HELLO, DOLLY! a winner in Walnut Creek
Will Giammona as Cornelius Hackl, Terry Darcy D’Emidio as Dolly Gallagher Levi, Andrew Willis-Woodward as Barnaby Tucker
HELLO, DOLLY! Lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, directed by Dennis Lickeig. Diablo Theatre Company (formerly the Diablo Light Opera Company) 1948 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, 925-944-1565. Showing at the
DOLLY’S BACK WITH SOLID EXCITING PRODUCTION
Many endearing musical comedies became vehicles for individual stars whose names seem etched in the titles. Three examples are,Yul Brynner (King and I), Richard Kiley (Man of
Based on a 1938 play, The Mechant of Yonkers, by Thornton Wilder and later rewritten as The Match Maker, it became the legendary Tony Award winning musical in 1964, becoming an international success before the 1969 Barbara Streisand movie version.
It has an uncomplicated plot with memorable, and only one unlikeable, characters who get into farcical situations that Jerry Herman has immortalized in song, and starting with Gower Champion in the original staging, is gold mine for choreographers. It a star vehicle for Terry Darcy D’Emidio as Dolly Gallagher Levi but she, and the lead characters, have to share the spotlight with the fantastic, exuberant youthful ensemble who dance up a storm in front of remarkable set changes (Mark Mendelson). The opening scene sets the stage for a barrel of fun. It is 1896, in front of Grand Central Station, director Lickteig has staged a tableau of the ensemble cast dressed in spectacular Gay Nineties costumes (Marianna Ford) as Dolly bursts on stage passing cards advertising her multiple talents to “Call on Dolly/I Put My Hand in.”
Matchmaker and widow Dolly has set up a potential wedding match for widower Hoarce Vandergelder (Curt Denham) with hat maker Irene Molloy (Rena Wilson) who lives in
In Mrs. Molloy’s dress shop we meet young Minnie Fay (Meghan Ihle) and Irene Molloy (Rena Wilson). Wilson takes control of the stage with the charming “Ribbons Down My Back.” With all the major characters in place, it is time for complications to kick in. Before they do, and they certainly do, Giammona and Woodward have their chance to shine when Dolly teaches them “Dancing.” The ensemble moves in to aid Dolly with the uplifting “Before the Parade Passes By” at the act one curtain.
Act 2 is a humdinger from the moment Irene, Minnie, Cornelius and Barnaby have a soft shoe routine to the lyrics of “Elegance” in front of the proscenium arch curtain. When the curtain rises there were audible gasps of appreciation for the all white Harmonia Gardens Restaurant set with obligatory (necessary) stairway needed for the signature number “Hello, Dolly!” who is now back where she belongs. The speedy waiters are exceptional in their “Waiter’s Gallop” dance numbers with their intricate and often athletic maneuvers that eventually leads to a riot.
All ends well after everyone is hauled off to court and Cornelius saves the day with the plaintive “It Only Takes a Moment” bringing the Judge (Randy Burke) to tears and Dolly has a show stopper with “So Long Dearie.” One might quibble about the quality of the singing but Lickteig has created a well paced, attractive package keeping the action moving adding clever, humorous and subtle directorial touches.
Running time 2 hours and 20 minutes with intermission
Kedar K. Adour, MD
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