Imelda Staunton is going to be back where she belongs!
The last we heard was when Staunton spoke to Edward Seckerson as part of Chichester Festival Theatre’s digital season of interviews in 2021, and said she was pushing hard for it to happen in 2023.
Hello, Dolly was initially scheduled to run in 2020 for 30-weeks. The delay has mainly been Covid related, but also because of Staunton’s existing filming commitments, primarily filming the final two seasons of Peter Morgan’s Netflix series The Crown. She is currently filming her second season (the series’ sixth), which is due to end filming in early Summer 2023, with her first outing as The Queen coming out on Netflix on 9 November 2022.
Previously reflecting on the role, Staunton said she hopes to bring out lead character Dolly Gallagher Levi’s Irish heritage when she brings the role to life.
Hello, Dolly! will see Staunton reunite with Director Dominic Cooke, following their acclaimed production of Follies at the National. According to Baz in Deadline (see link below), Staunton met with Jerry Herman just before he died in December 2019, and gave Staunton and Cooke permission to switch around the show’s opening scenes and change one of its songs.
Whilst casting for the 2024 run is yet to be announced, Cooke’s initial casting had included West End favourites Jenna Russell (EastEnders, Sunday in the Park with George), Andy Nyman (Ghost Stories, Fiddler on the Roof), Tyrone Huntley (Dreamgirls, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Book of Mormon) and Clare Halse (42nd Street, White Christmas, Gypsy). The large scale revival was originally set to have a cast of 34 and an orchestra of 18 musicians.
Featuring music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, the much-loved musical centres on widower Dolly Gallagher Levi; an esteemed and strong-willed matchmaker to New York’s great and good, who suddenly decides to match herself with shopkeeper Horace Vandergelder.