YOU’RE LOOKIN’ SWELL, DOLLY
REVIEW: HELLO DOLLY
BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO
3D Theatricals proves that the musical Hello Dolly is still going strong long after the original Broadway production opened at the St. James Theatre over fifty years ago. Here the musical is reinvigorated with fresh and imaginative contemporary productions values and a stellar cast that bring this Jerry Herman classic to life.
The first aspect of that show that catches the eye is the exquisite set that leaps from the stage like pages in a Victorian pop-up book. The set design by John Iacovelli is both charming and functional—tall pieces with elegant designs on one side representing the multiple locales in the show, and on the other a built-in section representing restaurant booths, shops and boutiques. Add to this the sumptuous lighting design by Jean-Yeves Tessier and the results are a stunning visual plane for the musical that is functional, striking and contemporary.
All the elements in the show are thoroughly woven into the action of the musical with hints of English charm and panache. In line with the sets, lighting, and costumes, the choreography by Leslie Stevens brings exciting movement that often picks up right where the story left off. Stevens’s choreography is dramatic and stimulating—she’s created movement that matches the music, style and drama of Hello Dolly, making us wish there were more big classic dance shows like this on Broadway today. “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Before The Parade Passes By,” “The Waiters Gallop” and “Hello Dolly” are easily the most entertaining numbers of the night.
Director Ken Sawyer has created a Hello Dolly that is smart and fun—he’s molded his talented production team and cast into a product that’s pure dynamite. Sawyer’s direction is a fine balance of retaining the classic 1960s version, underscoring the English farce moments in the show, and trimming here and there to appeal to modern audiences.
Since Carol Channing’s origination of the role of Dolly Levi, every Dolly thereafter has big shoes to fill—especially since the success of the original Broadway production owes much credit to Channing’s performance. Valerie Perri (Dolly) is clearly up to the challenge as she makes this role her own, offering a sensational performance. Perri is a divine and mighty performer who holds the audience in her hands from her first entrance.
Robert Yacko (Horace Vandergelder) is the quintessential patsy who is unknowingly at Dolly’s whim for the entire show. Yacko is a treat on stage and gives a delightful rendition of the classic “It Takes a Woman”. Gary Patent (Cornelius Hackl) and Chris Villian (Barnaby Tucker) are a hilarious duo that keeps you laughing all night—a wonderful blend of character acting, schtick and charm. Afton Quast (Irene Molly) plays this emotional character with elegance, giving a gorgeous rendition of the ballad “Ribbons Down My Back”.
WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC DIRECTOR?
Diane King Van conducts the live orchestra and leads the cast in a superb performance—the tempi are exact, the voices are glorious, and the orchestra is lively and crisp.
Put on your Sunday clothes and make the trip to see 3D Theatrical’s version of this classic musical because whether you’ve seen Hello Dolly on stage before, or have only heard the name, this production is a must see—plus where else can you see the original headdress that Carol Channing wore in the Broadway production? Hello Dolly runs from August 5-7 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. For information and tickets visit: www.3dtshows.com.