Call on Dolly: From Carol to Bette
Since Hello, Dolly! first opened in 1964, the show has been acclaimed as one of the best-loved hits of all time. Jerry Herman’s score has yielded enduring standards like “Before the Parade Passes By,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” — and, of course, the title number — songs that are part of our national subconscious, as American as apple pie, and yet world-famous. The title role has provided unparalleled opportunities for dozens of legendary actresses (and a few actors), including Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Ginger Rogers, Pearl Bailey, Barbra Streisand at the movies, and of course the original Dolly herself, Carol Channing.
Audiences can’t get enough of this show. Earlier this year, Bette Midler (and Donna Murphy) returned to Broadway in a revival that not only celebrates Gower Champion’s original vision of Dolly, but also marks a renewed interest in this landmark musical. It’s a show everyone knows and loves. But how much do you really know about Dolly?
For the past 8 years, Richard Skipper has conducted over 500 interviews with players from the original Broadway run, road shows, regional companies, productions around the world, and even the movie starring Barbra Streisand. The project began with Richard’s love of Carol Channing, and through their friendship, as he heard stories from her and her colleagues, he realized that these stories needed to be preserved. Dolly may be forever, but the theatrical world in which the show was born has changed.
Not only will Richard celebrate the legacy of Hello Dolly but he generously shares the journeys of the people who lived with various productions of the show. Call on Dolly: From Carol Channing to Bette Midler … and Beyond! will feature interviews, stories and pictures from the casts who brought Dolly to stages and screens around the world in an attractive coffee-table book filled with informative fun.
Call on Dolly is a book for all ages who admire the arts, and who want to get an inside perspective of the journeys of not only Carol Channing and Bette Midler, but of all of the actors and supporting players throughout countless productions of Hello, Dolly! Every fan of Dolly and every student of musical theater will want to own this book.
Marge Champion, whose husband, Gower Champion, directed the original production, says, “Nothing like this has ever been done, chronicling the stories of those that were there, in their own words! Call on Dolly offers that collection of many interviews with these incredible women and many others involved in the show. Call on Dolly offers a perspective of constant evolving changes, not only in the theater, but also against the backdrop of the world as it changes.”
Carol Channing says, “There are very few individuals who know more about Dolly Gallagher Levi than I … Oh, and Jerry Herman, of course. However, Richard Skipper certainly comes close. When it comes to the history of Jerry’s brilliant production, beyond the 5000-plus performances of my own, even I turn to Richard Skipper when I have questions about the remarkable ladies who followed me in the role that the world fell in love with over 50 years ago. From the world’s second Dolly, Carole Cook, to the original Broadway production’s last Dolly, Ethel Merman, and all of those talented ladies in between. Pearl Bailey, who made the role of Dolly her own, Phyllis Diller, who has often been mistaken for me and I her, and Eve Arden, who wore the exact same size as I and stepped in for me so I could film Thoroughly Modern Millie. Oh, and don’t forget JoAnne Worley, who so patiently waited in the wings as my standby and did such a remarkable job of it when she eventually donned Dolly’s red gown for herself. Dolly is America’s Hamlet and should be treated with the same respect and played by everyone. I am so glad that Richard has taken the time to chronicle the history of the Dollys. She is theatre’s ultimate Broadway Baby … with all due respect to Maria Van Trapp, Eliza Doolittle, Sally Bowles, Mama Rose and Mame.”
We need your help to complete the project. Please consider making a donation today — and tell your friends. As Dolly Levi says, “Money, if you'll pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.”
Any donation is greatly appreciated. However, for a donation of $1,000 or more Richard will donate his talents for your next special event as MC or host. He also has a special show/presentation chronicling the history of Dolly with a special emphasis on the Legendary Ladies of Dolly that is ideally suited for benefits/fundraisers.
That will also include a personally autographed copy of the book upon completion AND a question and answer session along with songs and a Meet and Greet. Richard promises an informative, entertaining and fun event, with some definite laughs.
To learn more about Call on Dolly please visit http://www.callondolly.com/
For additional updates you can follow