Hello? Dolly? Bette Midler Seems Unlikely to Sing at Tony Awards

The issue matters to producers of the Tony Awards ceremony, which this year is being hosted by Kevin Spacey, because it could affect TV viewership. A famous actress singing a familiar song from a classic musical might add pizazz to an event that, like all awards shows, has struggled to retain viewers. Ms. Midler’s absence would also disappoint fans who can’t afford to see her in the Broadway show, which has a top ticket price of $748 and few seats left, but who would love to glimpse her in the role.

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David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler in “Hello, Dolly!”

Credit
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

A Tony Awards spokeswoman would say only: “We don’t discuss specifics about the musical performances in advance of the telecast. The show is still in the planning stage and subject to change.” And a spokesman for “Hello, Dolly!” and its lead producer, Scott Rudin, also had little to say. “‘Hello, Dolly!’ will perform on the ‘71st Annual Tony Awards’ telecast,” the spokesman said. “At the request of Tony Award Productions, we are not able to discuss anything further about the performance.”

“Hello, Dolly!,” nominated for best musical revival and nine other awards, is pulling in weekly grosses higher than those of any other show that opened during the just-concluded 2016-17 season.

The awards-show producers offered the musical a prime spot on the television broadcast, hoping Ms. Midler would lead the cast in a performance of its title song.

But the musical’s producers said that they would perform the number only remotely, from their stage at the Shubert Theater, and not on the ceremony’s stage at Radio City Music Hall. They argued that the different configuration of the stage at Radio City — and, in particular, its passerelle — could pose a risk to leaping dancers and would not do the…

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