Review: HELLO, DOLLY! at Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire IL

Production runs through October 16.

By: Sep. 16, 2022
Review: HELLO, DOLLY! at Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire IL

Live theater and the accompanying live music from a marvelous orchestra..... Sometimes all you need is a Jerry Herman score with a very witty book written by Michael Stewart based on a Thorton Wilder play. Throw in Gower Champion inspired choreography and you have one heck of a show!

Hello, Dolly! is back at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre. I'm glad it is. Not having seen Dolly in a while, I forgot how delightful this show is and when done right, watch out! Under the energetic direction and choreography of Denis Jones, this production brings the story of Dolly Levi to life. Usually you hear the word "brassy" to describe Dolly. I did not find Dolly (Heidi Kettenring in a bravura performance) to be brassy at all but merely a woman who is trying to enjoy life again and wanting everyone in her orbit to enjoy it as well. Ms. Kettenring outshines as Dolly. Her performance from start to end is pure joy and magic. Ms. Kettenring's husband David C. Girolmo (great expressions and body language) plays Horace Vandergelder, the wealthy Yonkers shopkeeper Dolly has her sights set on even though he is intent on marrying Irene Molloy (played by Rebecca Hurd with beautiful vocals). Vandergelder's 2 long suffering clerks Cornelius Hackl (Alex Goodrich moving through his character's growth sometimes a little awkward but always being happy) and Barnaby Tucker (Spencer Davis Milford in a brilliant comic performance and his Marriott debut) decide to go to New York to have an adventure. They join everyone on the train going into New York. The train is a marvel designed by Jeffrey D. Kmiec and Milo Bue! To avoid Vandergelder, they run into Irene's shop. Irene's assistant, Minnie Fay (Amanda Walker giggling all the way as she should), having just found out Irene is marrying Horace for his money and not love, begins to cheer up when the 2 young men enter the shop. Horace enters the store as does Dolly and with Dolly's help, Irene and Minnie are able to hide Cornelius and Barnaby from Horace who storms out. Dolly tells the 2 young clerks to take Irene and Minnie to the lavish Harmonia Gardens as their thank you to Dolly for helping them. Cornelius claims he can't dance and with Dolly's help, he learns on the spot. The 2 young couples run off to watch a parade. Dolly has a long conversation with her dearly departed Ephraim telling him she will move on with her life. Later in the evening as everyone ends up at the Harmonia Gardens, the waiters are ecstatic to hear that Dolly will be returning after a 10 year absence. The always entertaining Waiters' Gallop ensues. There are many moments of the original choreography by the late, great Gower Champion - thank you Denis. This, of course, leads up to the moment that the audience is waiting for.... the intro buildup and Dolly appearing in her red dress and plumed hat. It is one of those musical moments which will always give chills. In the round does not give way for a staircase but it is not needed! Dolly and Horace sit down to dine together with Dolly talking non-stop and rejecting Horace's proposal of marriage - which he never made. Horace then discovers he and Cornelius have somehow ended up with each other's wallet. The whole party is arrested after a melee . In the courthouse Cornelius admits he is no millionaire but he doesn't care because he found love with Irene. Dolly persuades the judge to dismiss everyone except Horace. He thinks Dolly will help him but instead she walks away. The next morning back in Yonkers, Horace has time to think about the events of the previous night and realizes he is in love with Dolly. She shows up and convinces him to make Cornelius a partner and allow Horace's niece Ermengarde (Emily Ann Brooks portraying the scared niece with great conviction) to marry Ambrose (the engaging Michael Turrentine). Dolly still asks her late husband for a sign that she should marry Horace. Horace then repeats a saying of Ephraim's about money and manure being spread to help things grow. Dolly agrees to marry Horace and they embrace in a very tender moment.

This show was energetic from start to finish. There are plenty of funny, sweet and touching moments. Jerry Herman's magnificent score under the musical direction of Ryan T. Nelson and the orchestra conducted by Brad Haak is what musical theater is about! Theresa Ham's costumes pop with color. The clothes and hats are stunning and I want to wear Dolly's red dress.

Hello, Dolly! is one of theater's grand musicals. The songs Jerry Herman wrote still resonate with the audience. There is also something to be said about a husband-wife team starring opposite each other. I found myself watching their faces intently. At the end when their characters embrace and kiss, it was a lovely and touching moment of true feeling. I highly recommend Dolly for all of the above reasons and more. Thank you Marriott for bringing Dolly back where she belongs.


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