This year marks the 50th anniversary of the famed musical, Hello, Dolly!, and the school, which also turned 50, joins the celebration this spring with its production of the musical. Senior Sadie Carr stars as Dolly Levi, a widowed, brazen matchmaker well-known for her “meddlings” in the affairs of men and women.
“There’s a lot of audience involvement, and I love that,” director Melanie Ankney said. “It’s energetic and quick-paced; the music is fun and memorable, as well.”
Dolly attempts to find a wife for wealthy grump Horace Vandergelder, played by junior Brice Ternois —all while subtly hoping to catch him for herself. Vandergelder’s young niece, Ermengarde (junior Baylee Alerding), along with his clerks, Cornelius Hackl (senior Thomas Hooker) and Barnaby Tucker (freshman Ben Sampson), also gets mixed up in the matchmaking.
“I like Dolly; she’s very mischievous,” said Carr. “She has a big personality, so she’s a lot a fun to play. Also, I like that there’s a lot of singing, as opposed to its being a dance-heavy show.”
Because of the renovations to the science and music wings, the musical must be held a month earlier than the show usually opens, and the cast and crew must use the new building for rehearsal space. The old green room and dressing rooms are also unavailable because of renovations.
“Our temporary green room is the student lounge in the new building,” Ankney said. “Bob Rankin does all of the technical work for the show; I would call him a technical genius. He’s wiring the student lounge so that they can hear what’s going on, because there’s no room backstage.”
The show has a new choreographer, Kim Bosch van Drakenstein, who adds a vital spark to dance rehearsals, according to Ankney.
“She has a very strong background in ballroom dancing,” Ankney said. “She’s just delightful. People are enjoying working with her.”
As with other shows, Hello, Dolly! has an army of student leaders who aid Ankney in production: senior Emma Nobile leads the orchestra pit, senior Courtney Rice is the dance captain, and Carr, with senior Thomas Hooker, are vocal captains. Hooker is also the show’s assistant director, and his duties have expanded this year to include directing the ensemble.
“In a musical, there’s often the feeling that the principal characters are more important,” Hooker said. “I’m trying to help them understand how important the ensemble is to the show. The ensemble also has a lot of people who are new to theater. I want to make sure they leave this show wanting to do more theater.”
Hooker rounds out his participation in the musical as an actor; he plays Cornelius Hackl, one of two clerks in Horace’s profitable mill.
“It’s difficult to play him because he is 33 years old, yet he’s very naïve,” Hooker said. “But he’s a fun character to play because he’s so inexperienced – he’s never been with a woman.”
Hello, Dolly! premiers on April 11 at 7 p.m. Successive shows are on April 12, 19, and 20 at 7 p.m., and April 20 at 1 p.m. Tickets cost $12, and $10 for students and senior citizens.