'Hello, Dolly!' comes to Sarasota

Sally Struthers stars in the acclaimed Jerry Herman musical

November 28, 2013 

Sally Struthers stars as the title character in "Hello, Dolly!," playing Dec. 3 and 4 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Sally Struthers is playing Dolly Levi for the sixth time, and she knows it's probably her last.

"I'm loving every minute of it," she said. "I get to wear all these fabulous clothes and sing all these wonderful songs."

Struthers was calling from Pensacola, where she's on tour in the Jerry Herman musical "Hello, Dolly!" The tour will be making its way to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota Dec. 3 and 4.

She has never stopped working since she was in her 20s, but she's still best known as Gloria, the wide-eyed daughter of Archie Bunker on "All in the Family."

"I'm the luckiest girl in the world, that's how I feel about that," she said. "It's been a lifelong delight. I probably wouldn't be playing the lead in 'Hello, Dolly!' now if it hadn't been for 'All in the Family.' I even had a man on a camel in Jerusalem call me Gloria."

"Hello, Dolly!" was one of the most acclaimed musical of the 1960s, with a long Broadway run starring Carol Channing and a hit movie with Barbra Streisand. Louis Armstrong had his biggest hit with the show's title song.

Struthers, who's now 66, said she's fortunate to be able to work non-stop, at an age where actresses often have trouble finding quality roles. She rattles off a list of performances coming up after the "Dolly" tour ends in April so there's no end in sight.

If she were a movie actress, her career would've waned 25 years ago, she said. She's getting to the age where even quality stage roles will become scarcer. So she's savoring every minute of this show.

"I know this will be probably be the last time I get to play the title role in a musical," she said, "and I'm loving it."

Details: 8 p.m. Dec. 3-4, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $35-$70. Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.

-- Marty Clear

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