Final Bow: Kate Baldwin and Gavin Creel Say "So Long, Dearie" to Hello, Dolly!
Broadway's Irene Molloy and Cornelius Hackl look back on their leading ladies — and tell us what drinks they remind them of.
On stage and off, Kate Baldwin and Gavin Creel have each other's backs. In Hello, Dolly!, they play romantic leads Irene Molloy and Cornelius Hackl. In real life, they're the closest of friends. As their run in Dolly comes to a close, they looked back on their experiences saving each other's lives, and told us which cocktails their three leading ladies — Bette Midler, Donna Murphy, and Bernadette Peters — remind them of.
1. Kate, what is your favorite line that you get to say?
Kate Baldwin: "Oh, Dolly, the world is full of wonderful things."
2. Gavin, what is the best inside joke from among the company?
Gavin Creel: "I don't hear no tuba." Can I just say that and not explain it?
3. What was the worst technical difficulty you experienced during the run?
Kate: We were all coming off from "Dancing," and one of the drops started coming in too early and collided with the hat shop. This drop happened to have light bulbs underneath it, so the sound was terrifying. Bette was on the hat shop set and fell to her knees. Stage management came out, got her, and the legend is, they said, "Are you OK?" and she said, "Yes, I am. Do you need me to go out and do a set or say some jokes?" so the set could be cleaned up. She knew we would have some time before the show could resume, and she was game to entertain people in front of the curtain.
4. What is the most interesting present you received at the stage door?
Gavin: I got a piece of the Berlin Wall. Maybe me or the show means a lot to this fan, and she's from Germany. I think she just wanted to give something of value to me, and this is what she had.
5. Who is the coolest person to come see the show?
Kate: Carol Burnett, Cynthia Nixon, Sally Field. I have distinct memories of all of them. Jennifer Garner. Laura Linney. All the ladies I love and aspire to be like.
6. Gavin, in one word, describe the three actresses who have played Dolly, Bette Midler, Donna Murphy, and Bernadette Peters.
Gavin: This is hard. Donna: Glamorous. Bernadette: Effervescent —
Kate: For Bette, I would say something like "Explosive."
Gavin: I was going to say "Ferocious," but that has a negative connotation.
You know what, I've got it. I'm gonna start over. I know this isn't following the directive. Donna is a pinot noir. The finest cabernet. Bernadette is a Kir Royale, which is bubbles and delight and sweet. And Bette is a dirty gin martini. Like, powerful, unapologetic, salty, one of a kind, and never the same.
7. What is the one thing that the world does not know about Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters? What are they like backstage?
Kate: Bernadette loves to crack up. That's one thing that I didn't realize. Onstage, if anybody breaks or there's any hint of breaking, she loves to giggle.
Gavin: She's always present in the moment of what's happening. And if something's funny, she'll go with that. I think people come in with a lot of preconceptions about Bette. And I did not expect her to be…she's reading her script.
Kate: Right now.
Gavin: It's ratty.
Kate: I expected her to have this grandeur about her. I didn't expect her to be so direct and unpretentious. I don't think people recognize how unpretentious she is.
8. What are you doing in the Harmonia Gardens restaurant scene when the curtains are drawn in your booth?
Kate: We're playing cards. We have a little Ziploc bag with cards and a pen inside of it, and it has Velcro on it, so it sticks underneath the table. It's a game called Ah, Hell. We have a really good tournament going on.
Gavin: We played Spades when Beanie and Taylor were there. We did a little Charades.
Kate: Some 20 Questions.
Gavin: We did 20 Questions for a couple of months, before Beanie would let us play cards. She was too stressed out.
9. What is the one costume piece that you want to keep?
Kate: I want to keep the shoes, because they're broken in for where I need it to be.
Gavin: If I had to keep something, I'd keep the boater hat. They made it for my head, because I have such a big noggin.
10. How does working together now compare to when you were both in Thoroughly Modern Millie?
Kate: I think we just know each other a lot more. That was 16 years ago. I was a different person then. But he saved my life on Saturday. When I couldn't sing anymore, he sang my part for me. I just looked at him with fear and he jumped right in. That's the kind of support you get.
Gavin: She does the same thing for me. There's this very subtle look we can give each other when we need something, and there's an acknowledgement. We just have each other.