HELLO, DOLLY! Starring Bette Midler
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BWW CD Review: HELLO, DOLLY! (The New Broadway Cast Recording) is Wonderfully Vibrant and Cheerful

BWW CD Review: HELLO, DOLLY! (The New Broadway Cast Recording) is Wonderfully Vibrant and Cheerful
Cover art courtesy of Masterworks Broadway.

The moment Masterworks Broadway's release of Hello, Dolly! (The New Broadway Cast Recording) arrived in my mailbox, I was bowled over with giddy excitement to hear the album. It is no secret that I personally feel that inspired theatrical divinity is allowing the world to bask in Bette Midler as Dolly Gallagher Levi in a Broadway revival of this classical musical. As a whole, Hello, Dolly! (The New Broadway Cast Recording) is wonderfully vibrant and cheerful. From opening to close, this music-this album-is just as giddy for you to listen to it as you are to hear it.

Once listeners move past gushing over hearing Midler sing this score, they will begin to better understand Terry Teachout's Wall Street Journal review. I'd be remiss not to take note that it is immediately apparent that, at 71 years old, Midler's instrument is not as dynamic as it once was. But, to be fair, who was seriously expecting it to be? For me, the current state of her instrument doesn't dampen the enjoyment of hearing her take on this iconic role. Instead, listeners are treated to Midler singing with sincerity and truly infectious mirth. Moreover, Midler handles the show's signature moment, "Before the Parade Passes By," with elegant poise. Her belt in the song's rousing finale is boisterous and balanced, not bold and brash. Likewise, her rendition of "Hello, Dolly!" is amply lush and shimmers with life, and her take on "So Long Dearie" is feisty, fiery fun.

Taking on Cornelius Hackl, Gavin Creel is spellbinding on "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," "Dancing," and "It Only Takes a Moment." Creel sings with deft charm, and leaves listeners swooning. His voice is magnanimous and resplendent on each track he appears on. Similarly, Kate Baldwin sings with tangible charisma as Irene Molloy on songs like "Dancing" and "Elegance;" yet, "Ribbons Down My Back" is the moment on the album where she gets to showcase just how lovely and gifted her voice is. She fills the song with sheer romance and dazzling hope, leaving the audience rooting for her to find the suitor of her dreams.

David Hyde Pierce thrills audiences with his upbeat rendition of "Penny in My Pocket." He sings with vivacity and wit, making this song a surprising standout moment on the album.

Directed by Andy Einhorn, the 26-member orchestra is stunningly sumptuous and gorgeous on every single track. They play each arrangement with clarity and majesty, ensuring that this classic score glitters with ebullient buoyancy. While they don't necessarily make musicals like this one anymore, Einhorn and this orchestra have a knack for making this music sound completely fresh, despite its age.

The sticker on the packaging for the album reads, "Can't get to Broadway? Can't score a ticket? This album transports you right into the theater with three-time Grammy®-winning legend Bette Midler." If that is true, I only hope that I can actually get into the Shubert Theatre and see this show, and soon. After all, the liner notes only offer one production photo, so it's hard to picture what this show really looks like. But, these artists all breathe so much life into this score across the 16 tracks, that I can only imagine that it is all the more fun to experience in person.

Masterworks Broadway released Hello, Dolly! (The New Broadway Cast Recording) on May 12, 2017. The album is available for purchase from their webstore, iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere music is sold. For tickets and more information, please visit www.hellodollyonbroadway.com.

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