Hello, Dolly! is probably the musical that most of us have heard of but few have actually seen on stage. If this describes your experience with the musical, now is your chance to see the play performed locally by the Davis Musical Theatre Company.
The title character of Hello, Dolly! confesses time after time that she is a woman who loves to meddle in the lives of others. The famous matchmaking skill of Mrs. Dolly Gallagher-Levi, a widow from New York City, is only one of the ways she attempts to “help” her neighbors. Her helpless victims are the downtrodden Barnaby and Cornelius, oppressed by their menacing employer and both desperate to kiss a girl. Meanwhile, she decides that the same menacing employer, Mr. Vandergelder, would make a perfect second husband and is determined to bring this idea to fruition.
Being in a musical, especially one as well-known and campy as Hello, Dolly!, is the perfect opportunity for any actor to act completely over-the-top. Only half the cast really went for it.
As Dolly Levi, actress Mary Young seems well suited to the role and obviously enjoyed herself onstage, but her singing severely lacked strength. Then again, Dolly singing in silence could be attributed to the overpowering orchestra, to which many a cast member seemed to fall victim.
The real efficacy of the play lay in the male leads, each with their own individual approach. Ebullient and energetic, David Holmes as Cornelius brought to the stage rapid dialogue and physical expression. Steve Isaacson’s portrayal of Horace Vandergelder as somewhat of a crotchety old man worked well, mainly because he nailed the character vocalization. Overall, there was great commitment from the men.
For working on the budget of a small community theater, the cast and crew did well with what they had. The community theater enthusiasm made up for all the show’s little quirks. The play may seem a bit outdated to today’s college students, but sometimes seeing something so different from what we’re used to is half the fun.
LAURA KROEGER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.