Dee Hoty Talks Taking On The Title Role in HELLO, DOLLY! in Oklahoma

Dee Hoty Talks Taking On The Title Role in HELLO, DOLLY! in Oklahoma

Dee Hoty, three-time Tony nominee, is gearing up to take on the iconic role of Dolly Levi in a production of Hello, Dolly! at the Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma. She, along with some of the show's creatives, chatted with NewsOK to talk about their experiences thus far.

Hoty never saw herself as the type to take on this role, she said in a recent interview. "It's just not something I went, 'Oh my gosh I'm dying to be old enough' -- or whatever enough - 'to play Dolly,'" she said. "I've dodged it for many years and it never caught me 'til now, so I figured it was time ... for me to take a stab at it."

Producing Artistic Director Michael Baron talked with NewsOK about the close ties the creative team have to the show.

"Ashley (Wells), who is directing it, and Matthew Sipress, who is choreographing it, were in 'Hello, Dolly!' on Broadway with Carol Channing. So, it's their dream show to do, and we've been waiting for the right moment to do it," Baron said.

Sipress wrote to the show's director on a whim when he was 22 years old, which is how he got the gig to be with the production on Broadway.

"I had done the show in Paris and Houston with the director, Lee Roy Reams, and I literally heard on the streets that there was going to be a Broadway revival," Sipress said. "And I wrote a Christmas card to Lee Roy, my little 22-year-old self just being brazen, saying, 'Hey Merry Christmas, I heard this show is going to Broadway, I'd love to be a part of that. Love, Matthew.' And two weeks later, I got a Christmas card back saying, 'Of course you're going, darling. Love, Lee Roy.'"

Featuring music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Michael Stewart, "Hello, Dolly!" tells the tale of widowed matchmaker Dolly Levi as she hunts for a bride for the "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder (George Dvorsky). The production will reunite Hoty and Dvorsky, who also played the leads in Lyric's 2014 presentation of "A Little Night Music."

"We've been pals for a long time," Hoty said. "There's a comfort in being on stage or even rehearsing or hanging out with somebody who you've known. You have a trust."

"(Dee) is very sincere and heartfelt, so I knew she'd a sincere Dolly," Wells said. "As opposed to 'Yukity yuk, wink, wink, wink, look at me saying these funny words.' Because Dollies can fall into that ... but I knew she wouldn't be that way. I knew she would take the heart that Dolly has and what she's trying to say and do it truthfully and honestly."

Hoty said she began working months ago on the character and learning the show.

"The challenge of it is part of the fun," she said. "The fear factor is also gonna be there pretty much even when you've done a role seven times. It's new in the moment wherever you're doing it, wherever you are. It's a different theater, it's a different bunch of people, the audiences are different every night. For me it's a gift ... because not everybody can say how much they love their job."

Lyric resident costume designer Jeffrey Meek and his team have designed and built over 200 costumes for this production. The set is designed by Kimberly Powers, prop design by Courtney Strong, lighting design by Helena Kuukka, and Julie Meyer is the production stage manager.


Hello, Dolly! is the second show on Lyric's Summer at the Civis season. It opens Tuesday and continues through July 15 at the Civic Center.

For tickets and information, visit or call 297-2264.

Hello, Dolly! is currently playing on Broadway, starring Bernadette Peters, through July 15. Bette Midler will return to the production on Tuesday, July 17, for a strictly limited six-week-only engagement.

Donna Murphy will step into the role to play six performances only on Sunday, July 22 at 3pm, Sunday, July 29 at 3pm, Sunday, August 5 at 3pm, Sunday, August 12 at 3pm, Sunday, August 19 at 3pm, and Monday, August 20 at 7pm.

The production will end its historic Broadway run on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

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From This Author Stephanie Wild

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