Imelda Staunton (Shutterstock)
Hello, Imelda! The Olivier Award-winning actress known to international audiences for her role as the wicked Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films will return to the West End to take on the titular role in Jerry Herman’s musical comedy Hello, Dolly! in 2024.
Fans have long been waiting for Imelda Staunton’s turn in this revival: she signed on to the project in 2019, but the pandemic and film production schedules pushed the play to after Staunton’s upcoming reign on “The Crown,” where the actress will take on the role of the late Queen Elizabeth II for the Netflix series’ final two seasons.
A theater for Hello, Dolly! — directed by Dominic Cooke (The Courier) — is still to be announced. Staunton met with Herman a couple of months before his passing in December of 2019. At that meeting, the theater legend gave permission for Staunton and Cooke to switch around the show’s opening scenes and change one of its songs.
Further casting will be announced at another time. Staunton has won three Olivier Awards in musicals for her leading roles in Into the Woods, Gypsy, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. On film, Staunton starred in Antonia and Jane; in several supporting roles in Kenneth Branagh’s comedy Peter’s Friends, his adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing; Ang Lee’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility; and the costume romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love. She drew critical acclaim for her performance in the title role in Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actress, in addition to being nominated for Best Actress by the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Season 5 of “The Crown” returns on September 8; Staunton will star opposite Leslie Manville as the queen’s sister and Jonathan Pryce as her husband.