The Matchmaker

by  Thornton Wilder

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  9m, 7f

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.

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The Matchmaker

by  Thornton Wilder

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    9m, 7f
  • Duration


    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Farce, Adaptations (Literature), Period
  • Accolades


    From Broadway, From West End
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

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.

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"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 Women of Wilder
by Annette Storckman
June 4, 2019


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Aging, Love, Marriage


Performing Groups

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


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $125 per performance



  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting:

    Various settings in Yonkers and New York City.

  • Additional Features: Local Celebrity Cameo, Physical Comedy, Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


9m, 7f
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 

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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


Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

All necessary music materials can be found at the back of the acting edition. 

Available Services



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.

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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!.

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