Hello, Pearlie Mae!
Well, y'know, we've now had three actresses from Broadway productions performing the monologue leads into "Before the Parade Passes By" from Hello, Dolly!" -- so why continue a good thing and make it four.
Thus far, we've had Bette Middler here .and Betty Buckley (from the national touring company) here, and Ginger Rogers here. And now we'll add one of the most famous.
There are probably four "most famous" Dolly's. The original, Carol Channing. Mary Martin, who played the role in London. Ethel Meman who closed out the original Broadway run. And the lady we have here -- Pearl Bailey, who starred in David Merrick's famous "stunt casting" of an all-Black cast during that original run which gave the show a new life and kept it going for a long while more.
I saw that production on my first trip to New York City and Broadway.. And though it was done to get attention, thinking of it as merely a stunt doesn't do the production justice. It was absolutely wonderful. Not just with Pearl Bailey in the lead role -- a gem of a 'Dolly,' -- but also the legendary Cab Calloway as a terrific 'Horace Vandergelder. And a wonderful supporting cast and ensemble. At the end of the show, during the curtain call, I remember Pearl Bailey stepping out and doing about another 10-15 minutes of entertaining for the enthusiastic audience.
Anyway, here she is in that number yet again. It's not the full lead-in monologue, but much of it. And this isn't from the Broadway stage which would have the famous semi-circle walkway into the audience with the orchestra in the middle. Instead, it's a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Best of all, you get a good glimpse of how terrific Pearl Bailey was.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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