BWW Reviews: HELLO DOLLY, Hello Sally Struthers!
Dolly may leave Broadway Fresno after one more performance tonight, but in our hearts, Dolly will never go away again. Next to divas Carol Channing and Barbara Streisand, Sally Struthers makes the title character her own.
All together silly and full of character, the absurdly hilarious Struthers version of Dolly loves food, loves dance and loves life. She's ready with a card of introduction for every situation in life, and she overflows with memorable facial expressions and enjoyable audience and cast interactions.
Struthers puts her hands in among a talented ensemble and loveable supporting characters. Struthers' pairing with Tony Triano as Horace Vandergelder, the cranky and proud older businessman Dolly plans to marry, makes for one of the most adorable couples ever. Their relationship is something akin to the famous husbands and wives of history playing tug o' war. Matt Wolfe and Parker Slaybaugh play Horace's store clerks Cornelius and Barnaby. The two burst with childlike innocence and energy when they adventure to the city and meet ladies Irene Malloy and Minnie Fay, played by Lauren Blackman with her gorgeous voice and Halle Morse with a bubbly and talkative personality.
"Hello Dolly" possesses wonderful love stories, comedic moments used to full potential by director Jeffrey B. Moss and Ms. Struthers' improvisational skills, and some of the best music ever written. Like its lead character, the show naturally endears itself. John Andrew Tarbet leads the rousing orchestra in the show's beloved ballads and upbeat classics, which include "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," "Before the Parade Passes By," "Hello Dolly" and more. The scenic design relies heavily upon simple backdrops with lovely lighting design by Charlie Morrison, and Vincent Scassellati's costumes are bright and colorful worn by an equally bright and colorful cast. Bob Richard's acrobatic choreography also gives the cast multiple chances to shine in this fantastic production. The musical visits Reno, Santa Barabara, Bakersfield and Palm Desert next.