Well, helloooooo, Dolly! Dolly’s original, Carol Channing, stops by for MTL Gala

The theater event of the 2007-2008 season is almost here. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard the fabulous Carol Channing was coming to town to star in Music Theatre Louisville’s season opener, “Hello Dolly!” Well, it turns out the rumor, like most tittle-tattle, was blown out of proportion. She’s coming to town all right, but only for one night — next Wednesday, June 20.

Channing, who played Dolly Levi in the original production of “Hello Dolly!” in 1964, is the guest of honor at MTL’s only fundraising event, its 2007 Gala at the Frazier International History Museum. Only 300 tickets are available. As MTL’s spokesperson, Hannah Wemitt, said, “It’s a rare opportunity to have an intimate audience with a legend.” Your $125 ticket gets you free parking at the museum, a cocktail hour and live auction with Channing, round trip charter to and from the Iroquois Amphitheater and a VIP ticket to the evening performance.

The burning question was unanswered at press time — will La Channing perform during the show? Wemitt would only say, “It’s up to her.” If you’ve already snagged a $23 ticket to Wednesday’s performance, you just might reap the bargain of a lifetime.

The auction program alone is enough to make you scream. Here’s a list of items up for bid:
• Autographed Original “Hello Dolly!” Broadway Poster — Signed by you-know-who!
• Wall Sculpture — artist/sculptor/designer Guy Tedesco’s “Tragedy” and “Comedy” masks.
• Cocktail Party for 60 — Hosted by Mike Berry, executive director of the Kentucky Derby Festival and MTL and LTA board member.
• Fred Difrenzi Glass Sculpture — Stunning green head with blue accents and copper hair.
• Onstage with Carol Channing — A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Ride in style to the evening’s performance — in Channing’s limo! — and after a quick costume change, the lucky winner will become a cast member with Channing. There’s also an autographed poster of the original show, and a photo of you with the diva. Wow!
• Disney’s “High School Musical” Party — 10 tickets to the show, dinner and backstage tour.
• New York, New York: The Tony Awards — Omigosh! A pair of tickets to the 2008 Tony Awards and gala dinner, a pair of Broadway show tickets, plus hotel and air fare.  
• In the Limelight — Walk-on part in MTL’s production of “Oliver.”  
• Doin’ Derby — Two tickets to almost everything except riding a horse during 2008’s Kentucky Derby Festival.
• Hot Time in Cincinnati — Opening-night tickets for four of the hottest touring Broadway musicals that aren’t coming to Louisville this year: PNC Broadway Across America Cincinnati productions of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Wicked,” “The Color Purple” and “Jersey Boys.” Cool!
• On Stage in Disney’s “High School Musical” — Win a walk-on part for your teen or tween in MTL’s production of Disney’s “High School Musical.”  
• Louisville Sampler — A cultural whirlwind! Two tickets for dinner and a show at Music Theatre Louisville, PNC Broadway Across America Series, Stage One, Actor’s Theatre, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Ballet, Louisville Chorus, Louisville Opera and the Louisville Orchestra.

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