Midler, who showed off her power at the Broadway box office in the strong-selling one-woman play “I’ll Eat You Last” in 2013, will play the title role of Dolly Levi, originated by Carol Channing on Broadway in 1964 and played in the 1969 movie by Barbra Streisand. The musical, with songs by Jerry Herman (“La Cage aux Folles,” “Mame”) and book by Michael Stewart, will be directed by Broadway veteran Zaks (“Six Degrees of Separation,” “Guys and Dolls”) and choreographed by Warren Carlyle (“After Midnight,” the upcoming “She Loves Me”), with a nod to the work of original director-choreographer Gower Champion.
Midler, who’s wanted to play Dolly for years, seems a natural fit for the flamboyant comic lead of of the show, and the match seems likely to draw musical-theater fans in droves. The new revival of “Hello, Dolly!” has its dates all lined up — beginning previews March 13, 2017 ahead of an April 20, 2017 opening — but a theater won’t be locked in until closer to the run.
“Dolly” joins a busy Broadway slate for Rudin, who just this spring alone has three plays (“The Humans,” “Blackbird,” “The Crucible”) and a new musical (“Shuffle Along”) on his plate.