Save Me a Seat: On the Road with Hello Dolly!

BearManor Media. Aug. 2023. 398p. ISBN 9798887712468. pap. $32. THEATER
Award-winning Broadway veteran Stadlen (Acting Foolish) recounts the year he traveled with the road tour of Hello, Dolly! in which he played Horace Vandergelder, opposite lead Betty Buckley’s Dolly Levi. In the fall of 2018, the production began with a tryout in Utica, NY, crossed the country to play major cities, and finished nearly one year later in Boston. In addition to relaying the behind-the-scenes drama of production, salary negotiations, and cast relations, the book is as much a travelogue. Stadlen, a passionate traveler, shares his love of long bus rides between cities, imparting vivid descriptions of the locales, their histories, theaters, and hotels. Along the way, he also indulges in his other passions, such as attending baseball games, and he reflects on past roles and his personal life. Nathan Lane provides an appreciative foreword to Stadlen’s diary-format theatrical memoir, which also features 32 pages of photos.
VERDICT Funny and revealing, this book, filled with the author’s opinions, is an evocative record of theater life and life on the road.
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