Peak Dolly Gallagher Levi

Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! This week marks the 101st anniversary of Carol Channing’s birth, and in celebration of this classic Broadway diva, I’m sharing a rarity — with subscribers who comment below to alert me of their interest — that spotlights the unforgettable funny lady in one of her most iconic roles: Dolly Gallagher Levi.

Channing opened three separate Broadway productions of Hello, Dolly! — the 1964 premiere and both the 1978 and 1995 revivals (which had each been preceded by tours) — and she recorded the score twice, in ’64 and ’94. Both of those albums are great, but, honestly, Channing isn’t in her best voice on the original and, well, she’s a bit older than is preferable in the latter. Thus, if you’re like me — eager to hear this great performer play the role at the peak of her powers — then the best thing would be a live audio of the original production. Sadly, that’s not (yet) known to circulate. However, I have the next best thing: a complete live audience tape (in terrific quality) of the otherwise unrecorded 1978 revival. Not only does it sound (at times) like a “soundboard,” the leading lady is especially delightful, offering a genuine sample of the theatrical magic that only Carol Channing could supply. So, in honor of her and this wonderful Jerry Herman score that she was blessed to introduce, here’s a clip. Enjoy!



Come back next week for a new Wildcard! And stay tuned Tuesday for more Kate & Allie!

24 thoughts on “Peak Dolly Gallagher Levi

    • Hi, Steve! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Eddie Bracken is Horace and Florence Lacey is Irene. And, incidentally, this audio is from the 1978 Broadway revival, not the preceding tour.

      I have emailed you at your AOL address.

  1. Hi jackson
    Hope you are feeling much better.
    Sure would like to hear the live performance. Saw her in the first tour and the second tour as well as Lorelei. One cannot ever forget her performance and makes one feels happier.

    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi, Donna! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I’m feeling much better — thank you! And I have emailed you at your CS address.

  2. I’ve always wished I could have seen Phyllis Diller in the title role, as I hear tell that she was the best acted Dolly. But, barring that, I certainly will never reject Channing in her prime – which is why I do so much appreciate this unique recording. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Thank you for this rare treat. Im a big fan of Carol’s and would love to listen to the complete audience tape.

  4. Hi Jackson. The quality of the clip you shared IS terrific. I saw this production when it played the Fisher Theatre as part of it’s tour, and it sure was memorable. If it’s not too late to chime in, I’d love to hear the whole recording.

  5. Count me in! I would love to hear the entire recording. I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Channing – and she was kind enough to provide my engineer and I with a pair of fourth row center tickets to “Dolly” for that evening’s show. What an incredible, magnetic performer!

  6. In the late 70’s & early 80’s I worked as a Theatre Critic for a local Newspaper. Not only did I get complimentary tickets to all the shows that came through town, I also got to meet the Actors after the show. One of the highlights of that job was meeting Miss Carol Channing after a performance of this same production. She was just as delightful and sincere off stage as she was on! A Truly beautiful human being in every way. I look forward to hearing this production again! Thank You, Jackson!

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