first new production to appear on Broadway since the show premiered more than 50 years ago, when it swept the Tonys, winning in 10 categories and running for seven years.

The show features a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, and a beloved score by Herman that includes such evergreen songs as "It Takes a Woman," "Ribbons Down My Back," "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," "Elegance," "Before the Parade Passes By" and the title number, made famous in a hit version by Louis Armstrong.

Midler steps into a role previously taken on by Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey, Mary Martin and Ginger Rogers, among others, along with Barbra Streisand in the 1969 screen version. She stars in the revival opposite David Hyde Pierce, Kate Baldwin and Gavin Creel. Midler's last Broadway appearance was in the hit 2013 solo play, I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers.

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