The Matchmaker

Definition

Theater

  • A play written in 1954 by Thornton Wilder that providedthe basis for the 1964 hit musical Hello Dolly! It openedat the Edinburgh Festival before transferring to the Haymarket Theatre,London. Its plot was based on Wilder's earlier work The Merchantof Yonkers (1938), which was itself adapted from a 19th-centuryViennese farce.

    Peter O'Toole made his London debut with a seven-line partin the 1955 Old Vic production of The Matchmaker. In the audiencewas W. Duncan Ross who, three years earlier, had rejected O'Toole'sapplication for an apprenticeship at the Nottingham Playhouse. Whenthe two met backstage, O'Toole explained that the rejection had upsethim so much that he had immediately hitch-hiked to London and demandedan interview at RADA, which resulted in the award of a scholarship.

    The plot of The Matchmaker follows the amorous schemingof Horace Vandergelder, a rich widower who has decided to remarry,and various other characters including his new love, Irene Molly,his daughter, and her artist sweetheart. At the centre of the webis the matchmaker Dolly Levi, who wants and finally wins Horace forherself.

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