Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012...A Year of Blogging and Entertainment!
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
~Oprah Winfrey

You need to take more responsibility for your decisions and actions, especially if you have allowed others to make them for you in recent weeks. It's time to get out of that easy groove and take on new challenges. 
-My final horoscope of 2012

Happy End of 2012!
I cannot believe another year is fast coming to a close. I also cannot believe that this is my 600th blog! Before I go any further, thanks to all of you who have supported me on any level this year. I also want to thank my detractors. All of you help to make me strive even harder to be the best I can be!
 I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year. It has been a year of many ups and downs. We have seen mass devastation in the world and tragedies that we could not have imagined this time last year.
with my partner Daniel Sherman, Marilyn Maye, and Peggy Herman
The following is from David Friedman from The Thought Exchange:   
So often people think, “Cancel, cancel” can’t have that negative thought. If you’re doing that, you’re resisting the thought you’re having, and thus it will persist.
If you notice yourself having negative thoughts, don’t resist them. Just be present with the fact that at this moment this is the thought you’re having, and recognize it as a thought. In this way you won’t have to act on it, it will just pass through like clouds in the sky.
with Peggy Pope
 Try it.
 And have a SENSATIONAL day.
In TRUTH, its impossible not to.
Today, I’m going to focus on the positive aspects of this year. There have been so many for me.  There have been many changes in my life in the past year. It was the first year in twenty that I had no appearances as Carol Channing. I didn’t miss it, interestingly enough. It was like shedding an old skin. It seemed odd, however, not having Harry around, Carol’s husband. I miss him every day!
My focus this year has been on my writing.
On January 16th, the 48th anniversary of Hello, Dolly opening on Broadway, I embarked on my true passion, writing a book celebrating my favorite musical, Hello, Dolly!  
with Patt Barr and Joyce Bulifant in Palm Springs
This email that was forwarded to me this morning says exactly why I am writing this book:
Sweetheart, I can't thank you enough for the Richard Skipper interview.  I thought he just wanted to do something on the Pearl Bailey company of Dolly.....That man wrote a entire blog on ME!!!  I l just couldn't believe it when he wrote me, "Well, here it is".  It made me feel I was back in the business!!!!! (smile).  I still get excited over it!  Thanks agin honey, from the bottom of my heart....

I want to celebrate those that contributed to this show on every level, not just the ones we all know by name. If everything goes according to plan, you will be able to physically have this book in your hands next year at this time.
My blog took off this year in leaps and bounds.

with Tommy Tune and Dori Berenstein
Here are the top ten blogs of the year (based on readership and retweets and response)

1)  Doctor Tippi Hedren? (January 27th)

2) Patricia Ward Kelly: Celebrating Gene Kelly's Legacy! (July 8th)

3)  Nicole Barth on Hello, Dolly! (December 26th)

4) Jerry Bell on productions of Hello, Dolly starring Dorothy Lamour and Yvonne DeCarlo (December 27th)

with Petula Clark and Peggy Herman
5)Georgia Engel (Minnie Faye: Carole Cook, Phyllis Diller, Ethel Merman) (November 22nd)

6) Ellen Travolta on Hello, Dolly! (December 3rd)

7) Happy Birthday, Carol Channing (January 31st)

8) Emma Bell! (Januart 30th)

9) Is Show Business Cursed? Why do we lose so many legends so young? (February 25th)

10) Ron Young's Memories of Hello, Dolly! (March 23rd)
with George Marcy and Carol Lawrence

My Favorite Shows of 2012 

Cortes Alexander and The Lovely Carol at The Coterie in Los Angeles
Lucie Arnaz at Feinsteins
Raissa Katona Bennett at Feinsteins
Anna Bergman at Feinsteins
Betty Buckley at Feinsteins (joined by Jackie Joseph and her cousin)
Ann Hampton Callaway's Tribute to Barbra Streisand at 54 Below
Petula Clark at Feinsteins
Mark Cotter at The Metropolitan Room
Michael Feinstein and Marilyn Maye at Feinsteins

