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re: I'm probably going to be in the minority on this one...
Posted by: JereNYC (JereNYC@aol.com) 01:56 pm EST 11/11/20
In reply to: I'm probably going to be in the minority on this one... - DistantDrumming 12:12 pm EST 11/11/20

This doesn't address your larger point (though I truly believe that not every performer is going to appeal to every person), but Dolly Levi isn't from Yonkers...Horace Vandergelder is from Yonkers. We actually don't know anything about her background and that's one of the beauties of HELLO, DOLLY!'s libretto. It can be played by anyone because it's really up to the actress to bring something to fill in those dots. Just based on her name, she seems to be an Irishwoman who married a Jew. But is she Irish or of Irish descent? Or might she be Jewish herself? There were and are certainly Jews in Ireland. But, of course, America is a melting pot and names don't necessarily indicate anything at all about a person's background.

I would imagine that a Dolly Levi played by Reba McEntire would be a woman from the south who somehow found herself in New York and her warm presence on the stage would go a long way toward conveying how she's managed to parlay her talents for managing things and problem solving into a business after widowhood left her in reduced circumstances. Not a single person in the opening number tells Dolly to go away, mind her own business, or leave them alone...that says that she must have a certain charm and warmth and likability as she moves through life and we do see that. In fact, the opposite is true...everyone seems to love her. That the charm and likability mask a certain ruthlessness born of desperation is something that the audience sees (if the actress chooses), but the characters don't. I don't think McEntire would have trouble conveying this, no matter how limited an actress she may be.
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