To be part of the whole spectacle, live and in person, makes me just gush with delight. In all of its original glory, Hello, Dolly! is a masterpiece of Broadway history. Seeing Betty Buckley on stage was a gift like no other. Her wisdom, and deep smoky voice led the audience down a divine path. This is a role that is made for her; she coveted every moment of Dolly Levi, commanding the theater.
Growing up in Los Angeles during the 70’s I had a drama teacher, Mrs. Meyers, who was a huge fan of the original play The Matchmaker. Part of our acting classes in high school required studying the play, and then working on many of the scenes. So for me, Hello, Dolly! was ingrained in my psyche from a very young age. As you may know, The Matchmaker was adapted into what we now know as Hello, Dolly! in the 1960’s, during Broadway’s heyday.
Producer Scott Rudin and Tony Award®-winning Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in Hello, Dolly! – the universally acclaimed smash that NPR calls “the best show of the year!” and the Los Angeles Times says “distills the mood-elevating properties of the American musical at its giddy best.” Winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, director Jerry Zaks’ “gorgeous” new production (Vogue) is “making people crazy happy!” (The Washington Post). Breaking box office records week after week and receiving unanimous raves on Broadway, this Hello, Dolly! pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest staging’s in musical theater history. Rolling Stone calls it “a must-see event. A musical comedy dream.”
In 1890s New York City, the bold and enchanting widow Dolly Levi, is a socialite-turned-matchmaker. Her latest client seeking assistance is the cantankerous “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder, and a young artist named Ambrose, who is in love with Horace’s niece, Ermengarde. Dolly’s scheming soon involves Horace’s employees as well as a New York hat maker, as she tries to cover up her own secret romantic designs.
Led by four-time Tony Award®-winning director Jerry Zaks, and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Warren Carlyle, the entire creative team of the Broadway production reprises their roles for the national tour of Hello, Dolly!, including four-time Tony Award® winner Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), six-time Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), Tony Award® winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Andy Einhorn (Music Supervision), Robert Billig (Music Direction), Tony Award® winner Larry Hochman (Orchestrations), Tony Award® winner Don Pippin (Vocal Arrangements), David Chase (Dance Arrangements), and Telsey + Company (Casting). Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman, Book by Michael Stewart, and based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder.
Betty Buckley (Dolly Gallagher Levi) called “The Voice of Broadway” by New York Magazine, is a legendary Tony Award® Winning performer; he is also a 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee, and a 2017 recipient of the Julie Harris Award for Artistic Achievement given by The Actors Fund. Broadway: Triumph of Love (Tony Award® nomination), Sunset Boulevard, Carrie (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), Song and Dance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cats (Tony Award®), Pippin, 1776. London: Dear World, Sunset Boulevard (Olivier Award nomination), Promises, Promises (Evening Standard Award nomination). Television: “Preacher,” “Supergirl,” “Getting On,” “The Leftovers,” “Chicago Med,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Pacific,” “OZ,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Without a Trace,” “Eight Is Enough.” Recordings: 18 solo albums (two Grammy Award nominations), most recently Hope released on Palmetto Records in June 2018. Betty is a teacher of scene study, and song interpretation for over 45 years. Two Honorary Doctorates for her contribution to musical theater from The Boston Conservatory and Marymount Manhattan College.
Producers – Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson. Director – Jerry Zaks, Choreographer – Warren Carlyle, Music Supervisor – Andy Einhorn, Music Director – Robert Billig, Scenic And Costume Design – Santo Loquasto, Lighting Design – Natasha Katz, Sound Design – Scott Lehrer, Hair & Make Up Design – Campbell Young Associates, Dance Arrangements – David Chase, Music Coordinator – Seymour Red Press, Vocal Arrangements – Don Pippin. Music Coordinator — Seymour Red Press.
Dolly Gallagher Levi – Betty Buckley, Horace Vandergelder – Lewis J. Stadlen, Cornelius Hackl – Nic Rouleau, Irene Molloy – Analisa Leaming, Barnaby Tucker – Jess LeProtto, Minnie Fay – Kristen Hahn, Ambrose Kemper – Garett Hawe, Ermengarde -Morgan Kirner, and Ernestina – Jessica Sheridan.
Ensemble featured Maddy Apple, Daniel Beeman, Brittany Bohn, Giovanni Bonaventura, Elizabeth Broadhurst, Whitney Cooper, Julian DeGuzman, Wally Dunn, Alexandra Frohlinger, Dan Horn, Corey Hummerston, Madison Johnson, Nathan Keen, Beth Kirkpatrick, Ben Lanham, Ian Liberto, Kyle Samuel, Scott Shedenhelm, Timothy Shew, Maria Cristina Slye, Cassie Austin Taylor, Davis Wayne, Brandon L. Whitmore, and Connor Wince.