Terese Genecco at The Iridium
Peggy Herman at Feinsteins
with Elton and Barbara Van Orden
Patricia Ward Kelly's Tribute to Gene Kelly at The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Pamela Luss at The Metropolitan Room
Marilyn Maye every time I saw her.
My Occasion of Sin at Urban Stages
All of the shows I saw of Noel and Company
Linda Purl joined by Desi Arnaz Jr. at Feinsteins

The TheaterWorld Awards
Tommy Tune: Harvard Club AND Feinsteins

Special mention in a category all her own, Barbra Streisand at The Barclay Center)

Highlights of the year have included my signing with Linda Langton at Langton's International)
with Carol Lawrence and Patty Farmer
Seeing The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jim Dale's One Man Show at The American Airlines Theater
Interviewing Georgia Engel and ALL the artists I have interviewed this year
Being part of The Piermont Christmas Tree Lighting after Hurricane Sandy
Being invited to Tommy Tune's dress rehearsal at The Harvard Club AND to be at his show at Feinsteins.
Honeymooning with my husband in Palm Springs and Hollywood.

with Eve Plumb
I lost several good friends this year. Janet Carroll, Ruthe Charlow, Celese Holm,Ruth Kurtzman, Harry Davis, Buddy Towsend. I know they are all angels guiding me. Also, condolences go out to the families of Jack Klugman and Marvin Hamlisch.  Extraordinary and talented men. They will be missed.

I had my own health issue in June and spent three days in the hospital.
I also want to thank Barnes and Noble for giving me the opportunity to interview Peggy Pope and Ron Young at their 86th Street Location this year.

I thank all of the artists that I have interacted with this year on every level. I have learned so much from all of you and am looking forward to many wonderful gifts over the next 12 months! Tune in tomorrow to see what I have in store for you over the coming year! You are going to be amazed!

Thank you to ALL ARTISTS for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!
I want this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
My next blog will be...Looking Ahead to 2013!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Richard Skipper,                            
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jerry Bell on productions of Hello, Dolly starring Dorothy Lamour and Yvonne DeCarlo

(Courtesy: Glen Charlow)
Jerry Bell was born in Birmingham, Alabama with a dream of Broadway.
Hello, Dolly starring Dorothy Lamour was Jerry’s first big job in his career. He had done some summer stock prior, but nothing on this scale. This was 1967. He simply went to an open call in New York.

Jerry and Dorothy became good friends. He used to get a Christmas card from her every year with the American flag on it. She was very patriotic.

Dorothy was also very bright. No matter what happened, nothing ever threw her on stage. She had worked with Hope and Crosby. 
They improvised everything. 
As soon as they showed up on the set and started filming, they just threw away the script. They purposely tried to break her up. That gave her amazing training. When they opened, they opened in Bloomington, Indiana on Jerry’s birthday, November 14th
They never got through the final dress rehearsal the night before. They ended at midnight. They had to by Equity rule.
The next day, their first performance, after the Dolly number, they bring her table and chair out in order to do the eating scene with Vandergelder. Jerry was supposed to bring out her chair. He was so winded after the title number that he could not think of anything else beyond getting to the water fountain.   
The music for her chair was perfectly timed for a “bump” as she sat. 
As he was at the water fountain, he heard the music and thought, “Oh? What’s that?” He suddenly realized that he had missed his cue. He ran back on stage as they were playing it again. She turned to the conductor and said, “Could you play that again, please?” A fast acting “Rudolph” brought the chair as the orchestra repeated the musical accompaniment. This time it worked as it was supposed to. She looked out at the audience and said, “Now, that’s the way it is supposed to be.”
Dorothy Lamour Company
Afterward, Jerry went to her dressing room to apologize. She told him not to worry about it, those things happen. Jerry stayed with the show the entire length of the tour, nine months.
A year later, Jerry appeared in Dolly with Yvonne De Carlo. She, unlike Dorothy Lamour, was the very typical movie star. When De Carlo decided that she was not going to do a number, it was out of the show that night.  
So Long, Dearie was cut half the time. That is Dolly’s ONLY solo number. She would just tire out and decide that she was not going to do it.
A year later, she was doing Follies on Broadway, playing Carlotta and singing I’m Still Here. Roy and Donna Barry were a husband and wife team in that show. 
Roy once said to Jerry, “Well, she’s at it again. 
Yvonne DeCarlo Company
If she has a problem trying to find a place to park her car, she would tell the stage manager, ‘I’m not doing the show tonight. I cannot find a place to park.’” Dorothy Lamour would never stoop to those antics.
The Yvonne De Carlo had already been on the road for six weeks when Jerry joined the company. With De Carlo’s Company, there were a lot of one night stands. Dorothy Lamour’s Company had longer engagements in each city. 
Both were bus and trucks.
De Carlo’s was produced by Ken Gaston, not Merrick, and was a very cheaply produced Company. He was not very professional. He was someone with a lot of money having fun at everyone else’s expense. 

