‘Hello Dolly’ Cast Lights Up Stage

by Nadia Smith

Last weekend Paragon Music Theatre put on “Hello Dolly!”, the smash hit musical from the sixties, at the Lexington Opera House. The original production won the Tony Award for Best Musical the year it premiered, as well as nine other Tony awards.

The entire cast of "Hello Dolly" gets taken down to the police station during one of many carnival scenes.The movie adaptation directed by Gene Kelly – starring Barbara Streisand, Walter Matthau and Michael Crawford, with a guest appearance by Louis
Armstrong – was received just as well, winning three Academy Awards while being nominated for four others, including Best Picture. An upbeat, lighthearted comedy with music you can sing and dance along to, it’s almost guaranteed to be an audience favorite. It was the night I attended as well.

Alicia Helm McCorvey played the meddling, matchmaking widow, Dolly Levi. Even with the performance of Barbara Streisand somewhere in the back of my mind, McCorvey’s interpretation of Dolly was fresh and interesting, and her vocals certainly did not disappoint. The costumes she wore were stunning, ranging from lavish and loud to classy and dazzling, in line with the character. McCorvey lent a certain amount of “realness” to a somewhat absurd but endearing character, making Dolly Levi likeable rather than obnoxious.

The other actors’ performances were equally endearing. Adam Richard Fister and Evan Pulliam played the roles of Cornelius Hackel and Barnaby Tucker well. Jan Hooker shined in her role as Miss Minnie Faye and brought smiles to the audience’s faces. Haley Fish, as Ermengarde Vandergelder, whimpered and whined with remarkable volume like any 17-year-old girl in love should. Rebecca Rudd, playing Irene Malloy, had a very pleasant singing voice which made numbers I’d never thought much of before, such as “Ribbons Down My Back,” much more enjoyable to listen to.

The actors showed off their physical comedy skills during numbers such as “Motherhood March,” “Dancing” and “Elegance.” The ensemble’s dancing was as bouncy as the girls’ curls. During the scene at the Harmonia Gardens, the waiters hardly seemed to touch the ground before they were up again to do a trick or fly across the stage. The major numbers “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Before the Parade Passes By” and “Hello Dolly” were done in big Broadway style and, like every community production, at some point included some adorable, talented children.

I left the theater that night ready to “put on my Sunday clothes” and dance in the streets, proud that our local talent could pull off such a great show!


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