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The Matchmaker - Full Length Play, Comedy

The Matchmaker

Thornton Wilder

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Full Length Play, Comedy

9m, 7f

ISBN: 9780573612220

"Loud, slap dash and uproarious...extraordinarily original and funny." - The New York Times

: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $100 per performance


Full Length Play


Farce, Adaptations (Literature), Period

120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - 19th Century

Settings Of Play -

Various settings in Yonkers and New York City.


Local Celebrity Cameo, Physical Comedy, Play w/ Music

Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Period Costumes


No Special Cautions


Appropriate for all audiences


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Outdoor, Large Stage


From Broadway, From West End

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.


"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 

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

“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

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 as the muscial Hello, Dolly!.



9m, 7f


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

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 
GERTRUDE, Vandergelder's Housekeeper 
Miss Van Husen's Cook 
RUDOLF, a Waiter 
JOE SCANLON, a Barber 
AUGUST, a Waiter 

Rental Materials
All necessary music materials can be found at the back of the acting edition. 
Thornton Wilder

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 of his seven novels, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, and his next-to-last novel, The Eighth Day received the National Book ... view full profile

Now Playing
Michelle O'Brien 8/22/2016 10:22 AM
Meryl Federman 5/20/2013 4:27 PM
"The Matchmaker," the straight-play basis for "Hello, Dolly!", is a light, hopeful examination of the American preoccupation with money and class. The play is just as much fun as the musical treatment, and the characters just as large. The farcical energy sweeps through every moment of the play, it is a classically perfect example of farce - with plenty of wonderful roles for both men and women as well. For anyone wondering if a precursor to "Hello, Dolly!" might be dated, put those fears to rest. The themes of class mobility and money are treated with heart and grace, with a moral that will resonate with any American today and likely far into the future - money must be used for good. The moralizing is gentle and loving, allowing for financial success as a moral good, but only if one is thoughtful and caring of others, especially those close to them.

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