The sets were based on Oliver Smith's Broadway designs but scaled way down; the costumes were impressive recreations of Freddy Wittop's originals. 

Gower Champion's original staging and choreography were recreated by Lucia Victor. De Carlo played the part with an Irish brogue (Dolly GALLAGHER Levi). Don De Leo played Horace Vandergelder.Once they were playing Springfield, Illinois, but their costumes and sets went to Springfield, Missouri! They did the entire show without costumes and sets!

Offstage, Yvonne was nice. She wasn’t as approachable as Dorothy. It was a really hard time for Yvonne. She had married the stuntman Robert Drew Morgan, whom she met on the set of Shotgun, on November 21, 1955. They had two sons, Bruce Ross (b. 1956) and Michael (1957-1997). Morgan also had a daughter, Bari Lee (b. 1947), from a previous marriage. Morgan's left leg had to be amputated after he was run over by a train while doing stunt work on How the West Was Won (1962). However, his contract with MGM assumed no responsibility for the accident. 
Yvonne De Carlo
De Carlo and Morgan filed a $1.4 million lawsuit against the studio, claiming her husband was permanently disabled. She only did Hello, Dolly to pay the medical bills. She wasn’t having a good time. Jerry doesn’t feel that she enjoyed herself during this tour. De Carlo divorced Morgan in June 1974.
Audiences liked her, but in that role, audiences can’t help but like Dolly. 
Dorothy got better applause that Yvonne. She was more loved because of the Road movies.   

Dorothy Lamour desired to play Dolly on Broadway, but alas, it didn’t happen. 
Dorothy was a great singer.
 Dolly’s determination to rejoin the human race and marry Horace Vandergelder is a theme that audiences still gravitate to. 
He thinks the show should absolutely come back to Broadway. He says no one will ever be as great as Channing. He thinks Bette Midler would make a great Dolly.
Yvonne DeCarlo (Courtesy: Bruce Morgan)
The fact that there was so much dancing for the ensemble is the aspect that Jerry loved most about being in Hello, Dolly!  
Jerry saw almost every Dolly on Broadway.
Carol Channing: Spectacular
The main thing with Ginger Roger was that she looked so pretty, so gorgeous. She was fun and charming.
Martha Raye was wonderful. She brought tears to your eyes. She WAS vulgar at times. During the courtroom scene, she took a sip of water and did a spit take and said, “It’s water!” That was NOT Gower’s staging. It was tacky.
Betty Grable was a favorite star of Jerry’s. He had been a fan since he was a young boy. Her movies were popular during his youth. She was a dream come true to see on stage.
Pearl Bailey was a laugh riot.
After Channing, Merman was Jerry’s favorite Dolly. Merman was another favorite of Jerry’s. 
Ethel Merman (b. Queens, NY, January 16, 1908; d. New York City, February 15 ...
The very first show he ever saw in New York was Merman in Gypsy
She just blew him away every time he ever saw her.
The most exciting night he ever spent in the theater was the night that she and Mary Martin did their benefit for the Museum of the City of New York, Together on Broadway, May 15th, 1977. 
It was just unbelievable. They did a double Dolly entrance at the top of Act Two that brought down the house. The only other theatrical experience, for Jerry, that matched that was Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall, April 23rd, 1961.
Jerry did not see Phyllis Diller.
He also saw Eve Arden do it in Chicago at The Shubert Theater in the summer of 1966 as Miss Channing’s replacement. He liked her a lot.
When a show like Hello, Dolly closes, an entire company is then out of work. It is a low key experience. Everyone feels like they will never work again.
Jerry had a fifteen year dance career and then he started his own off-Broadway theater company called Bandwagon. They did revivals of musicals. Jerry Herman once did a benefit for Bandwagon. Jerry Bell loves Jerry Herman! “He is the sweetest man in the world. He is terrifically talented.”
Hello, Dolly is close to being Jerry’s favorite musical because of the joy it exudes. His favorite musical, however, is Follies.
Dorothy Lamour
Thank you Jerry Bell for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!
This book will be a celebration of this great American classic.
 If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!

