30 Days Of The 2014 Tony Awards: Day #17 - HELLO, DOLLY!
Today we continue the 2014 edition of our annual BroadwayWorld feature series spotlighting the very best Tony Awards-related moments of all time with a special focus on one of the most adored and highly-awarded musicals ever written, HELLO, DOLLY! Before The Parade Passes By Everyone knows the title song - even still, to this day; and perhaps some others, too, thanks to WALL*E - but HELLO, DOLLY! has a lot more going for it than merely a few plucky tunes and a big diva turn at its center. Indeed, basing a musical on Thornton Wilder's acclaimed play THE MATCHMAKER was undoubtedly a stroke of genius at the time and uber producer David Merrick made a musical masterpiece out of a commendable collection of talented artists by pushing them to their absolute artistic limits while the show was trying out in 1963. Director/choreographer Gower Champion staged the show to the absolute hilt, while Jerry Herman provided a score overflowing with tunefulness and heart (along with some smart additions by Bob Merrill) to match Michael Stewart's sharp, breezy book. And, of course - and above all else - Carol Channing gave the performance of her life essaying the role of Dolly Levi and created musical theatre history in the process. A master class. Subsequently, the show was richly awarded at that year's Tony Awards and the musical emerged as the outright hit of the decade, receiving a record 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Of course, Carol Channing took home top honors for her star turn, as did Jerry Herman for Best Original Score, Michael Stewart for Best Book and director/choreographer Gower Champion in both of his nominated categories at the 1964 ceremony. Additionally, Freddy Wittop and Oliver Smith won in the Best Costume Design and Best Scenic Design categories, respectively, with Shepard Coleman winning the now non-existent Best Conductor prize. HELLO, DOLLY! can also claim to be one of only a handful of musicals to receive a special Tony Awards citation, given when Pearl Bailey replaced Channing, evidenced in Bailey receiving a Special Tony Award in 1968 for the revolutionary all-black edition of the show, which was masterminded by Merrick. On top of all that, the awe-inspiring list of replacement Dollys over the course of the original run of the musical on Broadway - which ran until 1970, by the way - also includes Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, Betty Grable, Martha Raye and Phyllis Diller. Clearly, HELLO, DOLLY! is a musical in a class all her own. So, now, let's take a look at some of the most memorable Tony Award-related moments as they pertain to HELLO, DOLLY! First up, see Carol Channing remind us why she wowed us so and continues to do so to this very day with this sensational "Before The Parade Passes By". Also, get a glimpse of Pearl Bailey's take on the title role. Lastly, witness Jerry Herman taking home his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. As a special bonus, see Carol Channing return to the stage singing the title song at the 2010 GYPSY OF THE YEAR gala. What precisely is it about HELLO, DOLLY! that has us both rolling in the aisles with laugher and searching for tissues to dry our tears all these years later? Is it the sublime Jerry Herman score? The delectable performance opportunities? The alluring Americana atmosphere? Whatever the recipe for success, HELLO, DOLLY! is chockfull of proof that, as an iconic musical, "Dolly'll never go away again."