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Sally Struthers is DOLLY...

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DavidMegg
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Sally Struthers is DOLLY...#0
Posted: 8/29/03 at 12:05pm
I hadn't seen this anywhere before I read this review.
I think someone came up with the possibility of Struthers playing Dolly in a thread about "worst choices for a role"!!!
Did you all hear about this?
Here's the review:

- - - - - - - - -

The question of whether or not Bloomington Civic Theatre's production of "Hello, Dolly!" is a "good" show depends entirely on how you define "good."

From a critical perspective, it's a monumentally inconsistent evening, marred with some unforgivably hideous directorial and design choices — not the least of which are (a) the casting of a 40-something woman with false eyelashes the size of bat wings to play the supporting role of a teenage ingιnue and (b) the fact that the set designer created scenery for only about a third of the show, leaving long stretches to be played on an utterly bare stage.

The ticket price of $35 demands comparisons with professional theaters. By that standard — and despite the "Waiting for Guffman"-esque panting by one patron at intermission that being in Bloomington's new Center for the Arts Tuesday night was "just like being at the Ordway," — "Hello, Dolly!" doesn't come within a light-year of measuring up to its price-peers.

I confess morbid curiosity drew me to the southern suburbs: Bloomington Civic Theatre artistic director John Command called in a chit to have erstwhile television star Sally Struthers play the title role. Struthers doesn't exactly have Bernadette Peters' resume in musical theater, and I wanted to see what was behind the name.

She wasn't bad. Oh, sure, on opening night she seemed to be searching for the 2 or 3 percent of her lines and lyrics not firmly ensconced in her head. Her singing voice is brassy, but not polished. But then again, the role she's playing was made popular by the goose-voiced Carol Channing. In that context, Struthers is a regular Beverly Sills.

And Struthers didn't spend all that time doing "All in the Family" for nothing. She's got an admirable sense of comic timing and brings a nicely unexpected sense of vulnerability to Dolly.

Her sensitivity is about the only thing resembling nuance. Neither Command's direction nor his choreography has an original thought in its head. He insists his actors demonstrate everything they're singing about — a frightening proposition in a score that contains the lyric, "Well, my heart is about to burst/my head is about to pop."

His choreography is largely an amalgamation of box-steps, grapevines and stuff he's stolen from the stage and screen versions.Still, Command is nothing if not a good drill sergeant, and, with the legions of free bodies available in community theater, the dancing is athletic and periodically infectious.

The cast is ready to go along with Command's Cheez Whiz concept. Wayne C. Morton — who, apart from Struthers, is the only other Equity actor — recycles his sputtering, double-taking performance as Mr. Biggley in Command's 2002 production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" as Dolly's would-be paramour, Horace Vandergelder.

The rest of the leads are similarly larger-than-life caricatures with the exception of Karen Weber, who plays Mrs. Molloy with a bell-clear voice and a sense of grace that, alas, feel out of place on this stage.

So... a "good" show? No, not really. But if you look at it for what it truly is — an evening of community theater — then it's possible to find some charm.

Only a community theater could afford to cast 35 people and put 17 musicians in the orchestra pit for an endeavor such as this. The sheer mass of people gives the show the kind of old-timey flavor it deserves, and it's impossible to deny the enthusiasm on both sides of the footlights.

If not for the ticket price and scant nods towards professionalism, subjecting an effort like "Hello, Dolly!" to critical review is almost beside the point. This is an endeavor more about creating community than about creating art. And, especially in these troubled days, creating community is a good thing.
Updated On: 8/29/03 at 12:05 PM
WOSQ
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re: Sally Struthers is DOLLY...#1
Posted: 8/29/03 at 12:35pm
Good God.

I thought this was a joke and was going to follow it up with some smart alecky thing like, "Don't be ridiculous. Its not Sally Struthers. Everyone knows its Connie Stevens."

Bloominton where?
"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
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Albin
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re: Sally Struthers is DOLLY...#2
Posted: 8/29/03 at 12:37pm
"But then again, the role she's playing was made popular by the goose-voiced Carol Channing. In that context, Struthers is a regular Beverly Sills."

I can just imagine Dollypop's reaction to this. I can't wait for him to get home!!!
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DavidMegg
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re: re: Sally Struthers is DOLLY...#3
Posted: 8/29/03 at 12:41pm
The paper it's from is called the Twin Cities something or other which leads me to believe it's the St. Paul, St. Louis MN area.
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re: re: re: Sally Struthers is DOLLY...#4
Posted: 8/29/03 at 1:24pm
DavidMegg, thanks for bringing to my attention the most interesting theater happenning I have heard in a while....

I love the thought of Struthers as Dolly and never thought of it before.............I got to dance with her in a club in LA about 25 years ago....but that is another story.

and I loved her on Broadway as the Felix charachter (Felicia, I think) opposite Rita Moreno in the female version of THE ODD COUPLE. She was also fun as Miss Lynch in the tour of GREASE.
"MAY YOUR LIFE BE AS BRIGHT AS BROADWAY AT NIGHT"
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SueleenGay
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That is some chit the director called in. What did Sally do to deserve this? I'm thinking blackmail of some sort. I wish I could see this.
PEACE.
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TEACHEROFTHEATER
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teehee Suleen right?????????/hmmm
"MAY YOUR LIFE BE AS BRIGHT AS BROADWAY AT NIGHT"
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TxTwoStep
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i heard Strothers was great as Hope's mom in the LA Reprise version of ANYTHING GOES last year. i think her comic timing is really good. i'm just ready for a non-Champion/Channing version of DOLLY, which has a great libretto and nice score ready for reconceptualization (no offense, Dollypop). Their version is historic, but so was the Fosse CABARET movie and the revision is also quite good (though closing soon).
Will: They don't give out awards for helping people be gay... unless you count the Tonys. "I guarantee that we'll have tough times. I guarantee that at some point one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life..."
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re: re: re: Sally Struthers is DOLLY...#8
Posted: 8/30/03 at 11:00am
Somewhere in Lourdes there is a balding, gay, middle aged Italian -American school teacher praying VERY HARD indeed!!
Words that confuse censors:Fecund,penal,taint, titmouse, cockatoo,coccyx, ballcock, cockeye, prickly,kumquat, titter,cunning linguist, insertion, gobble, guzzle, swallow, manhole, rimshot,ramrod,come, fallacious, lugubrious,rectify,Uranus, angina, paradiddle,spotted dick,dictum, frock,cunctation, engorge,turgid,stiff, bush, uvula, crapulence, masticate, Dick Butkus, gherkin and of course the always bewildering lickety split. As you can see, context is every thing. Chuck Lorre Addendum: 555 382 5968 "Sexarama, Hexarama, Queeriosis, Feariosis!" Alec Baldwin “I’m going to have to science the shit outta this.” The Martian
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BrdwyThtr
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Yikes! I guess that they were just trying to get the people to come with a name like Sally Struthers.
Kristie-K
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I think sally is very talented...I'm just glad an actress over 50 is working.....Good for her....
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Sally Struthers is DOLLY...#11
Posted: 8/30/03 at 9:39pm
If this is the Bloomington in Minnesota, it is a suburb south of Minneapolis, in fact, the home of the (in)famous Mall of America.