While the 2017 Tony Awards were packed with performances, there was one major moment many were expecting to see that didn’t happen: Bette Midler, nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her starring role in Hello, Dolly!, took the stage only as a presenter, not as a performer.
So why didn’t the Divine Miss M treat us to one of her show-stopping numbers?
No official statement has been made yet to address the matter, but the New York Times speculates that it’s because Hello, Dolly‘s producers wanted the cast to perform its opening number remotely, on their own stage at the Shubert Theater, instead of at Radio City Musical Hall where the Tonys took place. “They argued that the different configuration of the stage at Radio City — and, in particular, its passerelle — could pose a risk to leaping dancers and would not do the song justice,” the Times reports. According to the NYT, the Tonys producers may not have wanted to set a precedent by letting shows perform remotely.
Instead, Midler’s co-star David Hyde Pierce performed the song “Penny in My Pocket.” But Broadway fans across Twitter weren’t pleased with the omission.