Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Carol Will Try Not to Cry When "Dolly" Closes Soon

Cleveland Press July 17 1972

The saucer-size eyes were hidden behind thick glasses and the glasses were framed in black rims, so big they seemed to cover half her face.

But the tousled blond hair and the smiling mouth and the tall figure in the George Bernard Shaw walking suit was unmistakably Carol Channing emerging from the plane last night.

"Oh, yes, the glasses are real," Miss Channing explained. "I'm near-sighted. And the big rims are because I'm not wearing my eye lashes and my own mother wouldn't recognize me without them."

Carol Channing arrived in Cleveland from Montreal and will open, presumably with eye lashes, in "Hello, Dolly!" at the Music Hall tonight.

The starring role of Dolly Gallagher Levi is one she has been doing ever since the show opened on Broadway on Jan. 16, 1964.

SHE TOOK a few weeks off to make the movie, "Thoroughly Modern Millie," but in all the rest of that time hasn't missed a performance. "Dolly" will close in Houston in June.

"Oh, no, I'm not tired of the part. I think I understand the character better but I haven't changed the meaning or the tempo. I'm going to miss it.

"I remember I cried at the last performance of 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.' I'll try not to cry when this closes. It's not good to cry on stage. The audience doesn't know what to do when you cry."

THE MOVIE VERSION of "Dolly" will star Barbra Streisand. How did Miss Channing feel about this?

"I'm really glad and a little relieved," she said. "Gower Champion is not going to direct the movie and his direction has been very essential to the show. And I gather that it will be nothing like our 'Dolly' so I'm glad they are using Barbra who is very talented but very different.

"I'd have been unhappy if they had put in someone else, someone a little like me and then made it the same way -- for instance, Shirley MacLaine.

"I FELT STRANGE about Marilyn Monroe doing 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.' She watched the show 18 times and memorized every gesture. I felt terrible when I watched the movie."

After "Dolly" closes Carol will do six TV specials and then start another movie in September. She is committed to make two more films for Ross Hunter, former Clevelander and producer of "Thoroughly Modern Millie."

"Ross Hunter is just wonderful to work for," Miss Channing said. "Everything works like a well-oiled machine. There are no fights and there's time for rehearsals.

"AND THAT JULIE Andrews! I've never had such a friend. There I was going from stage work to movies and all those closeups. And Julie came in on her day off when they were just shooting my face while I was supposed to be talking to her, She didn't have to be there, but she was, whispering to me and encouraging me and she took me right through the scene."

Miss Channing adjusted her glasses which were especially designed for her as was the golf suit of knickers and jacket she was wearing.

"You know what my son says about me? He wants to know why he has to have a mother who looks like a motorcyclist."