Do you have any pics to share?

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
My next blog will be...My Exclusive interview with Judy Knaiz, Gussie Grainger/Ernestina Simple in the film, Hello, Dolly!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Richard Skipper                     
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nicole Barth on Hello, Dolly!

Nicole Barth first started taking dance class for health reasons, although her mother said she always “jiggled around.” Her family moved to New York from France during the war. She was a very nervous child, threw up a lot, etc. The doctor said to give her some exercises to get her hunger up and that’s when she started dancing. She didn’t like her first teacher because she was always telling her she wasn’t doing it right. Luckily enough, she had a cousin who was almost like a father to her, working in Woolworth’s. Rita Moreno’s mother was also working there. That’s how Nicole found her first dance teacher in New York. The bug bit immediately. She had found the right teachers. Jack Stanley and Jack Pottinger were there names. Nicole started in tap. Jack Stanley told her that if she desired a career in dance, she also needed classical ballet training, so she started ballet classes. She did four classes a day on Saturday and two or three classes a day during the week.
Then she went to the High School of Performing Arts. She did summer stock when she was fifteen after graduating and then went on to college. 
Her first summer stock job she calls “The Stupid Prince” (The Student Prince). It was a gorgeous production in Hyannis in theater in the round. The first night that she had to perform, they dimmed the lights, she couldn’t see and never got on stage in the first act! She kept going up and down the aisles. In the second act, they got her on stage. It was a great summer. There were a lot of people from City Opera performing there. They also did The Wizard of Oz that summer. Julius Rudel from City Center was the conductor that summer. She got her Equity card that first summer. Things were a little different then. Nowadays, there are different requirements to get an Equity card.
She went back to New York and started auditioning and eventually got her first Broadway show, Take Me Along in 1959, based on the Eugene O'Neill play Ah, Wilderness, with music and lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Joseph Stein and Robert Russell. This was produced by David Merrick. It starred Walter Pidgeon and Jackie Gleason. Also in this cast was Valerie Harper. She and Nicole have remained friends to this day. 
That was also Valerie’s Broadway debut, as well. Valerie then went into L’il Abner as a replacement.
After Take Me Along, Nicole went into Carnival, again with David Merrick and Bob Merrill. Right after that she did a show called Nowhere to Go but Up. Joel Craig was also in that cast. She thinks it would work today. 
Choreographer Ron Field
Ron Field was the choreographer. Michael Bennett was the assistant choreographer. The cast also included Martin Balsam and Dorothy Loudon and Tom Bosley. It was a fun show with a lot of fun people. That happened just before Dolly. Also before Dolly, Nicole was doing a summer replacement television show. She went into Dolly almost on a fluke.
Nicole was already established as a Broadway gypsy when Hello, Dolly came along. Nicole was called to come in for the final call. In those days, when the choreographers knew the artists, they would personally call them in. These artists rarely went to the initial calls. They would come in for the final calls. That’s how she heard about it and she was cast immediately as part of the ensemble.
The cast, as we now know it, was in place except Barnaby. There were two other actors in place before they got to Jerry Dodge.
Nicole had met Carol prior to Dolly. She was one of the guests on the summer television series Nicole was on, The Keith Purcell Show. Streisand also appeared on that show. 
They had a lot of fun people. 

