HELLO, DOLLY! is a classic piece of American Musical Theater. With music and lyrics by the formidable Jerry Herman, it boasts a score full of bright singable music. Michael Stewart did a fine job of adapting Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker, and the cast at dcp didn’t miss one of the jokes Stewart lifted from the play. Kelly Germann as Dolly Levi was particularly expert at delivering the humor. She is a good looking woman with a good voice. She has to struggle with a score written for a bass baritone (Carol Channing) that is not in her best range. She sells the songs well.
Her foil, the curmudgeonly Horace Vandergelder, was well cast and well played by Phil Cook. He managed the transition at the end with a smile that I could buy. I wish he had more to sing. Scott McMaster and Seth Baliles as Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker were appropriately all innocent and amiable. They both sang sweetly and in the quartet “Elegance” shared with Katherine Henry and Maria Boccella as Minnie Fay and Irene Malloy they were a highlight of the performance. Ms. Bocella looks and acts Irene with an unexpected sensuality. Ms. Henry has a bright stage presence and is just adorable. Matt Mazza added a good cameo part as Rudolph the Head Waiter as did J. J. Johnson as Mrs. Rose. Both made the most of a bit part.
Choreographer Dee Brown moved the chorus about with some style and was most effective in the Waiter’s gallops. The small orchestra conducted by Reuvan Anafshalom could benefit from more rehearsal time. I realize how hard it is to get musicians to devote four weekends to a volunteer project and I give dcp credit for using a live orchestra.
Mark Henry designed a set that was, for me, the hit of the evening; a series of interlocking two sided wagon stages that was a marvel. I’m sure Mr. Henry’s architectural background came into play here. Bravo.
The chorus all work hard and should enjoy being part of DOLLY. Diane Seader’s enthusiasm as Producer is enough to propel the cast to give its all. Director John Weber kept the pace bubbling along despite some opening night mishaps. HELLO, DOLLY! is always a good experience for a cast.
I must mention the use of electronics in the lobby and the overall theater experience at dcp. It adds much to seeing a show there.
Music & Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Book by Michael Stewart
Directed by John Weber
October 29 – November 21, 2010
795 Ridge Road