‘Hello Dolly’ is everything a musical should be
Linda Armstrong | 5/12/2017, 5:13 p.m.
It’s so nice to have “Hello Dolly” back where it belongs—on Broadway! This classic musical revival is playing at the Shubert Theatre on 44th Street and stars the marvelous Bette Midler as Dolly Levi. Midler is funny and charming in the role and completely at ease.
“Hello Dolly” is all that a Broadway musical should be. It brings elegance, class and charm to the Great White Way. The timeless songs with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman are absolutely heavenly to experience. The costumes, some of the most colorful, vibrant costumes you will find on the Broadway stage, and the set by Santo Loquasto mesmerize the audience. They remind one of what a musical is supposed to do, transport you to another time, another way of life, a simpler time, and “Hello Dolly” definitely does that. You go back to the time of the horse-drawn carriage, millinery shops and small parades. A simpler time when matchmaking was a profession and Dolly was excellent at it.
Her co-star, David Hyde Pierce, plays Horace Vandergelder, a “half-millionaire” feed store business owner in Yonkers who is looking for a wife. Pierce is delightful in the role. He’s very funny and is having a great time. His character thinks a wife is someone to cook and clean the house, and he is cheap and rigid in his old-fashioned beliefs. Midler and Pierce have a great chemistry onstage. Their interactions are quite funny to watch.
Midler and Pierce share the stage with extremely talented actors, and the entire cast is completely phenomenal to see. They have such a passion with their delivery that you simply can’t help but enjoy the performances, whether by the lead actors or the ensemble members. Kate Baldwin plays Irene Molloy, the woman Vandergelder is to marry. She is a dream in the role. Her singing voice is a joy to experience. Gavin Creel is delightful in the role of Cornelius Hack, a 33-year-old clerk in Vandergelder’s store who decides to go to New York City and kiss a girl. Their performances bring a gentle sense of romance to Broadway. Taylor Trensch is amusing as 17-year-old Barnaby Tucker, who also works for Vandergelder and has also come to New York City to kiss a girl. Beanie Feldstein plays Minnie Faye, who works in Irene’s hat shop and is the girl who catches Tucker’s eye.
There are several stupendous, show-stopping songs, including “It Takes a Woman,” “Sunday Best” and, without question, “Hello Dolly.” “It Takes a Woman” is a very funny song, during which Horace is joined by several male cast members who just show up out of nowhere. “Sunday Best” is brilliant and displays some of the most vibrant, ravishing and elegant costumes you will see in a Broadway musical. And “Hello Dolly” is without a doubt one of the most memorable numbers you will see. It’s not just about the phenomenal, harmonizing voices of the cast, it’s about Midler’s charm as she dances around the stage and seems to soak up the admiration of these delightful old friends.
The book by Michael Stewart, combined with the great songs of Herman, take you on a wondrous journey. The choreography by Warren Carlyle is stunning to experience. Jerry Zaks’ direction is flawless!
You need to be back where you belong, in the audience of “Hello Dolly!”
For more information, visit www.hellodollyonbroadway.com.