It was sponsored by Jackie Gleason.
Nicole grew to respect Carol more and more as they continued to work together. Nicole remembers observing how she stood. It was like a little girl. She also dressed like a little girl, with short skirts etc. She was interesting.
Nicole remembers thinking that Carol was a very unique person. Nicole had also seen her in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Once rehearsals started, Gower spent so much time working on The Waiter’s Gallop and the title number, that there was a lot of sitting around for the rest of the company just twiddling their thumbs. There was a lot of shushing going on from Gower. 
She knew from Carnival that NOBODY stood behind him when he was working. He didn’t care who it was. He just didn’t allow it.

Nicole loved it when they were standing around the piano with Jerry Herman. It was very exciting.
They rehearsed for six weeks at the Mark Hellinger Theater before heading to The Fisher Theater in Detroit. That was the standard rehearsal period. 
Original program for Hello, Dolly (Fisher Theater)

Contrary to various reports, Nicole never thought the show was ever in trouble. 
She also feels that the rest of the company felt the same way. She knew there was tension going on between Merrick and Gower, but she never felt the show was in danger there.
It was a short rehearsal period in Detroit, not like today. 
They rehearsed for one week. She knew nothing about Charles Strouse and Lee Adams being brought in until Gower lost his temper. 
The first public performance of Hello, Dolly, two new songs were going in that were “not Jerry’s”. That was the “rumor” circulating.  The rumor was that Bob Merrill had written those two songs, Elegance and The Motherhood March.
Their first performance in Detroit was November 18th, a Monday night. On Friday afternoon, November 22nd, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Nicole very clearly remembers that day. They were in the basement of the theater. Bonnie Schon (ensemble) broke the news to the cast. Everything shut down. 
Nicole remembers watching the news coverage with Lowell Purvis and Ed Kressley. There was no show for several days. They did have a rehearsal the evening of the 22nd.
President and Mrs. Kennedy at National Theatre, 25 September 1962 (Photo ...
The Kennedy’s were supposed to come see the show at The National Theater in Washington, DC  in December of '63.
Because of the mood of the nation, the Hello, Dolly Company did not know how they were going to be received in Washington. It almost felt doomed in a way.
On New Year’s Eve, just before midnight, Gower told the Company he had a surprise for them and played Louis Armstrong’s recording of Hello, Dolly which had just been recorded earlier that month.
Two weeks later, they were at the St. James Theater in New York City. They teched in the theater on Tuesday, January 14th. They did a matinee and evening performance on January 15th, and officially opened on Broadway on January 16th. That was pretty much the norm. The first time that Nicole had a long preview period was when she did Sugar.
It was a very exciting old Broadway type of opening. The reviews were mostly raves. In the Dancing number, Nicole had a bit that was a favorite of hers. 
There was a trio step that was also one of Gower’s favorites. She remembers one of the reviewers said in that number that the dancers looked as if they just skimmed across the floor, that they barely touched the ground. Nicole was thrilled that the reviewer got it.

