By Ashley Ramsey
Some shows seem to find a comfortable place in the heart of Utah theatre goers, and Hello, Dolly is no exception. Set in New York, it follows woman of all trades and matchmaker extraordinare, Dolly Ghallagher Levi. She is currently employed by Yonkers’ most famous half-millionaire, Horace Vandergelder, in finding his second wife. Dolly, herself a widow, decides that she will be the next Mrs. Vandergelder and hatches an incredible plan to make the half-millionaire ask for her hand. With the help of shop clerks, Cornelius and Barnaby, and the magic of New York City, Dolly turns Mr. Vandergelder’s world upside down so it can align with hers.
CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s latest reincarnation is carried by a solid and incredibly talented cast of performers. Aided by stunning costumes and a simply perfect set, you will find yourself gleefully swept back to the 1890’s. Delightfully paired as 33-year-old never-been-kissed shopkeeper, Cornelius Hackl (Dale Boam) and his young still having time to be kissed co-worker, Barnaby Tucker (Jordan Davis). Boam and Davis hit the stage with an energy and comedic timing that continues until the curtain drops. Romantic opposites to the energetic duo are Irene Malloy (Wendy Inkley) and Minnie Fay (Emily Wells). The two pairs shared a solid energy together that was highlighted in the number “Elegance”. It was easily one of my favorite moments of the show.
Oftentimes in musicals, a show is only as strong as its ensemble and this definitely holds true for this production. It was clear the ensemble was fully engaged and kept the show moving at a fantastic pace. The ensemble was assisted by Addison Welch’s choreography in telling the story through movement and crisp, clear diction by music director, Derek Myler. Special acknowledgement needs to be given to the male ensemble who’s execution of the iconic musical number “Hello, Dolly” was quite fantastic.
Director, Jan Smith does a wonderful job of keeping the action moving and the stage full. The steady movement and flow to her blocking seemed to be reflective of the quick and very nuanced speech patterns of the character, Dolly. The concept of the set design by Scott Van Dyke assisted in smoothly and simply keeping the action going, without leaving the audience feeling like it was lacking.
Dolly is gloriously brought to life by Melinda Cole Welch. Ms. Welch’s performance is worth the cost of a ticket all on her own. From the moment she stepped on stage, she was Dolly. This was her world and her rules. Welch’s command of dictation in Dolly’s mile a minute lines was incredible. Her vocal performance was one the most solid I have ever heard. “Before the Parade Passes By” was as strong in acting as it was in vocal performance. Thank you, Ms. Welch.
Although Hello, Dolly is naturally filled with the strange quirks and absurd falling in love of a golden age musicals, CenterPoint’s production does its best to ground it in the all too familiar concept of change and decisions. Hello, Dolly is worth an adventure up North. I promise you’ll feel back home where you belong.
It runs until September 1st. Curtain at 7:30 PM. $17.24-$24.50
CenterPoint Legacy Theater, 525 N 400 W, Centerville, UT 84014, (801) 298-1302