BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre Presents HELLO, DOLLY!

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BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre Presents HELLO, DOLLY!

HELLO, DOLLY! is glowin', crowin', and goin' strong at Hale Centre Theatre as Alaina Beauloye commands the stage as the unstoppable and unflappable matchmaker with a knack for arranging furniture, daffodils, and, of course, marriages.

The Tony Award-winning musical owns a secure place in the pantheon of Broadway shows because of Jerry Herman's memorable music and lyrics. The well-known story line, particularly as it relates to the characterization of women and the mating game, may seem antique if not in today's climate objectionable. Yet it retains a singular charm as the characters themselves are so darned lovable and the outcomes are so darned satisfying.

Then, too, there are the inimitable performances of Carol Channing on Broadway and Barbra Streisand on film that stick indelibly in our mind and which inevitably present a challenge for any actress who portrays the widow Dolly Gallagher Levi.

Good news! Alaina Beauloye's interpretation of Dolly is distinctive and refreshing. With pitch perfect and beautiful vocals, she carries herself with elegance and self-assuredness. There is enough confidence and ease in her delivery of Dolly's classic one-liners that there is no need to punch them up for laughs ~ the laughter comes naturally. She tempers Dolly's flamboyance so that we can appreciate better Dolly's own vulnerability. It is a portrayal that works remarkably well.

Even better news! The comic force of this production, directed and choreographed by Cambrian James, is galvanized by a string of engaging and standout performances by fellow cast members.

Raymond Barcelo, channeling the wryness of a Walter Matthau, is delightful as the object of Dolly's contrivances, Horace Vandergelder, the brusque "half-a-millionaire" hay and feed merchant from Yonkers and turn-of-the-century male chauvinist. Silly man, he may have engaged Dolly to find him a wife but the matchmaker has other plans for him when all parties converge in the Big Apple.

JT Ziervogel as Ambrose Kemper, an artist of limited means, and Carmiña Garey, Horace's niece, are charming as the young lovers who prevail upon Dolly to persuade Horace to overcome his objections to their getting married.

Vaughn Sherman and Allan DeWitt add hilarity to the show's merriment as Horace's countrified and overworked employees, Cornelius and Barnaby, who abandon the store for an NYC toot and uproariously unintended consequences. When they enter the millinery shop of Irene Molloy (Amanda Valenzuela) and her scatterbrained assistant, Minnie Fay (Brianna McClure), the foursome embark on a merry-go-round of agile antics.

This is an all-around enjoyable staging made all the more glamorous and resplendent by the stunning costumes designed by Danielle Everts. There seemed to be no end to the panoply of colors that adorned every outfit. This was eye candy on parade!

HELLO, DOLLY! runs through November 23rd at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert, AZ.

Photo credit to Nick Woodward-Shaw

Hale Centre Theatre ~ ~ 50 West Page Avenue, Gilbert, AZ ~ 480-497-1181 ~

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From This Author Herbert Paine