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Entertainment Weekly

Theater

Bernadette Peters to replace Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! title role

Bernadette Peters is putting on her Sunday clothes.

The Broadway legend will step into the title role in Hello, Dolly! following the departure of Bette Midler, who won a Tony in June for her performance in the Scott Rudin-produced revival. She’ll be joined by Victor Garber as Horace Vandergelder, a role currently played by David Hyde Pierce.

The pair will begin performances on Saturday, Jan. 20, with an official opening night welcoming them on Thursday, Feb. 22. Midler will play her final performance as matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi on Sunday, Jan. 14, with Hyde Pierce completing his run that same night.

Peters, a two-time Tony winner, adds this plum role to a résumé that includes Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun and originating the roles of Dot/Marie in Sunday in the Park with George and the Witch in Into the Woods.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue in the tradition of the incomparable Bette Midler, Carol Channing, and all of the other wonderful actresses who have played Dolly Levi, and I look forward to joining this wonderful company at the Shubert,” said Peters.

RELATED: Bette Midler defies orchestra during epic Tony Awards speech: ‘Shut that crap off’

Both Peters and Midler were bursting with excitement at the news. “I cannot imagine leaving Dolly Levi in better hands than those of Bernadette Peters. She has created more historic roles in more legendary musicals than any living Broadway star, and most of the dead ones, too,” said Midler in a statement. “I cannot wait to see her in the show from my very expensive premium seat in Row G which I know I will have to pay for. She is joining the greatest group of people I have ever worked with, and when my run in this amazing show — and in this amazing part — is over, I will miss all of them more than I can express. I know they will take care of her the way they have taken care of me — with the heart and generosity they have shown me since day one of rehearsal.”

Added Garber in a statement released Wednesday morning, “The opportunity to play this role, in this production, with the incomparable Bernadette Peters, is truly a dream come true.  I cannot wait to be back where I belong.”

The Hello, Dolly! revival broke records for pre-performance advance sales on Broadway and went on to win four 2017 Tony awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

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