Most often, it's the director or the choreographer who gets the non-performance accolades. But for "Hello, Dolly" at the Cape Playhouse, the folks in charge of casting deserve a round of applause.
Here for the fifth show of the grand dame's 87th season, the folks behind the curtain have assembled an amazing cast to perform the American musical classic, "Hello, Dolly".
Back before the days of looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right in nightclubs or on Match.com, there were matchmakers like Dolly Gallagher Levi whose profession it was to, in Dolly's own words, "meddle". In addition to a plethora of other services, Dolly matched ladies and gentlemen looking for love in 1890s New York.
It was a job that Dolly excelled at and she was ready to take on her toughest client--herself. And Dolly's going to need to pull out all the stops to land the man who would probably rather marry anyone but Dolly.
"Hello, Dolly", with book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, was based on the play "The Matchmaker" by Thornton Wilder. The musical was first produced on Broadway in 1964 and took the coveted Tony Award for Best Musical.
It starred the one and only Carol Channing in the lead role. Dolly has a big personality and it takes a certain kind of woman to take her on. Like Ms. Channing, that woman must project intelligence and strength, cleverness and sensitivity and they found that woman in Beth Leavel who makes her Cape Playhouse debut in the title role.
Leavel is wonderful--she is sassy and brash--exactly how you would expect an independent working widow in 1890s New York to be.
She is supported by a very talented cast including James Brennan as Horace Vandergelder--Dolly's intended, the captivating Natalie Charlie Ellis as Irene Molloy, a client of Dolly's, and the always infectious and effervescent Jennifer Cody as Minny, Irene's assistant. For each of the members of the cast making their debut on the Dennis stage, there are several who are returning to entertain on the Cape once again. In fact, James Brennan, according to Producing Artistic Director Evans Haile, has directed nine shows at the Cape Playhouse and this is his acting debut here.
Set in New York City and Yonkers just prior to the 1900s, "Hello, Dolly" encompasses the American dream--hard work and a positive attitude beget success in career, home and in love.
The show is a triumph from acting, singing and dancing to the beautifully detailed and authentic costumes and the elaborate stage design that turned a city street into a hay and feed store, a hat shop, a trolley and an upscale city restaurant--and yes, they even pulled off the famous "Hello, Dolly" staircase.
Although every dancing scene and bit of slapstick was perfectly orchestrated, the six dancing waiters were stupendous--even garnering greater applause than the pros there last week with Ballroom with A Twist.
"Hello, Dolly" is an uplifting show from start to finish and guarantees a smile with every ticket.
"Hello, Dolly" is running August 5 through August 17 at the Cape Playhouse, 820 Route 6A in Dennis, 877-385-3911. Shows are Monday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., matinees are Wednesdays and the second Thursday at 2 p.m. and the first Saturday at 3:30p.m.