Hello, Dolly!

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“And what do you do for a living, Mrs. Levi?” asks Ambrose Kemper in the first scene of this most delightful of musical comedies. “Some people paint, some sew… I meddle,” replies Dolly. HELLO, DOLLY! is full of memorable songs including Put On Your Sunday Clothes, Ribbons Down My Back, Before the Parade Passes By, Hello, Dolly!, Elegance, It Only Takes a Moment and So Long, Dearie. And we are off on a whirlwind race around New York at the turn of the twentieth century, as we follow the adventures of America’s most beloved matchmaker!

Music samples provided courtesy of Masterworks Broadway and MPL Music Publishing.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • HELLO, DOLLY! is the story of Mrs. Dolly Levi’s efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, and send his money circulating among the people like rainwater the way her late husband, Ephraim Levi, taught her. Along the way she also succeeds in matching up the young and beautiful Widow Molloy with Vandergelder’s head clerk, Cornelius Hackl; Cornelius’ assistant, Barnaby Tucker, with Mrs. Molloy’s assistant, Minnie Fay; and the struggling artist, Ambrose Kemper, with Mr. Vandergelder’s weeping niece, Ermengarde.
    Mrs. Levi tracks Vandergelder to his hay and feed store in Yonkers, then by train back to Mrs. Molloy’s hat shop in New York, out into the streets of the city where they are all caught up in the great Fourteenth Street Association Parade, and finally to the most elegant and expensive restaurant in town, the Harmonia Gardens. There, Dolly is greeted by the waiters, cooks, doormen and wine stewards in one of the most famous songs in the history of American musical comedy, Hello, Dolly!
    What happens in the end? Dolly gets her man, of course. Even makes him glad she caught him. Dolly leaves the stage at the end of Act II with a wink to the audience as she takes a peep into Vandergelder’s bulging cash register, and promises that his fortune will soon be put to good use. She quotes her late husband as she says, “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.”
    HELLO, DOLLY! is an ebullient and irresistible story of the joy of living, glittering with happy songs, shining with loving scenes, alive with the personality of one of the most fabulous characters on the musical stage…Dolly Gallagher Levi!
    Classic musical numbers include Put On Your Sunday Clothes, Ribbons Down My Back, Before the Parade Passes By, Elegance, It Only Takes A Moment and So Long, Dearie.

  • Book by Michael Stewart
    Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman
    Based on the Play “The Matchmaker” by Thornton Wilder
    Original Production Directed and Choreographed by Gower Champion
    Produced for the Broadway Stage by David Merrick and Champion-Five, Inc.

  • Full Orchestration:

    2 Violin I (optional)
    1 Violin II (optional)
    1 Viola (optional)
    1 Cello (optional)
    1 Bass & optional Tuba

    1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed II: Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed III: Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Baritone Saxophone

    1 Trumpets I and II
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II

    2 Percussion I and II:
    Timpani (2 Drums)
    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum
    Cymbals, Suspended & Hand
    Vibraphone
    Xylophone
    Glockenspiel
    Bell Plate
    Wood Block
    Cow Bell
    Slide Whistle
    Ratchet

    1 Guitar & Banjo
    1 Piano & Celeste

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

    Orchestra parts are cued so the score may be played with the following minimum number of parts: 3 Reeds, 2 Trumpets, 1 Trombone, 1 Percussion, Bass and Piano. Add parts in the following order to build the full orchestra: Reed IV, Trombone II, Trumpet III, Cello, Violins, Viola, Percussion II and Guitar-Banjo.

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score
    1       Prompt Book
    5       Prompt Books for Principal Characters
    1       Original Cast CD
    12     Dialogue Parts
    34     Chorus-Vocal Parts

    Optional Additional Materials

    1       Stage Manager’s Guide

    Medium-Voice Transpositions for the role of Dolly Levy

    As sung on the original cast album by Carol Channing, the keys for Dolly Levi’s nine numbers are too low for many singers. The Medium-Voice Transpositions provide a comfortable range for most soprano “belters.”
    The computer-engraved transposition books contain complete musical numbers and playoffs, if necessary, to make rehearsals and performances as smooth as possible. The Medium-Voice Transpositions are specially made to accommodate Dolly’s role; all the other musical numbers remain in their original keys. The transpositions are carefully crafted to minimize range adjustments necessary for the other singers in ensemble numbers. Performing HELLO, DOLLY! with the Medium-Voice Transpositions requires both a complete set of the original performance materials and the transposition materials.

    The set of materials includes:

    Piano-Conductor’s Score for the transposed numbers.
    Chorus-Vocal Books with transpositions for each of the principals and the chorus.
    Orchestra parts with transpositions for each orchestra player.