When the show opened, there was a number after the Dolly number called Come and Be My Butterfly. Gower was never happy with that number. In what is unprecedented, he kept trying to make that number work. When Gower started getting the Mary Martin Company ready, he replaced that number with the Polka Contest. That is still in the show till this day. The Polka Contest also went into Carol’s first  National tour. 
Nicole Barth and David Burns: Come and Be My Butterfly
Nicole was one of the Butterfly girls and loved that number. It was such a mixture of the beautiful wings going back and forth and all the colors. Then there was the comedy in which David Burns, as Horace, got caught up in their wings. David would mutter under his breath, “Get out of here you dirty moths” in a stage whisper bringing down the house. It was a fun, playful number. They rehearsed it so many times. Nicole remembers saying as they were going to rehearse once more, “Not again!?!?!” Unbeknownst to her, Gower was standing right behind her. He was playful about it all.  
Also on opening night, Nicole got pregnant! There were severe snow storms in New York and Nicole lived out in Cederhurst at the time. 
She was a little bit afraid of being stuck out there so she came in and stayed at The Hilton. Because of this, Nicole only stayed with the show five months initially. She hid it as long as she could. One night, she heard that someone had gotten fired from the Bye, Bye Birdie Company due to pregnancy. She was having such a great time in Dolly. It was like going to a party every night. She just loved it and everybody in it that she didn’t want to tell anyone of her situation because she didn’t want to leave so soon. She kept it very quite; in fact, she started out wearing a corset with padding in the back to give a certain look especially in the Dancing number. As she started showing below the belt, she would stand a certain way to make up for the fact that she stopped adding the padding. When she was dancing, no one could tell but she would get pretty breathless. One night, in Before the Parade Passes By, her dress split right on stage. She had to let them know. Her dresser was Bob Fitch’s wife. She knew before Nicole told her. She even told Nicole that she owed her a thumb having almost lost it trying to zip her up! Nicole was terrified to go to Gower but he told her to stay with the show for as long as she could do it. She stayed into her fifth month. Her baby was sitting on a nerve and Nicole could no longer move as much. She also fell on stage. 
Jerry Herman and Charles Nelson Reilly
The Company knew by then and she could hear an audible gasp from the company.  
It was at the end of the Dancing number in which Nicole and Paul Solen fell.
Everyone was moving in one direction as the set was moving in another. 
Nicole and Paul were going out on the ramp.   
They were running around and waltzing. Their timing had to be just right; otherwise they would be stuck behind the set. She fell, but that didn’t stop her. She just got right up and continued. Once when she arrived at the theater, coming all the way in from Long Island, there was a sign on the stage door, “Stay away, Nicole! There are measles!!” Someone in the company had contracted measles and they didn’t want her to be exposed. When she left, she was out of the show for six months before returning.

When Nicole returned, Carol was still in the show but they were getting ready to put Ginger Rogers in the show. 
Nicole thought Rogers was OK in the show. In the Dancing number, from the moment the chorus came on, Nicole never stopped. She did almost every step of that number. Gower told Nicole that he had to take some of that away from her. The same thing happened to Sondra Lee regarding her dance around Dolly at the end of that number. It was modified to put the focus on Dolly/Ginger. Nicole was distraught. It was one of her favorite moments in the show. She thought she would never again find something that was so fluid and so much fun. Ginger did it for one or two nights and could not do it, so Nicole got everything back. She was just too out of breath for it. It was a non stopping dance number in which Ginger would have to waltz out of one wing and waltzing back in the other…seemingly to never stop. Nicole stayed on with Ginger for about a year and a half. She left the show prior to Betty Grable coming in.
Nicole was offered to come back as the dance captain when Ethel Merman came into the show. Nicole thought she would be a better dance captain if she was not in the show. They were not interested in just that scenario. 

Nicole was involved in other things at that time and didn’t want to go “backwards”.

Nicole did see Pearl Bailey as Dolly. She found her interesting. Bailey brought a whole new element to the show. 
It was very entertaining. Carol was Carol when she did it and the same could be said of Pearl. Nicole also saw Phyllis Diller play Dolly. She could not compare it to either Carol or Pearl. It was an interesting portrayal, however.

Nicole is such a Streisand fan, but feels the movie was so wrong. 
The movie became “too big” even though it was Gene Kelly. It just didn’t have the excitement or the theatricality of the stage production.

Gower Champion had such an eye for detail. He was a painter on stage. Everything was really, really specific. Sunday Clothes worked anyway, but it wasn’t as breathtaking as when everyone was angled in the way he staged everyone. 

