Hello, Dolly!

Hello, Dolly!

Ogunquit Playhouse
July 25- August 5, 2006
Sally Struthers is just about perfect as Dolly Levi, in a production with spectacular scenery, costumes, dancing, singing, and a whole bunch of great performances.

Hello, Dolly! is just about perfect

Matty's Review

The Ogunquit Playhouse comes through with a production of Hello, Dolly! that is just about perfect.  Hello, Dolly! is a fun (I had forgotten how much fun), upbeat show with an uplifting message, and it's even more fun with Sally Struthers as Dolly.  We've known she was a comic genius since that lima bean scene in "All In The Family," and her interpretation of Dolly is both original and hysterically funny. Her delivery makes every line a keeper.  Some lines take on new meanings that are even funnier than they ought to be.  It's the perfect performance, and let's just say the movie would have been better had Barbra Streisand taken a few pointers from Ms. Struthers.

Hello, Dolly! Photo 2

The rest of the cast is also strong. Jimmy Bennett plays Cornelius Hackl as a weird mix of Barney Fife and Jim Carrey, but with an amazing singing voice that seems to come out of nowhere.  Kristen Beth Williams as Irene Molloy is simply one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, with an angelic voice that makes "Ribbons Down My Back" one of the highlights of the show.  When she and Mr. Bennett duet at the end of It Only Takes a Moment, it is another perfect moment.

Christopher Sergeeff as Barnaby (you just want him to scream Holy jailbreak, Batman!) and Amy Shure as Minnie are quite cute as the neurotic sidekicks.  And they sing and dance well. 

I was a little dissappointed when the boys didn't mime "FEMITY," but George F. Piehl as Horace Vandergelder saved the moment by pausing just long enough to realize his staff was too stupid to spell femininity.  When he shouted F-E-M-I-T-Y? back at them, the look of contempt on his face was priceless.

Everything else you remember from Hello, Dolly! was there.  The train ride from Yonkers and the 14th Street Parade were show-stoppers, and the singing waiters did a fast and hilarious assortment of pratfalls.  In fact, one of the waiters froze mid-air, which looked painful, but was very funny.

Besides the talent, this production is a first rate spectacle in every way.  Costumes and scenery are from the original Broadway production, including a hat shop that goes from outside to inside when they push through the door, a full-size train that chugs across the stage, a huge staircase at the Harmonia Gardens restaurant, and a horse-drawn carriage with the best legs I've ever seen on a horse. 

Hello, Dolly! Photo 3

Locals will get a kick out of seeing Steven Riley, a former Ogunquit Mr. Speedo Contest winner, in the ensemble.  He gets to kiss Ms. Struthers' hand, and when she asks the fellows to find her an empty knee, it's Steve's knee! 

Sorry if I'm sounding more like a giddy schoolgirl than a reviewer.  Hello, Dolly! does that to you.

Struthers and Cast Strut their Stuff at the Playhouse

Mackie's Review

Like an annual tradition, the Playhouse again welcomes Sally Struthers back for another 2 week engagement, packing the house with her massive fans.  (They have already sold out the matinees and are adding more!)  And these fans have good reason to come to this showcase of talent. Its opening night production was flawless- from the opening act (catch the horseman!) you see how the entire cast shines.  The singing and dancing are top-notched, the costuming is authentic and vibrant and the massive moving sets transform without a hitch- from a street market, to a train, to a courthouse, everything flows as perfectly as if this show had been done a 100 times with this cast.  

From a gay appeal standard, who wouldn’t love all the gorgeous dresses and hats worn by the women? (Some of these brought images of high end wedding cake to my mind.)  And the scene with the various dancing and acrobatic waiters manages to pull off both “Cute” and “Hot” at the same time.  Check out the freeze frame scene with the two waiters intertwined on stage in the second act.
 

Hello, Dolly! Photo 4

Also on a more subtle level are the various romantic plots which involve more than a bit of conniving and deviousness.  Ms. Struthers plays Dolly, a Jill of all Trades whose current occupation could be best described as a “professional meddler in people’s romantic lives”.  Although there are several couples involved with all this hi-jinks, the one that I felt most drawn to was that of Cornelius Hackl (Jimmy Bennett) and Mrs. Irene Malloy (Kristen Beth Williams).  Ms. Williams really rocked in this role.  She was a character many of us could both sympathize with (in her desire to toy with some men with some flirting and non-serious dating) and yet still want to be like (her ability to wrap men around her fingers with her charm, beauty and operatic voice).  Also appealing to watch were their friends (and another soon to be couple) Barnaby Tucker (Christopher Sergeeff) and Amy Shure (Minnie Fay).  These two really clicked with their comic timing in their supporting roles.
 
Although the plot is at times silly and predictable, the cast has such a fun time with it that you can’t help but get carried away in the waves of feel good energy they project.   You leave the show with the impression that the whole, large cast has some real chemistry with each other both on and off stage.  I look forward to seeing them back at the Playhouse in the near future.

Hello, Dolly! Photo 5

Hello, Dolly! plays nightly except Sunday through August 6.  They've added matinees July 29, July 31 and August 5.  For tickets, call 207-646-5511.  Even if a performance is sold out, people cancel or don't show up, so keep trying!

Presented by:

Ogunquit Playhouse

Ogunquit Playhouse

10 Main Street
Ogunquit, ME 03907
207.646.5511
http://www.ogunquitplayhouse.org


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