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!