You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Carol Channing — The First 80 Years Are the Hardest

Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back -- not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein's at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place.

With:
Musical director/piano, Ken Ascher; bass, Dick Sarpola; drums, Jim Saporito.

Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back — not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place.

A Broadway star for more than a half-century, Channing displays her durable wit, dashing versatility and a generous helping of studied showbiz savvy. Singing the Kander & Ebb sparkler, Channing proved she is still capable of serving up the old “Razzle Dazzle.” In a blazing, fire-engine red pantsuit, she looked glam and even offered a few high kicks.

Among Channing’s irreverent anecdotes, she cited Ethel Merman, who was heard to say, “Of course I know there’s a war on. I read it in Variety!” Recalling legendary entertainer Sophie Tucker as an “ample” woman, she quipped, “That means fat!”

Offering a spirited nod to vaudeville, Channing reprised Tucker’s trademark battle hymn “Some of These Days.”

With “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” Channing recalled the quest of Lorelei Lee, “who brought virginity to every man she met.”

Sans the great staircase, she re-creates a historic Broadway moment with Jerry Herman’s “Hello, Dolly!,” a role she played more than 5,000 times, proudly boasting that she never missed a performance. Invited to sing along, the enthusiastic first-night aud became a supportive chorus.

A newlywed in her mid-80s, Channing brought husband Harry Kullijian, a former high school beau, onstage for a bit of the old soft-shoe. Who said vaudeville was dead?

Carol Channing -- The First 80 Years Are the Hardest

Feinstein's at the Regency; 150 capacity; $60

Production: Presented inhouse. Opened, reviewed Oct. 11, 2005. Runs through Oct. 22.

Cast: Musical director/piano, Ken Ascher; bass, Dick Sarpola; drums, Jim Saporito.

More Legit

  • Kenya Barris and Pharrell Williams

    Kenya Barris, Pharrell Williams to Collaborate on Juneteenth Stage Musical

    Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back — not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place. A Broadway star […]

  • BD Wong

    Stagecraft Podcast: BD Wong Talks Basketball in Beijing, Dinosaurs and Batman

    Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back — not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place. A Broadway star […]

  • Michael Jackson Musical Coming to Broadway

    Michael Jackson Musical Coming to Broadway in 2020

    Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back — not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place. A Broadway star […]

  • Watch Tom Hanks Vamp on Stage

    Watch Tom Hanks Vamp on Stage to Calm His 'Henry IV' Audience

    Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back — not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place. A Broadway star […]

  • Donald Trump, Robert De Niro

    Trump Punches Back at Robert De Niro: 'A Very Low IQ Individual'

    Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back — not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place. A Broadway star […]

  • Matt Bomer Andrew Rannells

    Stagecraft Podcast: Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells on Broadway's 'Boys in the Band'

    Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back — not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place. A Broadway star […]

  • Bruce Springsteen72nd Annual Tony Awards, Show,

    Tony Awards: Everything You Didn't See on TV

    Carol Channing, who created such legendary Broadway babes as Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi, is back — not on Broadway, but a few blocks north at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Some things never change: Now a feisty and stately octogenarian, her familiar saucer-eyed smile and gravelly voice remain firmly locked in place. A Broadway star […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content