Hello Dolly-An Evening of Laughter and Fun

Hello Dolly…Hello Laughter!!

Now that the pandemic is over, it most definitely is time to laugh, and the Village Theatre’s excellent production of Hello Dolly, provides just such an opportunity. From start to finish, this production, expertly directed by Timothy McCuen Piggee, was sheer entertainment from opening number to the final curtain call.

Hello Dolly, based on Thornton Wilder’s play, The Matchmaker, takes place in the 1890’s in New York City (aka Manhattan) and nearby Yonkers NY, when Yonkers was still fairly rural but was connected to Manhattan by a train. Dolly Gallagher Levi is a widow, living hand-to-mouth as a matchmaker, dance instructor, deal-maker and general “meddler.” Dolly is hired by widower Horace Vandergelder, a wealthy Yonkers merchant, to find him a wife who will be little more than an inexpensive housekeeper/maid/cook/laundress.

In spite of Vandergelder’s wealth, he is without love or joie de vivre, and is authoritative, gruff, mean-spirited and miserly. Dolly is the opposite; she is full of life, energy and love. While supposedly arranging marriage prospects for Vandergelder, she plots to marry him herself. This plot has a Beauty and the Beast theme, because possessing an equally strong personality, she tames him and turns him into a nicer less avaricious person.

Courtesy of Village Theatre

There is also a subplot, where two young couples have a “seize the day” experience frolicking in New York, and fall in love impulsively, but unlike a Jane Austen novel, where impulsive behavior is always punished, they are rewarded romantically and financially. This is in opposition to Vandergelder and Dolly who have known each other for years, and go through various internal trials before they reach the altar.

A great singer and comedienne, Bobbi Kotula played Dolly, she nailed every line with expert comic timing, while putting her heart and soul into her singing and dancing. Opposite her was the equally impressive Allen Fitzpatrick as Vandergelder, whose speaking and singing voices expressed the character’s authoritative personality perfectly.

Courtesy of Village Theatre

Other standouts were Sarah Garcia as Minnie Fay, a sales girl in a Milliner’s shop in Manhattan, who takes up with a shop assistant from Vandergelder’s store. Markcus Blair as Cornelius Hackl, Vandergelder’s exploited chief clerk, was a delightful singer, dancer and actor. Rhys Daley as Barnaby Tucker, the younger shop assistant, delighted the audience with his youthful physical acrobatic dancing and impish innocence.

However, a lot of credit goes to the choreography, the costumer and the set design, which as a whole made the production visually dazzling. Choreographer Kathryn van Meter really delivered the goods because every dance number was energetic, amusing and full of comical surprises, as well as incredibly complicated. The timing of the dance scenes, in the restaurant, was impeccable and full of charmingly funny stunts.

Courtesy of Village Theatre

The lavish, colorful, authentic costuming, by Esther Garcia, brought grace and lightness to all the scenes, as they danced in front of sets by Carey Wong. These sets had flair and authentically suggesting turn of the century New York. In addition they were extremely versatile, so that the numerous set changes were managed swiftly.

Although a tad too long, this production offers hours of entertainment, laughter, audience participation, but there was a meaningful message. Misers, like Vandergelder do need to be tamed and Dolly was just the right person to do it. Director Piggee brought everything together in a perfect unity.

Courtesy of Village Theatre

Get your tickets right away, it was almost sold out on opening night. For Seattleites, it only took precisely 15 minutes to get there on I-90 from the Central District. Issaquah is a lovely old village with several great restaurants, some with outdoor dining.

Courtesy of Village Theatre

Hello Dolly, Village Theatre Francis J. Gaudette Theatre 303 Front Street N, Issaquah Thru July 2 Tickets: Info:

Tickets: https://villagetheatre.org/mainstage/see-a-show/discount-tickets VillageTheatre.org/Dolly

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