As readers of these pages know, I've done a lengthy analysis of four different versions of the show -- the original production with Carol Channing, the "new" cast recording with Pearl Bailey, the London cast version with Mary Martin, and songs from the production that closed the original run with Ethel Merman. So, far beyond this being Bette Midler's return to Broadway, I was intrigued to hear how Jerry Herman's classic score is handled.
Interesting, I thought the supporting characters actually do the best job, notably Gavin Creel who plays Cornelius Hackl, and most especially Kate Baldwin who I’m a big fan of, as Irene Malloy. David Hyde Pierce does a personable job as Horace Vandergelder, though I think he's a little miscast. (The character is an aggressive, blustering almost-bully, and Pierce's persona tends to be the opposite.) He does get a bonus here, though -- a song that had been cut from the original production, "Penny in My Pocket," which is fun to hear, though only just fair.
The arrangements are mellow, as well. Affectionate in part, and personable, though never as brassy as the original (which I think brings out the best of the score). Still, not all arrangements have to be that way, brash and lively -- they're not for the British cast album with Mary Martin, and are more warm and playful, and work very well, fitting the character of its star. There are only two arrangements of this new album I'm not really much a fan of is the overture -- the first is the selection of songs is different than the original, and not as effective to me, but also quite muted. And the second is the "Waiter's Gallop" which is an exciting and funny dance number than builds and builds in anticipation of Dolly returning to the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, which is the "Hello, Dolly!" number, and the arrangement here seems to have changed the music, but that may be because it has little drive and humor to it. It should have enthusiasm, and it's just a fine dance number.
I was trying to figure out what song to post here, and then I realized -- well, that's a foolish thing to have to decide. Of course I know what song to post. And you know, too.
I'll provide a link for the full score, but figure that not everyone will want to go and listen to the whole thing. So, instead, I post a couple other numbers to give more of a sense of the highlights and a quicker way to get into such things.
Here, for example, is that number I mention that I think Bette Midler does quite well, and comes across as a lot of fun, "So Long, Dearlie."
Anyway, that's a taste of the show. If you want to hear the entire score, just click here and either listen to the whole thing, or select individual songs. Keep in mind that this link will only be posted for a limited time. For all I know, these embedded songs here will, as well, but at least you have them at your fingertips right now. But if you plan to wait to go to this site, don't wait too long. Because Hello will no doubt soon be saying goodbye...