‘Hello Dolly’ Showcases Talent as It Elevates Mood

By Connie Bollinger
Contributing Writer
Hey Buddy, you say your life is nothing but an endless stream of work and people you hate? You say you’re depressed about global climate change? You say your 12-year-old daughter stole your credit card and got her belly button pierced? Well buck up, sonny, ’cause I’ve got a show for you!

“Hello, Dolly!” runs at the Fabulous Fox Theatre Oct. 1 – Oct. 13., and if you don’t come out of this show laughing and smiling, you’re hopeless. Wild with color, energy and talent, this production is like a shot of adrenaline.

Based on the play “The Matchmaker” by Thornton Wilder,the legendary show with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman opened in 1964 starring Carol Channing, winning 10 Tony Awards and ran for 2,844 performances. It closed in 1970, with such actresses as Pearl Bailey, Ginger Rogers, Martha Ray and Betty Grable in the title role. The 2017 revival starring Bette Midler won four  Tony Awards, including Best Revival and Best Actress.

This tour is based on that revival, and the  production quality is amazing. I don’t think even the Broadway version could have surpassed this one. Scenic and costume designer and Tony award winner Santo Loquasto made incredible magic with his sets and costumes. Sound designer and Tony nominee Scott Lehrer made sure we heard and understood every word of every song.

Director Jerry Zaks, along with Associate Director Stephen Edlund, brought out great performances from everyone. Choreographer Warren Carlyle crafted some absolutely incredible dances full of color and style and breathless energy.

Carolee Carmello portrays Dolly Gallagher Levi, a maker of romantic matches and consultant in affairs of the heart.  John Bolton is Horace Vandergelder, the clueless object of Dolly’s scheme to finally re-marry and make a match for herself for a change. Both are seasoned actors whose awards and accomplishments are no surprise, given their level of talent and professionalism.

It’s difficult to stand out in a cast as wonderful as this, but in my mind Sean Burns (Barnaby) manages to do just that. He is an incredible dancer who seems to float at times and his precision and strength handling some really tricky choreography is something you have to see.

Also outstanding is Daniel Beeman ( possessor of the most amazing tenor voice, strong and natural and not in the least bit thready. It’s astounding to me that after several bits of full out dancing, he just opens his mouth and out flows this mellifluous voice!

The dancers! My stars, they are incredible! I’ve seen a lot of shows but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as crisp and precise as the group dancers in this production. Wait until you see “The Waiter’s Gallop” —  it had the some of the audience gasping!   I especially enjoyed the color and energy of “Put on Your Sunday Clothes, ” the tongue in cheek chauvinism of “It Takes a Woman,” and of course, “Hello Dolly” performed by Dolly and the full cadre of male dancers. And let’s not forget the live musicians who were performance perfect, not a wrong note among them.

Oh, yeah, there was a steam engine on stage and a surrey pulled by a pantomime horse! I can’t help it, I’m in love with this production!

“Hello, Dolly!”

The Fox Theatre presents the musical Hello Dolly! Oct. 1 -13. For more information, visit www. fabulousfox.com

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