She signed on to play Dolly in Jerry Herman’s famous show back in 2019. Originally planned to open in 2020, it was delayed by both the pandemic and the star’s workload on Season 5 of The Crown. Hello, Dolly! was pushed back to 2022, then delayed again until 2023 upon Staunton’s ascension to a second season of portraying Queen Elizabeth, who died September 8.
However, with filming on the sixth season set to continue until at least June, it was felt that it would not leave Hello, Dolly! director Dominic Cooke (The Courier) enough time to rehearse his company and have the show up and running for its limited run.
Staunton has confirmed to Deadline that she will “definitely” star as Dolly in 2024. Contract negotiations for a major West End theater have been completed, but its name cannot yet be disclosed.
Staunton met with Jerry Herman a couple of months before he died in December 2019. The tunesmith gave permission for Staunton and Cooke to switch around the show’s opening scenes and change one of its songs.
By the time Staunton hits the stage in Hello, Dolly! in 2024, her reign in The Crown would be complete.
Season 5 mostly is concerned with tumultuous events involving the then-Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, portrayed by Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki. Although it’s clear that the drama is fictionalized, creator Peter Morgan always has insisted that his scripts are underpinned by strenuous research.
The many scenes of a warring Prince Charles and Princess Diana — with Camilla Parker-Bowles, Charles’s mistress, caught in the crossfire — might do much to undo the many years of the careful cultivation of Camilla’s image since Diana’s death in a 1997 car crash in Paris.
Camilla is now Queen Consort to King Charles III, and there’s consternation at Buckingham Palace about the harm that The Crown might do to the real-life holder of the crown, even though much of what is revealed has appeared in newspapers, books and magazines.