A SAMUEL FRENCH, INC. TITLE

The Matchmaker

Full-Length Play, Comedy  /  7f, 9m

Wilder’s uproarious farce about love and money stars the irrepressible busybody Dolly Gallagher Levi, who inspired the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! Through Dolly’s subtle machinations, several unlikely couples come together to find happiness in 19th-century New York.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    7f, 9m
  • Duration
    Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Farce, Adaptations (Literature), Period
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
Licence details
  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    Please submit a license request to determine availability.
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Details

Summary

Horace Vandergelder, a wealthy merchant in nineteenth-century Yonkers, NY, decides to take a wife and employs a matchmaker, Mrs. Dolly Levi. Dolly subsequently becomes involved with two of Vandergelder's clerks, several lovely ladies, and the headwaiter at an expensive restaurant, where this swift farce runs headlong into hilarious complications. After everyone gets straightened out romantically, Vandergelder finds himself affianced to the astute Dolly Levi herself.

History
The Matchmaker opened on Broadway on December 5, 1955 starring Ruth Gordon (Best Actress, Tony Award Nominee), directed by Tyrone Guthrie (Best Director, Tony Award Winner). The Matchmaker ran for 486 performances, Wilder's Broadway record, and closed on February 2, 1957. It was later adapted into the musical Hello, Dolly!.
Cast Attributes
  • Ensemble cast
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Expandable casting
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors
Keywords
Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Outdoor
  • Large Stage
HORACE VANDERGELDER, a Merchant of Yonkers
MRS. DOLLY GALLAGHER LEVI, a Friend of Vandergelder's Late Wife
IRENE MOLLOY, a Milliner
MINNIE FAY, Mrs. Molloy's Assistant
CORNELIUS HACKL, a Clerk in Vandergelder's Store
BARNABY TUCKER, an Apprentice in Vandergelder's Store&
ERMENGARDE, Mr. Vandergelder's niece
MISS FLORA VAN HUSEN, a Friend of Vandergelder's Late Wife
MALACHI STACK
AMBROSE KEMPER, an Artist
GERTRUDE, Vandergelder's Housekeeper
Miss Van Husen's Cook
RUDOLF, a Waiter
JOE SCANLON, a Barber
AUGUST, a Waiter
  • Time Period 19th Century
  • Setting Various settings in Yonkers and New York City. The early 1880s.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Local Celebrity Cameo, Physical Comedy, Play w/ Music
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • No Special Cautions

Media

“One of the sweetest and smartest romantic farces ever written.” – The Wall Street Journal

“Loud, slap-dash and uproarious... extraordinarily original and funny.” – The New York Times

“Rolls along merrily and madly and the customers are convulsed.” – New York Journal American

“The lines of Wilder are so often brilliant, sage, and witty.” – New York Daily News

“What made Wilder so distinctive among [the] greats of the 20th century was his determination not only to reach out and move people…but rather to offer actual advice for living your life, which is, dear readers, all too brief.” – Chicago Tribune

ON BREAKING CHARACTER

The Women of Wilder
by Annette Storckman
June 4, 2019

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Authors

Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated at Yale and Princeton, was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience. The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one ...

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