BWW Review: HELLO, DOLLY! Dolly Levi Makes a Match for Sacramento
It only takes a moment to fall in love with the feel-good melodies and delightful characters of "Hello, Dolly!," the musical that gave film and Broadway star Carol Channing her signature role. Matchmaker Dolly Levi can be played a number of ways, which ensures every production remain refreshing and different. Barbara Streisand, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin and Sally Struthers have all taken on the title character. Sacramento's Music Circus brings in the lesser known, but amiable Lynne Wintersteller, now through Sunday in its second show of the summer.
Wintersteller's Dolly has a warm wisdom and strong smile beneath her meddling. She has humorous traits, as well, such as her ability to have a business card for every occasion (and audience member). But the California Musical Theatre production does not focus so much on overplaying the comedy as it concentrates on the simple sincerity of the material, with a few back flipping waiters thrown in, of course.
The story follows Dolly's efforts to arrange a marriage to Horace Vandergelder (Stuart Marland). Coincidentally, Vandergelder's store hands (a sweet John Scherer and endearing Jordan Grubb) venture to New York the same day he plans to travel there and propose to Irene Malloy (Jacquelyn Piro Donovan with an odd lower register, but lovely soprano voice). Paths cross. Merriment and romance ensue. And behind it all stand Dolly and an abundance of memorable songs, including "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," "Before the Parade Passes By" and the title song best known by its Louis Armstrong rendition.
Glenn Casale's direction and Craig Barna's musical direction hit a sweet spot with an ensemble whose vocals blend beautifully and an outstanding orchestra. Inventive choreographer Randy Slovacek also takes full advantage of the athletic cast and the Music Circus aisles and round stage in routines that ultimately steal the spotlight in a lively and enthusiastic production.
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Photo by Kevin Graft