Bette Midler got rave reviews from coast to coast. THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE WASHINGTON POST are just three of the outlets that had high praise for Bette Midler's performance in the Broadway revival of HELLO, DOLLY! In THE NEW YORK TIMES review, we read "Bette Midler provides a dazzling lesson in star power." THE WASHINGTON POST: "HELLO, DOLLY! and Bette Midler are a perfect match." THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: "Bette Midler and HELLO, DOLLY!...Broadway heaven."
In 1964, no wonder audiences cheered at "Before the Parade Passes By" and "Hello, Dolly!," two of the most life-affirming, uplifting Broadway show tunes ever written in the 1960s. This was on Broadway the year after America was paralyzed with intense, sudden grief after the 1963 assassination of President of John F. Kennedy. Our national emotional wounds were still fresh a year after he was killed. President Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, were champions of the fine arts. They invited cultural events and artists into the White House. They attended Broadway shows. A joyful musical comedy like HELLO, DOLLY! starring Carol Channing helped America heal in 1964 after those dark days in November 1963. The country needed Dolly.
That's why Bette Midler didn't shimmy and shake. She's an actress playing a character, a character in the early 1900s. She's not in concert as The Divine Miss M. She's a veteran entertainer over the retirement age who, according to other reviews, is giving a powerhouse star quality performance in one of the most treasured Broadway musical roles for women over 40/50. HELLO, DOLLY! is not Midler in one of her glitzy Vegas productions.