Shubert Theatre, New York • 2018-08-12 • 15:00
Fifth time seeing this production... the second time with Ms. Murphy in the title role. Some variety is provided by the fact that understudy Amanda Lamotte is in playing the part of Ermengarde, possibly the most boring character in the play.
As with Ms. Midler the previous day, there is a tendency to play everything more broadly… but the show holds together better. Not only that, but it reaches several peaks, both emotional and comedic.
Not only does Ms. Murphy respect the songs by never straying too far from the score, she also brings depth and meaning to her character, in particular whenever she addresses her late husband Ephraim. In doing so, she makes Dolly human, frail and loveable.
When she allows herself a little bit of ad-libbing, she never gets out of character and never breaks the fourth wall, an example Ms. Midler would be well advised to follow.
Her commitment to her character seems to lift everybody else. The ensemble, in particular, outdo themselves in the big numbers, which are hugely entertaining.
There are, however, still signs of sloppiness. David Hyde Pierce’s mic situation is even worse than the previous day. He has to carry the beginning of his first scene almost without amplification. Does anybody even care?