Hello, Dolly!: The Perfect Matchmaker

Broadway In Chicago’s historical Oriental Theatre Presents
Written By: Michael Stewart
Music By: Jerry Herman
Directed By:  Four-time Tony Award-winning Jerry Zaks
Choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle
October 23 – November 17, 2018

Broadway Legend Betty Buckley (Dolly Gallagher Levi)

Broadway In Chicago’s historical Oriental Theatre brings to Chicagoland the four-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival “Hello, Dolly!” In one word: spectacular! This 1964 musical from the Michael Stewart book with lyrics and music from Jerry Herman are based on the 1938 farce “The Merchant of Yonkers,” which was later retitled “The Matchmaker.”
This dramatic account of Dolly Gallagher Levi, who is the town’s matchmaker and an opinionated woman with an overabundance of skills and talents, travels to Yonkers, New York, to find a match for Horace Vandergelder. Horace, the owner of a Hay and Feed store, is an unmarried half-a-millionaire with a mean disposition. He tells his workers, Cornelius (Nic Rouleau) and Barnaby (Jess LeProtto), that it’s time to get married again because the place needs a woman to do the household chores.
Horace, played by Lewis J. Stadlen, calls on the services of Dolly to find him this bride, and she lets him know that she has the perfect woman for him; unbeknownst to him, that perfect woman is actually her– Dolly.
Dolly travels to Yonkers to visit her self-proclaimed future husband Horace, and while on her quest to convince him to ask for her hand in marriage, she works on her matchmaking skills to help Ambrose Kemper (Garett Hawe). Ambrose is a young artist, who wants to marry Horace’s weepy niece, Ermengarde (Morgan Kirner), which Horace is firmly against because he doesn’t feel Ambrose’s vocation will provide a good living to care for her.
Horace travels to New York City to propose to Irene Molloy (Analisa Leaming), who owns a hat shop there that Dolly has setup to fail. Cornelius and Barnaby come up with a plan to also visit New York to find a girl to kiss and the plot is set to move the hand of love, with Dolly being the architect of it all.
Betty Lynn Buckley, who won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in her role as Grizabella in “Cats” and is best known in the ABC series “Eight is Enough” as “Abby” and as the gym teacher Ms. Collins in the 1976 film Carrie, was remarkable, incredible and a true treat as “Dolly.” Buckley put her signature on this play and made it a pure delight to see. Rounding out the cast was also another legendary actor Lewis J. Stadlen as Horace Vandergelder. Stadlen’s theatrical career started as Mendel in “Fiddler on the Roof” and he made his Broadway debut as Julius Marx (Groucho Marx) in the musical comedy “Minnie’s Boys.” Stadlen was just as amazing as the mean-spirited bachelor looking for someone who fits a housekeeper role more than a wife. His rendition of “It Takes a Woman” along with the ensemble of men was delightful and entertaining.
Nic Rouleau, Analisa Leaming, Jess LeProtto and Kristen Hahn (Minnie Fay), who played the youngins looking for adventure and love, made a night of theater something to remember.
“Hello, Dolly!” to us was one of the best theatrical plays we have seen this year. It’s filled with non-stop excitement, and the singing and dancing are phenomenal. It’s destined to be an experience that will thrill audiences all the way to Yonkers, or maybe just New York’s Broadway.  The one thing I would like to see is more diversity within the casting, but that’s an easy fix.
Brenda and Rick McCain

Let’s Play highly recommends “Hello, Dolly!”
The cast includes:
Broadway Legend Betty Buckley (Dolly Gallagher Levi)
LEWIS J. STADLEN (Horace Vandergelder)
NIC ROULEAU (Cornelius Hackl)
JESS LePROTTO (Barnaby Tucker)
GARETT HAWE (Ambrose Kemper)
MORGAN KIRNER (Ermengarde)
The ensemble cast included some very talented actors.


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