    Dolly Keys: Original (Channing) vs. Medium-Voice Transpositions

    No. 2 • I Put My Hand In (written up a major third) Channing Medium Voice
              bar 1-9   A-flat   C
              bar 10-208   E-flat   G
    No. 4 • Put On Your Sunday Clothes (bars 53-90 up a fourth)
              bar 1-10   E   =
              bar 11-18   A   =
              bar 19-52   D   =
              bar 52   (B7)   (E7)
              bar 53-90   E   A
              bar 91 al fine   E-flat etc.   =
    No. 6 • Motherhood March (bars 1-35 up a fourth; bars 36-101 up a fifth)
              bar 1-28   G   C
              bar 29-61   G   D
              bar 62-101   A-flat   E-flat
    No. 7 • Dancing (bars 1-65 up a fifth; bars 66-121 up a major sixth)
              bar 1-65   G   D
              bar 66-122   E-flat   C
              bar 122-129 music is in the same key, but different key signature
              bar 130 al fine   C etc.   =
    No. 8 • Before The Parade Passes By (bars 1-123 up a fourth)
              bar 1-79   D   G
              bar 80-123   E-flat   A-flat
              bar 123a-123d new 4-bar modulation
              bar 130 al fine   E-flat etc.   =
    No. 9 • Finale — Act I (same key, but sounding at pitch)
              bar 1-21   E-flat   E-flat
    No. 13 • Hello, Dolly (bars 1-42 up a fifth; bars 77-127 up a major seventh)
              bar 1-42   C   G
              bar 43-76   E-flat   =
              bar 77-127   B-flat   A
              bar 128 al fine   C etc.   =
    No. 17 • So Long, Dearie (up a fourth)
              bar 1-14   G   C
              bar 15-95   B-flat   E-flat
              bar 96-141   B   E
    No. 18 • Finale Ultimo (bars 24-42 up a fifth)
              bar 1-23   B-flat   =
              bar 24-42   B-flat   F
              bar 43 al fine   E-flat etc.   =
  • Principals

    (5 female; 4 male)

    Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi — an indefatigable meddling matchmaker; a widow in her middle years
    Mrs. Irene Molloy — a millioneress with a hat shop near 14th Street in New York City
    Minnie Fay — a young girl who works in Irene’s Shop
    Ernestina — a heavy-set girl in need of Mrs. Levi’s services
    Ermengarde — the 17-year-old niece of Horace Vandergelder
    Horace Vandergelder — proprietor of a hay and feed store in Yonkers, NY and a client of Mrs. Levi’s
    Cornelius Hackl — Vandergelder’s chief clerk, 33 years old
    Barnaby Tucker — an assistant to Cornelius, 17 years old
    Ambrose Kemper — a young artist seeking to marry Ermengarde

    Supporting (from the Chorus)

    Mrs. Rose — sells vegetables from a street cart, a friend of Mrs. Levi’s from years before
    Coachman — non-speaking
    Horse — two chorus/dancers
    Rudolph Reisenweber — the Prussian major-domo of the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant
    Stanley — a young waiter
    Fritz, Harry, Louie, Danny, Manny and Hank — waiters; non-speaking chorus/dancers
    First Cook — Harmonia Gardens employee with a German accent
    Second Cook — Harmonia Gardens employee
    Judge — white whiskered, red nosed, New York night court
    Policemen — several New York City officers; only one speaking
    Court Clerk (Recorder) — male chorus member
    Paperhanger — non-speaking

    Ensemble

    Townspeople of New York
    Yonkers Band
    Lodge Members
    Feed Store Customers
    Harmonia Gardens Customers
    Polka Contest Contestants
    14th Street Parade Ensemble

    Suggested: 8 female dancers, 8 female singers, 6 male singers, 12 male dancers.

    (Can be done with fewer)

    The original Broadway production had a cast of 45 performers, including chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

  • HELLO, DOLLY! played for 2844 performances on Broadway at the St. James Theatre with Carol Channing in the title role. At the time it was the longest playing Broadway musical. The London production played for 794 performances at the Drury Lane Theatre. The show has been revived several times on Broadway, most recently in 1995 for 116 performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, again with Carol Channing as Dolly Levi.

    Awards (1964)

    10 Tony Awards for Musical, Actress, Author, Producer, Director, Composer/Lyricist, Musical Director, Scenic Designer, Costume Designer and Choreographer
    The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Musical

    Awards (1968)

    2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Actor and Actress
    The Theatre World Award (Jack Crowder)

    Awards (1970)

    The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance (Ethel Merman)