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A Tony winner herself in 1983 for the role of Grizabella in Cats, Buckley will begin performances as meddling matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi when the tour kicks off Oct. 2 at the Connor Palace in Cleveland, Ohio’s Playhouse Square.
“When I saw the new Broadway production starring the divine Bette Midler, I literally wept with happiness,” said Buckley. “It was one of the most joyful productions I have ever witnessed in the musical theater! I am delighted and honored to be added to the list of the wonderful actress/singers who have played the role. I can’t wait to hit the road and bring this happy show to all of America!”
The illustrious list of past Dollys in the classic 1964 musical written by Michael Stewart with a score by Jerry Herman includes Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Betty Grable, Phyllis Diller, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman and Mary Martin.
Directed by Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Warren Carlyle with a nod to the original staging by Gower Champion, the current production won Tonys for musical revival, lead actress Midler, featured actor Gavin Creel and costume designer Santo Loquasto. Lead producer on the revival is Scott Rudin.
Midler and co-star David Hyde Pierce finished their 10-month engagements in the show in January, with Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber now sharing the stage at the Shubert Theatre, where the production has grossed a massive $93 million since opening to stellar reviews last April.
In addition to Cats, Buckley’s musical theater successes include 1776, Sunset Boulevard and Triumph of Love. She recently starred in Grey Gardens at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles and continues a prolific career as a concert, cabaret and recording artist. Buckley is best known to general audiences for the long-running ABC series Eight Is Enough, with film credits ranging from the Brian De Palma horror classic Carrie to M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.
The Hello, Dolly! tour is scheduled to play the Hollywood Pantages Theatre from Jan. 29-Feb. 17, 2019; the full schedule of dates and cities for the road company will be announced shortly.
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