The title role was written for Ethel Merman, but ultimately originated by Carol Channing, who won the Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical for the role, and also starred in the most recent Broadway revival of the musical in 1995. During its original run the role was played by Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Phyllis Diller, Bibi Osterwald, Thelma Carpenter, Pearl Bailey and, at last, Merman. Barbra Streisand starred in the film version.
Bette Midler currently stars in Hello, Dolly! which officially opened April 20. The revival received 10 Tony Nominations including Best Revival of a Musical and all four performance categories: Bette Midler for Lead Actress, David Hyde Pierce for Lead Actor, Kate Baldwin for Featured Actress, and Gavin Creel for Featured Actor.
Flip through photos from past productions below: