2. Hello, Dolly!
Opened: April 20, 2017
Cast: Bette Midler/Donna Murphy, David Hyde Pierce, Gavin Creel, Kate Baldwin
Director: Jerry Zaks (Sister Act, A Bronx Tale The Musical)
Why it's great: At this point, seeing Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! is a treat reserved for the very rich. But let me tell you a secret: You don't even need The Divine Miss M in the title role to have a damn good evening at the theater. Go on a Tuesday night -- or any other time Midler has the night off -- and watch Donna Murphy do a splendid job. Murphy, a two-time Tony winner, is a Broadway veteran who is also putting her cheeky, warm-hearted spin on meddling matchmaker Dolly Levi. And whether Midler or Murphy is on stage, Hello, Dolly! is your rare chance to see what I like to call a "whole-ass musical." It's as old-fashionedly lavish as they come with hosts of chorus members, ludicrous set pieces, and over-the-top costumes. (The eventual parade of garments in "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" will make you gasp.) This is Broadway at its most boisterous, and, boy, is it a delight. Just wait until Bernadette Peters takes over in January.