The Dolly Divas.
And ho, ho, ho, they are a celebated bunch.
Two weeks ago at The Shubert Theater in New York, Bette Midler opened in the Jerry Herman-Michael Stewart musical, Hello, Dolly, based on the Thornton Wilder comedy, The Matchmaker.
Starring as the wisecracking Dolly Gallagher Levi (“money is like manure… no good unless you spread it around”), Bette flashes her 1000-watt smile and rocks the footlights. Directed by Jerry Zaks, she became the overnight toast of Manhatan with her “bright, brassy and all-Bette performance.” (Ben Brantley in The New York Times).
Weekly paycheck for Bette is $100,000, with more than $40 million in ticket advances!
Bette follows such Dolly Divas as the indomitable Carol Channing, who created the role in Gower Champion flawless 1964 Broadway production.
Dolly Divas range from Ginger Rogers to Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller, others, also Barbra Streisand in Gene Kelly’s film. Trust us, Hello, Dolly will ultimately play outer space.
The adored Carol was honored on Sunday during the Professional Dancers Society’s 30th Anniversary Gypsy Awards Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton.
PDS was founded by Mitzi Gaynor and Joni Berry as a humanitarian support group for dancers from ballet, Broadway, television, motion pictures, etc. Mitzi has long presided over this favored philanthropy that cares for those in need. After giving the disciplined best of their talents and skills to global audiences until their bodies are not what they were, and work is no longer available, PDS steps in with funds for basic needs. From housing to medical assistance, etc.
Past honerees included Julie Andrews, Carol Lawrence, Leslie Caron, Ben Vereen, Paula Abdul, and dozens more.
We bow to Saint Mitzi and Saint Joni who are now affiliated with the Actors Fund of America, with PDS delivering checks in six figures to support their humanitarian concerns.
Carol Channing regretted missing the slam-bang Hello, Dolly number by Michael Rooney Dancers choreograph by the talented Michael.
As did Mitzi, whose love letter was cheered after the read by Joni to a ballroom of PDS regulars. Good news was announced that Mitzi completes physical therapy next week.
Lily Tomlin accepted for Carol Channing, and our impeccable Dick Van Dyke offered a tribute to Mary Tyler Moore.
Ruta Lee remembered Debbie Reynolds and Barbara Chase, the daughter of our late Florence Henderson.
Videographer Lee Hale, the genius creator and producer of the sensational film clips of the honorees’ careers, was bestowed with the Dancers Legacy Award.
Of course, the PDS 30th Anniversary Luncheon was a sell-out. But, then, aren’t they all every spring!
We hear that the losing presidential candidate telephoned Barack Obama to apologize for her loss.
Insiders remind that she was his bitter rival in the 2012 presidential hoedown, slamming the hell out of him.
They say … they say the reason behind her apology is that she promised to appoint Obama to the Supreme Court bench. If he supported her candidacy, which he did.
Fox News’ rising star Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, is sledgehammering the ratings of both CNN and MSNBC.
Bravos and hats off for Tucker! We’re counting on him to keep the home fires bright and burning.
More bravos to Gentleman Jim Gianopulos. Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Corporataion, returning from a brief visit to China with a revival of the $1 billion deal with two Chinese media companies deemed dead a month ago!
Thanks to Gentleman Jim, Paramount which was lost in the stars will be riding high. Sing Hallelujah!