BWW Interview: Jane Brockman of HELLO, DOLLY! at Bass Concert Hall
HELLO, DOLLY! has been entertaining audiences since it first hit Broadway in 1964 with Carol Channing as Dolly Gallagher Levi. As many productions and revivals ensued, the endearing qualities of this stellar show continue to sell-out. Currently on tour in North America, BWW caught up with actress Jane Brockman who plays Erestina as well as understudying Dolly.
Tell us a little bit about the first time you ever performed onstage. What show was it and what part did you play?
Well, the first time onstage was for a kindergarten chorus concert and I loved singing in that concert! But I think the first time I had a role was in a high school production of "Wonderful Town." My first leading role was Laurey in "Oklahoma!" my senior year. I have only done that show twice in my life and the 2nd time (2 years ago) I played Aunt Eller. Truly a full circle moment!
When did you know that you wanted to make a career out of being onstage?
It was that high school "Oklahoma!" Prior to that I wanted to be an architect.
What made you want to audition to be part of the HELLO, DOLLY! cast?
I knew I wanted to be a part of the show when I first saw this production on Broadway. And, the opportunity to work with Jerry Zaks. It really was an enormous thrill for a me to get the chance to work with him.
Another big part of it was that my husband, Tim Shew, was already in the show. We don't often have the chance to work together so being on this tour is a very special time for us.
How is this touring production bringing something new to HELLO, DOLLY!?
Well, I sound like a broken record, but Jerry Zaks' comic direction is just brilliant. And the cast brings a whole new spirit to the show. While it is an homage to the original, it is dei??nitely for the audience of today. It's funny and touching and beautiful to watch.
What do you love the most about playing Ernestina in HELLO, DOLLY!?
Gosh - I just adore Ernestina! She really is a "good time girl" and that kind of character is so much fun to play. I get a kick out of the audience reaction when I come through the curtain for the very i??rst time! And playing the scenes with John Bolton, our Horace, is delightful!
What are the biggest challenges about understudying for Dolly?
I guess the first (obvious) challenge is simply learning the script. Dolly doesn't stop talking! Then once the script, songs, and blocking are under my belt, the challenge becomes making sure it's always at the ready. For me, if I know I am secure with all of that, then I can actually have FUN in the role! Dolly is a huge undertaking and so satisfying!
One of the BEST parts of being the understudy is watching and listening to our Dolly, Carolee Carmello. She is phenomenal in the role. She is funny, touching and sounds amazing! She really is the best and such a wonderful person. It's a lot of fun listening to her every night!
HELLO, DOLLY! will be at Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas from January 21-26, 2020. It will be a lot of fun to see this revival that will entertain you from start to finish. Go to Texas Performing Arts website for tickets and showtimes.
PHOTO CREDIT: Julieta Crevantes