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Why 'Hello, Dolly!' starring Imelda Staunton is a must-see summer musical

Find out why this much-loved classic, which is heading for the London Palladium for a 10-week run starting in July, should be on your 2024 theatre wish list.

Olivia Rook
Olivia Rook

It only takes a moment to realise why Hello, Dolly!, starring the inimitable Imelda Staunton, should be on your list of musicals to see in the West End in 2024.

Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart’s musical follows widow and meddling socialite Dolly Levi, who ventures to New York to find a match for the miserly, unmarried "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder. However, everything changes when she decides that the next match she makes will be for herself.

After a series of delays, the musical finally finds a home at the London Palladium in 2024, so don’t wait to grab your Hello, Dolly! tickets on London Theatre.

Say hello to Imelda!

Even if you’ve never seen Hello, Dolly!, you’ve definitely heard of Imelda Staunton. She has graced the screen in box office hits such as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and, more recently, Netflix’s royal drama The Crown, as the late Queen Elizabeth II. But she also has a long and much-lauded career on the stage, earning her 13 Olivier Award nominations.

Plus, her return to the stage also means a reunion with director Dominic Cooke, with whom she worked on the stunning 2017 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the National Theatre.

A series of delays hasn’t stopped Hello, Dolly! from making it to the West End.

The theatre industry suffered some crushing blows during the pandemic, and Hello, Dolly! is no exception. Initially scheduled to open in 2020 for a 30-week run at the Adelphi Theatre, the production was put on ice. With the Adelphi now housing the sci-fi musical Back to the Future, the show moved to the London Palladium, which means a greater seating capacity (2,300 seats!) and a 10-week run. So if you want to catch this much-anticipated and long-delayed musical while it’s in the West End, the time is now!

The Hello, Dolly! cast is brimming with talent.

While Staunton undeniably provides the star power for Hello, Dolly!, she is just one ofjoined by an incredibly talented group of performers. Olivier Award-winning actress Jenna Russell, who gave critically acclaimed performances in Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along, and Fun Home, is Irene Molloy. Andy Nyman, best known for his horror play Ghost Stories, is Horace Vandergelder. Tyrone Huntley, who portrayed Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, is Barnaby Tucker, and Harry Hepple, set to return to Hamilton next year, plays Cornelius Hackl.

Hello, Dolly! has a winning writing team.

Hello, Dolly! is a classic show from powerhouses Jerry Herman (music and lyrics) and Michael Stewart (book). Herman is best known for composing the music and lyrics for Mame and La Cage aux Folles, while Stewart authored Broadway musicals including Bye Bye Birdie and 42nd Street.

With Herman’s death in December 2019, this production of Hello, Dolly! takes on an even greater significance: Staunton and Cooke reportedly received permission to move around the show’s opening scenes and change one of its songs before he died.

Who doesn’t love a strong female lead?

Hello, Dolly! regularly attracts talented actors to the title role: Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey, Mary Martin, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters and, perhaps most famously, the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award-winning singer and actress Barbra Streisand. Phew!

Now’s your chance to sing along to hits made famous by some of the most talented women in the business, such as "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," "Before the Parade Passes By," and "It Only Takes a Moment." It’s so nice to have this classic back where it belongs.

Book Hello, Dolly! tickets on London Theatre.

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