“I Put My Hand In,” “It Takes a Woman,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Motherhood,” “Dancing,” “Before The Parade Passes By”
“Penny in My Pocket,” “Elegance,” “The Waiters’ Gallop,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “The Contest,” “It Only Takes a Moment,” “So Long Dearie,” “Hello, Dolly! (Reprise)”
Celebrities In Premiere Attendance:
Fran Drescher, Carly Hughes, Denise Crosby, Malcolm Barrett, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Lynn Andrews, Keala Settle, Sofia Milos, Patty McCormack, Brooke Lewis,Courtney Reed, Masiela Lusha, Naomi Grossman, Lisa Loeb, Bernie Kopell, Eric Petersen, Richard Portnow, Rob Colletti, Aubrey Anderson Emmons,Thomas Lennon, Ruta Lee, Rachel Bay Jones, Lea Thompson, Reginald VelJohnson, Kitana Turnbull, Dianne Kay, Laurie Walter, Al Sapienza, Kiki Shepard, Patty McCormack, Mindy Sterling, Kym Herjavec, Molly McCook, Kate Linder, Mindy Sterling, Garrett Clayton, Adam Rich, Patrick KilPatrick, Karen Strassman, Jeffery Anderson Gunter, Micky Dolenz, Masiela Lusha, Robert Herjavec, John Krause, Raegan Revord, Katherine Steele, Gloria Garayua, Connie Needham, Armand Mastroianni, Issie Swickle, Aijia Grammer.
History – From The Thornton Wilder Society:
From the very start of his work on The Merchant of Yonkers in early 1937, Thornton Wilder wrote that he was indebted to other plays, specifically a comedy by Johann Nestroy, Einen Jux will er sich Machen (Vienna, 1842), which was in turn based upon an English original, A Day Well Spent (London, 1835) by John Oxenford. Oxenford’s comedy is a one-act light farce about clerks taking a surreptitious holiday. The Austrian Nestroy’s play expands Oxenford’s basic plot, adding music, songs and social commentary.
Wilder made major changes to his sources, especially the introduction of Dolly Gallagher Levi, the matchmaker. After initial frustrations with the Fourth Act, Wilder experienced a breakthrough in March 1938, writing to his mother and his sister, “All my plots – count ’em – and idea-themes all come to a head at the right moment, with Mrs. Levi ruling the Roost.” The Merchant of Yonkers opened on Broadway in December 1938, while Our Town was still playing, with mostly disastrous reviews, and closed after only 39 performances, although it continued to be staged in other settings.
Almost twenty years later, following encouragement and specific recommendations by the actress Ruth Gordon and by director Tyrone Guthrie, Wilder transformed the play into The Matchmaker. The major changes are the new title, which emphasizes the role of Dolly Levi, and the addition of lines, especially a grand soliloquy, given to Dolly. The Matchmaker debuted in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 4, 1954, and was already an international success when it opened on Broadway on December 5, 1955. In 1964 Hello, Dolly!, a musical adaptation of The Matchmaker starring Carol Channing in the title role, premiered on Broadway, and ran for seven years. A film starring Barbra Streisand was released in 1969.
All in attendance celebrated this Broadway legacy and no one was disappointed. With the perfect sets and colorful costumes Hello Dolly! is a show not to be missed. You travel to a time of simplicity, but with its historical moments we remember the suffragettes of what women had to go through to be part of society and find their place. Nowadays, these kinds of topics would never be written. The way women are treated in our-day-and-age does not allow for being the bride for reasons other than love. Back in those days, a good wife kept the house, and was basically considered a maid. However, the message of women being in power back then did not go unnoticed by me, and I am sure all of today’s feminist audience members. This is an important side note and one that needs to be addressed. The innocence of the time when women were happy to help men take care of their families and households still can be seen in many traditional marriages and families. These values have morphed into other traditions, but all in all, the strength of women in today’s society is something that is very prevalent. The Me Too movement has made all of this come to the forefront and I am glad it did, but one can still appreciate a grand story of when women were treated as the queen of their castles.
The performance schedule for Hello, Dolly! is Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm. Opening Night is Wednesday, January 30th at 8pm.
The Pantages Thaeter
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, Los Angeles
www.HollywoodPantages.com or www.Ticketmaster.com
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