Carolee Carmello Set As Betty Buckley Replacement In ‘Hello, Dolly!’ National Tour

Carolee Carmello Courtesy DKC/O&M

EXCLUSIVE: Carolee Carmello, following up an acclaimed Off Broadway performance in Sweeney Todd, will be playing another musical theater icon, taking over the lead role from the departing Betty Buckley in the national tour of Hello, Dolly!

Carmello will be the production’s latest Dolly: Bette Midler won a 2017 Tony Award in the role; she was followed on Broadway by Donna Murphy and Bernadette Peters, with Buckley topping the national tour.

Carmello will join the production, now in its second year, on Sept. 24 at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. The casting was announced today by producer Scott Rudin.

The entire Broadway creative team of Hello, Dolly! returned for the tour, including director Jerry Zaks, choreographer Warren Carlyle (currently Tony-nominated for Kiss Me, Kate!), Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Andy Einhorn (Music Direction), Larry Hochman (Orchestrations), Don Pippin (Vocal Arrangements), David Chase (Dance Arrangements).

In all, the 2017 production of the Jerry Herman-Michael Stewart musical won four Tonys: Best Revival/musical; Leading Actress/musical (Midler); Featured Actor/musical (Gavin Creel); and Costume Design (Loquasto). The production began performances March 15, 2017 at the Shubert Theatre, opened April 20 and closed Aug. 25, 2018, breaking the Shubert’s box office house record 12 times and the Shubert Organization’s all-time record 10 times.

Carmello has appeared in 14 Broadway musicals, with three Tony nominations (Parade, Lestat and Scandalous). The year-long Off Broadway run of Sweeney Todd that ended last August was the Barrow Street Theatre’s longest-running engagement ever.

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