BWW Interviews: Katy Moore as Dolly Levi in The Playhouse's HELLO, DOLLY!
The character of Dolly Levi is many things, including an expert talker. It seemed fitting then that I would speak with Katy Moore who plays Miss Dolly Levi herself at The Playhouse's current production. Ms. Moore gave me plenty of insight into the beloved character and what we can expect from The Playhouse's current offering.
JD: Hi Katy. How are you?
KM: I'm good! How are you?
JD: Good, good. First of all, thank you for speaking with me today. I'm really excited to talk with you about HELLO, DOLLY! What do you think makes HELLO, DOLLY! such a beloved show?
KM: I thought a lot about that. You know, this is 2012. We have a lot of other shows that are more contemporary and more fitting for our culture and our time than an old fashioned musical like HELLO, DOLLY!, but I think that's exactly why it's beloved. I think there's charm in the old-fashioned musical. It's simple. It's sweet. It's about love. It's funny, and it doesn't try to solve any of the world's problem. You can truly get away and live in a time where life was a lot simpler.
JD: So what is it like to play Dolly?
KM: Always challenging, always fun, and sometimes very frightening. Even now that we're in production, I'm finding new challenging and new fun things and new things that scare me. It's definitely one of those growth roles.
JD: Dolly's been played by many great actresses, including Carol Channing who originated the role on Broadway, Barbara Streisand who did the film, and lots of other actresses such as Mary Martin, Pearl Bailey, Ginger Rogers, Betty Grable, Phyllis Diller, and Ethel Merman. Where you intimidated about taking on a role played by these iconic women?
KM: It's really interesting. When I was cast back in May, I could not see myself in this role at all. It completely intimidated me. I grew up on this musical, and I knew every word. The Barbara Streisand movie was on at our house fairly frequently, so I know the show and I know Barbara's performance particularly, and I was completely intimidated. I really had to figure out how to make it my own Dolly, and once I figured out that I'm not doing Carol Channing's Dolly and I'm not doing Barbara's Dolly and I'm not doing Pearl Bailey's Dolly, which is actually my favorite cast recording-
JD: Oh my gosh! You know the Pearl Bailey cast recording! I have to say since it's now out of print I had to fight and search to find a copy of it for years! You can't find it anywhere.
KM: So do you know the recording? If you have it or you know it, the best part is when she, in the middle of "Sunday Clothes" does her little monologue to Ermengarde. It's awesome. I recommend you listen to it later.
JD: Oh, ok.
KM: So I do a Carol Channing voice, and I had to kind of let all that go and approach her like any other character I've ever approached, you know, from the text and build her from the ground up and just trust the process that the Dolly that came out of me was an acceptable Dolly, not the same as Carol Channing or Barbara or anyone else.
JD: Dolly is many, many things, but I think most people would say that she's a vivacious, witty, sassy theater heroine. Is she similar to you in any way?
KM: Wait, what did you say? Vivacious, sassy theater heroine? [Laughs] I'm vivacious, and I'm definitely sassy, but I wouldn't say I'm a heroine.
JD: Are there any qualities of Dolly that you wished you had?