Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 19, 2013

Hello Dolly!

Goodspeed Musicals, East Haddam, CT
through September 14, 2013
by Walt Haggerty

Photo by Diane Soboloewski
America’s long-term love affair with Dolly Gallagher Levi was officially launched in 1963 with the arrival of “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway with the incredible Carol Channing as Dolly. At Goodspeed Opera House, Klea Blackhurst brings her own brand of charm, exuberance, and show-stopping delivery to a Dolly that has the audience cheering at frequent intervals. Blackhurst’s Dolly has captured the heart of the character and deserves to be ranked up at the top of the list of exceptional Dolly interpretations. She is extraordinary!

Goodspeed’s production of “Hello Dolly” has been handsomely produced by Michael Price, with flawless direction by Daniel Goldstein. The choreography of Kelli Barclay is miraculous. Her dancers are seldom given breathing space, spending most of the evening airborne. In the "Waiters Gallop" they are magnificent.

As Horace Vandergelder, Tony Sheldon has totally absorbed he character down to the last double take. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a more captivating Irene Malloy than is portrayed by Ashley Brown. She is pure joy, as is Catherine Blades as her assistant, Minnie Fay.

Spencer Moses as Cornelius Hackl, Mr. Vandergelder's Chief Clark, and Jeremy Morse, as Assistant Clerk Barnaby Tucker, are superb. Their frantically executed romp in the hat shop is a masterpiece of choreographic execution and timing, quickly followed by the inspired hilarity of “Dancing.” Jack Doyle deserves special credit for his excellent dual role performances as the Judge and especially as head waiter Rudolph Reisenweber.

Creating the foundation for these marvelously endearing characters is the book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s original play “The Matchmaker.” The score by Jerry Herman, who contributed both music and lyrics, is one of his best, filled with a series of show-stopping solos, duets, quartets, and full company ensemble numbers. It is a pleasure to hear such glorious, infectious music from a Broadway show performed with such enthusiasm and professionalism.

As is customary at Goodspeed, everything that could possibly be done to create a memorable afternoon or evening at the theatre has been accomplished to perfection. “Hello, Dolly!” is another treasure of America’s glorious musical theatre past impeccably restored to vibrant life.