Well, well Hello, Dolly!: A guide to the golden-age musical coming to the Adelphi Theatre

By | Posted on 27-Nov-2019

Well, well Hello, Dolly!: A guide to the golden-age musical coming to the Adelphi Theatre

After 50 years away from the West End, Hello, Dolly! is back where it belongs, coming to the Adelphi Theatre in 2020. Imelda Staunton will star as the lovestruck matchmaker Dolly Levi in Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman’s classic musical where true love really can conquer all. We take a look at the history of this well-known musical as well as the upcoming West End cast to find out why you need to book your Hello, Dolly! tickets.  

Hello, Dolly! at the Adelphi Theatre

What happens in Hello, Dolly!?

Set in 1890s America, audiences meet Dolly Levi, a famous matchmaker whose helped countless singletons find love. For her latest job, she travels to New York in the hopes of finding ‘half-a-millionaire’ Horace Vandergelder a wife, a wealthy, authoritative suitor who is reluctant to change. As Dolly Levi begins helping Horace, she reflects on her own love life, wondering if she’s the perfect match for her client. Will Dolly be able to make a match for herself?

Who is starring in Hello, Dolly!?

So far, two cast members have been announced for the 2020 West End revival of Hello, Dolly! at the Adelphi Theatre.

Hello, Dolly!
Imelda Staunton in Sweeney Todd (2012)

The multi-Olivier Award-winning Imelda Staunton will star as Dolly Levi, who has taken home the best actress in a musical category three times for playing the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd and most recently Momma Rose in Gypsy. In her West End career, she’s also taken on iconic roles including Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Staunton hasn’t just appeared in West End productions, she can also be seen in 21st-century film classics, including Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter film series and a BAFTA Award-winning performance in Vera Drake.

In 2006, Staunton was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), later awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2016 for services to drama.

Further casting is to be announced.

Is Hello, Dolly! based on a true story?

While Hello, Dolly! is a fictional story, the musical’s inspiration was taken from two 20th century plays by Thornton Wilder; The Merchant of Yonkers and The Matchmaker.

The Merchant of Yonkers was performed at the Guild Theatre from December 1938 to January 1939, following the then minor character Dolly Gallagher Levi as she’s able to help couples find happiness and stay together in 19th century New York. Although The Merchant of Yonkers had limited success, the play was reworked and rewritten, staged in a new production in 1954 called The Matchmaker. Receiving its world premiere in Edinburgh, Dolly became the central character in this comedic play, which went on to entertain audiences in the West End and on Broadway.

Has Hello, Dolly! been in the West End before?

After the 1964 Broadway production took audiences by storm, the all-American love story made its West End premiere on 2nd December 1965 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Although the musical had commercial success, running for nearly 800 performances, Hello, Dolly! hasn’t been seen in the West End since the 1960s, so audiences can look forward to this classic musical on a London stage once more.

Where can I listen to the Hello, Dolly! soundtrack?

Here’s the cast recording for the 2017 Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, which took home four Tony Awards including best revival of a musical, starring Bette Midler, Gavin Creel and Kate Baldwin. However, people have been able to listen to the Hello, Dolly! soundtrack for over 50 years, as there was a cast recording of the original 1964 production, which stayed at number one on the Billboard charts for seven weeks.

The Hello, Dolly! soundtrack features an original score by Jerry Herman, with songs including ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’, ‘Elegance’, ‘Ribbons Down My Back’, ‘Before the Parade Passes By’, ‘It Only Takes a Moment’ and ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Where is Hello, Dolly! performed in the West End?

Hello, Dolly! is at the Adelphi Theatre. The Adelphi Theatre located on the Strand (WC2R 0NS). The nearest train station is Charing Cross, which is a 4-minute walk away. Underground services are available at Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo lines). Embankment and Leicester Square tube stations are also nearby.

When is Hello, Dolly in the West End?

Hello, Dolly! is at the Adelphi Theatre for a limited engagement from 11th August 2020 to 6th March 2021.