Hello, Dolly! opened on January 16, 1964 at the St James Theatre in New York City and played for 2,844 performances. Dolly Levi the matchmaker who meddles - "I have always been a woman who arranges things…When a boy with a timid tongue meets a girl with a diffident air …('I put my hand in there') was played with great relish by the gravel-voiced Carol Channing. She was of an age to play Dolly whereas Barbra Streisand as the on-screen Dolly of the 1969 film was, as the majority of critics agreed rather too young, even though she certainly belted out those songs as well as the other more mature stage Dollies – as well as Carol Channing , Mary Martin, Pearl Bailey and Ethel Merman all of whom are heard singing in the bonus tracks of this marvellous album.
Carol Channing brings her own joyous, irrepressible style to that great ensemble number, 'Put on your Sunday clothes', and 'Before the parade passes by', 'Motherhood', 'Dancing', 'So long Dearie' and, of course, 'Hello, Dolly'. David Burns sounding remarkably like the lugubrious Walter Mathau (Horace Vandergelder in the film) sings the gloriously politically incorrect 'It takes a woman' (…to joyously clean out the drains and sink …for washing, gluing and shoeing the mare..). Eileen Brennan brings charm to the more romantic songs: 'Ribbons down my back' and with Charles Nelson Reilly as Cornelius Hackl (Michael Crawford in the film), 'It only takes a moment' and 'Elegance'.
The bonus tracks have Mary Martin singing 'I put my hand in' and 'So long dearie' while Pearl Bailey is heard in 'Hello Dolly' and 'Before the parade passes by'. Ethel Merman sings two numbers: the rousing 'World, take me back' and 'Love, look in my window' when it was originally thought that she would star in the show.
A very successful refurbishment. A real tonic, I defy you to be able to refrain from tapping your feet. Three cheers for Dolly!