I think the greatest is "Take Care of This House," from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner.
It's a bit of an art song, sung by First Lady Abigail Adams, asking one of the servants to take care of the White House after she is gone. But when Abigail sings the words "This house is the home of us all," it becomes a song to all of us, asking us to always care of the newborn country she loves so much.
And how classy of Bette to say this: "Donna Murphy is one of the greats, and I’m so honored that we’ll be sharing this role. I was looking forward to staying home on Tuesdays, but looks like I’ll be going to the theater every week to watch her go on."
I do not fault the actors who were manipulated by Patti Murin's self-aggrandizing publicity stunt. They were dupes and several of them have said, privately, that in retrospect, they regret jumping on her bandwagon.
The whole affair has left her with an extremely poor reputation among many of her colleagues.
As for Laura Benanti, she is the kind of adored and admired A-list performer that Patti Murin will never be.
During the preview period, a show develops timing and pacing. So it frequently happens that a show that leaves you lukewarm in an early preview ends up enchanting you when you return to it.
At a certain point late in previews the show is "frozen." In a case of a revival of a solid show like Hello, Dolly! with a seasoned pro like Bette Midler directed by a master of the genre like Jerry Zaks, the show will probably jell early in previews.
One might ask the same question of Noel Coward plays or Shakespeare's comedies or Aristophanes or Charlie Chaplin movies. There is a human truth to comedy that your question displays a lack of experience with. Your question is like asking "Is Love's Labour's Lost too frivolous?" or "Is Private Lives too frivolous?" or "Is Mickey Mouse too frivolous?"
Comedy and tragedy have existed side by side since storytelling first began. Whil