Marge and Gower,1952 ...
Also, in Dancing, he always stressed that when the dancers glided, they didn’t bounce. When they ran, they flowed with it, when they stood in their plie, they were taught to cover the ground.
Nicole attributes Dolly’s staying power to Gower’s staging and original intention. It was all in the details. She feels that he is so under rated. He had a flow as a director/choreographer. There is more of an innate sense of timing when you have a director/choreographer as opposed to having two people to cover that, depending upon the talent, of course. Gower had such a sense of timing and style that the combination just worked.
Nicole thinks Dolly should eventually return to Broadway, but not so soon. She hopes that whoever brings it in will pay as much attention to detail as Gower did. She doesn’t know if today’s generation would have the patience for a show like Dolly

What did Nicole like most about being in the show? “The dancing.” She felt a freedom working with Gower. She felt that on all the shows she did with him. Everyone had to dance together when they all danced together, but they were all individuals. He always stressed that his work was simple. What made it work is what each individual brought to the stage. Nicole felt very free and also felt that she was in on the creativity of the shows she did with Gower. Whatever she felt when she was dancing, he accepted. 
Gower Champion. -He died on Aug/25/1980, was born on Jun/22/1921
He was not a cookie-cutter. Even when he was choreographing, she could almost feel what he was going to do next. There was a certain circular thing that the female dancers did in Dancing that had to go at a certain speed. Gower got behind Nicole and chased her to make the circle go even faster. He was very keen on angles. The dancers were staged in a way to create certain tableaux’s on stage. Nicole watched Gower like a hawk. She felt she danced “differently” after working with him.   
The only low point for Nicole during her Dolly days was President Kennedy’s assassination.
The wildest thing that happened to Nicole on stage happened in Detroit. It was during the transition of the set from the Hay and Feed store on to the next scene. Paul Solen and Nicole were waltzing around the stage during the transition. There was supposed to be a step inside the Hay and Feed Store for Nicole to step on to and do a well timed leap. One night, they forgot to set the step! She was determined to do what she was directed to do and she did! Gower and Lowell teased her for a long time after this.
Working with Freddy Wittop, the costume designer, this was the second time for Nicole. She thought he was great and he was so nice. She remembers his mink lined fur coat! She felt his costume designs were wonderful.
Hello, Dolly is such a wonderfully story telling Broadway show. It is so up. 
It is very stylized. It is a wonderful vehicle for a leading lady.
Speaking of leading ladies, Gower was very hands on with Carol. In addition to Marge, Ed Kressley also worked with Carol a lot.
Nicole adored working with Jerry Herman. She felt like a little kid in a toy store. He was so sweet and so enthusiastic. She remembers when they first met. He had done a show off-Broadway called Parade. He had written a song, Your Hand in My Hand. She didn’t know it was him. 
When they started working together on Dolly, and she realized that he had written this song that she loved. She remembers loving that song from the moment she heard it and still believes it is a wonderful song. She also feels that he is so cruelly underrated with all that he has done. It took way too long for the Kennedy Center Honors.
There have been legendary varying versions of the night Carol fell off the stage into the orchestra pit. 
Nicole’s recollection is that she never stopped. She fell off of the stage right side. She was getting ready to cross over to stage left on the ramp and she missed but she continued! She climbed back up and ended up on stage left. The audience response was amazement.
Gower during his MGM days
Nicole does not recall her closing night but she does recall her closing day due to her pregnancy. They gave her a “closing party” at a restaurant called El Soma. She was happy/sad going home. She was excited about giving birth to her daughter but she hated to leave the Company. Her husband picked her up loaded with gifts. 
She recalls this huge teddy bear in the car. It was a wonderful send off. 
Gower sent a note saying that he was sorry that he couldn’t be there.

When she finally left the show, she immediately went into rehearsals for an industrial. She needed a change.
Hello, Dolly, for Nicole Barth, is extremely personal. She loved Broadway since she was a little girl and never desired to do anything else. She started out as a ballet dancer but that way of life seemed very restrictive to her. The moment she heard an overture she was hooked. She enjoyed the other shows of her career but LOVED Dolly! She loved going to work every night. It was such a hit show. It was like wearing a special suit. 
When people found out she was in Hello, Dolly, they reacted differently.   

Thank you Nicole Barth for the gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give!
With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!
I want this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
My next blog will be... My interview with Dancer Jerry Bell on Hello, Dolly!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!


Richard Skipper,                            

This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!