It’s no surprise that Bette Midler’s Broadway arrival is generating big buzz. Hello, Dolly! producers reported a record-breaking $9 million in first-day sales. But what happened during last night’s preview—though small news for some—shows just how classy this diva is.
Merely two weeks into previews, actor Gavin Creel, who plays Cornelius Hackl, was unable to perform, catapulting understudy Christian Dante White (Shuffle Along…, The Scottsboro Boys, The Book of Mormon) into the exhilarating opportunity to take on the role. They say the show must go on, and so it did… flawlessly.
Anyone who has worked in the theater knows that understudies are notoriously under-rehearsed, often left to watch from the wings and move through the action during separate rehearsals with the stage manager. A “put-in” usually happens the day that the understudy is to go on, or is often the case, mere hours before the performance.
Without going into great detail as Hello, Dolly! is still in previews, let’s just say that White was a charmer and a consummate professional. And it wasn’t only the audience that took notice. The Grammy Award-winning Midler, who herself received a standing ovation mid-show and thunderous applause at the curtain call, took a step to the side and ushered forth White to take the final bow. The sense of support among the cast was palpable.
Midler is a class act, and if you can snag a ticket, Hello, Dolly! promises to be a revival for the record books.