Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
At the turn of the 20th century, widowed matchmaker Dolly Levi (Vicki Lewis) makes it her business to arrange more than just marriages. While she is currently seeking a wife for the wealthy but grumpy Horace Vandergelder (Gary Beach), it becomes clear that Dolly intends to marry Horace herself. He is, after all, a store owner, a half-a-millionaire, and one of Yonkers most prominent citizens. While Horace is away in New York City meeting with his prospective bride, the widowed Irene Molloy (Daniella Dalli), his two store clerks, Cornelius Hackl (Matt Loehr) and Barnaby Tucker (Chris Brick), sneak away to New York for a night on the town. They vow not to return until they've kissed a girl. While they are there they meet hat shop owner Irene Molloy (the same Irene set to marry Horace), and her employee Minnie Fay (Katie Emerson). Fate and love are assisted by Dolly, who arranges things with her usual flair to be sure everyone receives only the happiest of endings.
Vicki Lewis is a slick and sexy Dollyfunny, knowing and ultimately in control. She is perhaps a bit too knowing and sexy at times, as her sultry walk and straight-out-to-the-audience line deliveries weaken the charm of Dolly normally derived from her bombastic energy. She does tend to scoop her way up to notes a tad too much, so some of her vocal entrances at the beginning of songs sound like she's finding her way to the notes. Her vibrato is also rather wide at times. She masters the comedic moments however. In fact, the funniest moment in the entire show is her extended solo dining scene, all done without a word.
Gary Beach is a charming Horace Vandergelder, somehow managing to be crotchety and lovable at the same time. Matt Loehr (Cornelius) is a strong singer and agile dancer unafraid to find the humor in the goofy guilelessness of his character. He is nicely paired with Daniella Dalli, who is a warm and womanly Mrs. Malloy. Kara Curtis is quite funny as the overly perky Minnie Fay. The live, eight-piece band plays the score well, but is is missing some of the fullness usually accompanying a Herman show. A few moments feel more jazz inspired than expected. The ensemble provides outstanding choreographic moments. The "Waiters' Gallop" takes on a new flavor as a tap dance number, and Harmonia Gardens features a few modern takes for the alert eye. The production has great energy and pacing, making the musical truly fly by. For a fresh look at Hello, Dolly! stop by the Maltz between now and April 1st.
Jerry Herman is one of America greatest and most beloved Broadway composers. His work includes the musicals Milk and Honey (1961), Hello, Dolly! (1964), Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Mack & Mabel (1974), The Grand Tour (1979), A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (1980) and La Cage aux Folles (1983). Herman was the first composer-lyricist in history to have three musicals run more than 1,500 performances on Broadway with Hello, Dolly! (2,844), Mame(1,508) and La Cage aux Folles (1,761). He has been nominated for the Tony Award five times, winning twice for Hello, Dolly!, and La Cage aux Folles. Among his many honors are a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, named after him by his alma mater, the University of Miami.
Hello, Dolly! will be appearing at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre through April 1, 2012. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is a 550-seat, nonprofit, community-based Equity regional theatre belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, and the Florida Professional Theatre Association. This theatre employees both local and non-local Equity and non-union cast and crew members. The theatre is located at 1001 Indiantown Rd. (just off of A1A) in Jupiter, Florida. For tickets and complete information on the theatre's offerings, contact them by phone at 561/ 575-2223 or 800/ 445-1666, and online at www.jupitertheatre.org.
*Designates a member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
**Designates appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association
++Designates a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, an independent national labor union.
+Designates member of the United Scenic Artists, a labor union and professional association of Designers, Artists and Craftspeople.