Hello, Dolly! Recap and Review


Photo courtesy of Berkshire Eagle

Weaver and ensemble members sing and dance in Hello, Dolly!

Singing! Dancing! Comedy!  Drama!  The new auditorium had its theatric debut with Mount Greylock Regional High School’s rendition of the famous Broadway hit, Hello, Dolly!   Directed by Mr. Jeffrey Welch, the show was performed to sold-out audiences.  Sophomore, Briana Dowling, an ensemble cast member, smiled at the accomplishment of learning words, choreography, and transforming audience members back into another era.  She noted, “a lot of the dances were perfected through trial and error.  The friendships last a life time.  Putting together a musical has its challenges, but we worked together as a team. I am proud of how we combined talent and fun.  Best of all, I learned to tap dance!”  Her cast-mate, junior Marleigh Briggs who starred as Irene Malloy, supported Dowling’s views. Briggs emphasized the positive atmosphere: “What I really liked about Hello Dolly was everyone’s attitude towards the show. Every single member of the cast, crew, and pit put a lot of effort into it and everyone had a smile on their face while they were dancing and singing!” This was the first high school production for seventh grader Echo Simonetta-Trombley who had come during the first night’s snow storm to support her friends.  Echo left with a smile on her face saying, “I really liked it.  It was very good.  My friends were great!” The performance ended in a standing ovation.

Ruth Weaver stole the show as socialite matchmaker Dolly Levi, who attempts to marry Yonkers millionaire Horace Vandergelder, played by the equally talented Jonah Hane. Hane’s character is near financial ruin, thanks to the antics of Dolly.  Weaver and Hane give the original actors Barbara Streisand and Walter Matthau a run for their money.  The dynamics of their connection on stage kept the audience entertained all evening. While some lines were simply hilarious, others were also extremely thought provoking. Weaver’s delivery of “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread about, encouraging young things to grow,” for example, told audience members that money is just paper – life is based on love and relationships.

Other heartwarming performances centered around actors Finn Ellingwood and Ashtyn Faas, playing the not-worthy suitor (Ambrose) and the niece wronged in love (Ermengarde).  Each seek the “Uncle’s” approval.  Vandergelder’s inability to approve the relationship only engages Weaver’s character to intervene with clever, but comical methods.

The plot widens further with even more outstanding performances of curious love stories. Sam Tucker-Smith’s and Krishan Rai’s characters’ mating tactics (which include dance lessons) with actresses Olivia Winters’ and Marleigh Briggs’ characters add humor to the show, and these couples serve to teach the audience there is hope for everyone.  The cast was rounded out with fantastic and believable performances from supporting character actors Avery Powers, Julia Donati, Tasha Rai, and, of course, Grace Sanchez, a judge swayed a little to much by emotion.

This review couldn’t be complete without acknowledging the magnificent ensemble cast’s collective performances, which brought the audience to their feet.  The ensemble included Jackie Brannan, Maggie Brodey, Hannah Chase, George Dalsin, Ben Dingman, Briana And Karlie Dowling, Cailean Fippinger, Lucy Igoe, Emily Johnson,Juliet Kornell, Victoria Melkonyan, Emily Mole, Jennah Simpson, Kiersten Simpson, Jaime Sweren, Serafina Velasquez, and Malina Woodbury.    The live band music  was provided by James Bergin, Noelle Dravis, Lily Edge, Michael Faulkner, Caleb Low, Oscar Low, Perri Morris, Eva Myers, and Franscois Secordel on strings; Laura Dupuis, Beatrice Pedroni, Ava Simon, and Elizabeth Smith on Woodwinds; Jimmy Brannan And Charlie Meyers on Brass; and  Joan Devoe, Tarryn Gaherty, Matthew Johnson, and Owen Tucker-Smith on the Rhythm instruments. Lyndon Moors conducted.

One audience member sitting next to me openly commented, “wow! Remarkable!  One of the best musicals I have seen in ages!”  I’d have to agree – the spectacle of props, costumes, and musical accompaniment was notable. It was a smash hit.