Hello, Dolly!

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There are a total of 44 productions in Ovrtur's database.

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Studio Cast Recordings

Recordings listed here were done in the studio specifically to release as recordings. They do not represent cast recordings of a particular production.

Studio Cast (Instrumental) (1964)
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
London Studio Cast (1965)
Beryl Reid, Tony Adams (i), Richard Fox (i), Arthur Haynes, Sylvia King
Studio Cast (1965)
Elaine Howells, Mike Taylor
Studio Cast (1965)
Rita Cameron, Raymond Cooke, Fred Lucas, David Russell, Patricia Whitmore

Demos & Pre-Production Recordings

Source Material

  • Suggested by The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder. This was a slightly revised version of Wilder's 1938 comedy The Merchant of Yonkers. (The Matchmaker was first produced at the Edinburgh Festival in August 1954. In October 1954, it was produced in London, and it reached Broadway in December 1955.) Some sources state that Wilder made substantial changes to the earlier play when he revised and retitled it. Since both scripts were published, it is possible to compare them. Such comparison reveals that the differences between the two are minimal. In Wilder's introduction to the coliection titled 3 Plays, which contained Our Town, The Skin of Our Teeth and The Matchmaker, he described The Matchmaker as "an only slightly modified version of The Merchant of Yonkers." This is accurate.
  • It has also been erroneously stated that Dolly Gallagher Levi was a minor character in The Merchant of Yonkers. In fact, the role is approximately the same size as in The Matchmaker. If anything, in The Merchant of Yonkers, Dolly may have a slightly greater total number of lines, although a few important lines that would later become famous were added for the character in The Matchmaker. It should be evident that Dolly wasn't a minor character in The Merchant of Yonkers by the simple fact that the role was created by Jane Cowl, who was a great star at the time. In the playbill, Cowl's name was above the title and in much larger print than anyone else's, including those of the author and the production's director, the world-famous Max Reinhardt. (Wilder had written Dolly with Ruth Gordon in mind, but she did not play the role till the play was revised as The Matchmaker.)
  • The Merchant of Yonkers was based on the 1835 English farce A Day Well Spent by John Oxenford, and the 1842 Austrian farce Einen Jux Will er Sich Machen by Johann Nestroy. No counterpart to Dolly appears in those plays. The character was inspired by the character Frosine in Moliere's The Miser. Wilder adapted some dialogue from The Miser for use in The Merchant of Yonkers and The Matchmaker.


Hello, Dolly! tells the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a widow living hand-to-mouth in New York City in the 1890s. Dolly finds various types of work to get by, including as a matchmaker. At the start of the show, she is engaged as a matchmaker in finding a second wife for a wealthy widower, Horace Vandergelder, who lives in Yonkers, where he owns a Hay and Feed Store. 

Over the course of 24 hours, thanks in part to Dolly's machinations and thanks in part to coincidence and serendipity, several developments occur that lead us to a happy ending:

  • Vandergelder's clerks. Cornelius and Barnaby, take a trip to New York City, where Cornelius meets and falls in love with Irene Molloy, the young widow whom Dolly had earlier introduced to Vandergelder as a possible second wife. 
  • Vandergelder agrees to make Cornelius a partner in his Hay and Feed store.
  • After having tried to prevent it, Vandergelder agrees to allow his niece, Ermengarde, to marry Ambrose Kemper, a poor artist with whom she's in love
  • And Vandergelder realizes that Dolly herself is the right woman to be his second wife, which had been Dolly's plan all along.

Trivia & History

Some sources credit sole authorship of both "Motherhood" and "Elegance" to Bob Merrill. Both Merrill and Herman, however, are credited with authorship in the United States Copyright Office.

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Alternate Titles

  • A Day Well Spent (source material)
  • Dolly: A Damned Exasperating Woman (working title)
  • Einen Jux Will er Sich Machen (source material)
  • Hallo, Dolly! (German title)
  • The Matchmaker (source material)
  • The Merchant of Yonkers (source material)
  • ¿Qué Tal Dolly? (Mexican title)

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