Betty Buckley to lead US national tour of 'Hello, Dolly!'

NEW YORK — Tony Award-winning actress Betty Buckley has been tapped to lead the national tour of the latest exuberant Broadway production of "Hello, Dolly!" a gig she calls "such a gift."

"I'm just so happy to take such a happy show all around America. It's like 'Make America Happy Again,'" Buckley told The Associated Press on Monday. "It's like an antidote."

Buckley will star as matchmaker and schemer Dolly Levi in the production that won four Tony Awards last year, including best revival on Broadway and best actress in a musical for Bette Midler, who also played Levi.

Buckley saw the show with Midler this winter and "was in rapture," sitting in the second row and weeping. The production was "one of the most joyous pieces of musical theater I have ever experienced."

"Bette Midler was absolutely like an ice cream sundae. You just wanted to scoop her up," Buckley said. Producer Scott Rudin reached out and she didn't need much persuading, citing the cast, production values and costume designs. "I'm such a fan of this production and I'm such a fan of Bette's that it never occurred to me that it was something I would be invited to do."

The tour kicks off Oct. 2 at Cleveland's Playhouse Square. It will have lengthy stops in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Full tour dates and cities will be announced shortly, as will the rest of the cast. Bernadette Peters has inherited the Broadway role of Levi.

The show is a musical version of Thornton Wilder's play "The Matchmaker" with the songs "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," ''Before the Parade Passes By" and "So Long Dearie."

She spoke while on the way to New Orleans to shoot the third season of the AMC series "Preacher," playing Dominic Cooper's grandmother.

Buckley won a Tony as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats" in the 1982 original Broadway production and received her second Tony nomination for best actress in a musical for her performance as Hesione in "Triumph of Love." She also starred in "Eight Is Enough" on TV.

Buckley won an Olivier Award nomination in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard." Her other Broadway credits include "1776," ''Pippin," ''Song and Dance" and "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," in which she died onstage eight times a week.

Now she'll step into the role previously performed by Ethel Merman, Ginger Rogers, Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller, Betty Grable, Mary Martin, Midler, Donna Murphy and Bernadette Peters.

___

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

You may also like these

At 93, legendary climber Fred Beckey still...

Aug 13, 2016

Legendary Seattle climber Fred Beckey is the focus of a new documentary film about his life

A-Rod released by Yankees, who owe him $27...

Aug 13, 2016

Alex Rodriguez has been unconditionally released by the New York Yankees, ending his 12 years in...

Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 in 'Star Wars,'...

Aug 13, 2016

Kenny Baker, the 3-foot 8-inch (1.1 meter) actor who played R2-D2 in the "Star Wars" films, has died

Brian Williams to anchor late campaign newscast...

Aug 16, 2016

MSNBC's Brian Williams is getting a regular time slot, at least for a couple of months

As floodwaters recede, disbelief mixes with...

Aug 17, 2016

The smell of muddy water hung heavy in the air as people began sorting through waterlogged...

There are so many celebrities out there, but who’s the real Diva? Discover more on your favorite celebrities and get closer to them only here in The Diva Today

Contact us: sales[at]thedivatoday.com