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Musical Review: Hello, Dolly!

As you all should know by this point, I love musicals (and stating the obvious). However, after seeing a number of different shows, I have to say, I am more drawn to modern musicals like Hamilton and Come From Away. Despite that though, Hello, Dolly did not disappoint. 

Marquee at the Providence Preforming Arts Center before Hello, Dolly touring performanceI was a little skeptical going into the show, since I didn't know much about it. For those of you who also don’t know, the show is about a widowed woman, Dolly Levi, who is a matchmaker in the late 1880s/early 1890s. Her latest clients are “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder and a young artist Ambrose, who is in love with Horace’s niece, Ermengarde. In an attempt to cover her own schemes of romance, Dolly sweeps Horace’s employees into the mix, in addition to a hatmaker in New York. The story then follows all of their endeavors. 

The show opens with an overture, followed by the ensemble singing "Call On Dolly." After that, I was hooked. From the colors to the vibrancy of the set, I couldn't look away. As Dolly entered the set in a “horse” (two cast members dancing across the stage in a majestic and hilarious manner) and buggy, she stole the spotlight and carried the rest of the show. Out of the gate Carolee Carmello, the actress playing Dolly in the company I saw, was fantastic.  From the way her voice sounded to the way she commanded the stage, she kept the crowd engaged for the entire show.

Hello, Dolly! Show handoutOne thing I didn’t expect was how funny this show was going to be. Even in the moments where I feared that second-hand embarrassment would overtake me, the show’s ability to build and break this tension was both impressive and anxiety-inducing (in the best way).  I truly enjoyed every moment and laughed harder than I have at a show in a long time (but to be fair, the last show I saw was Fiddler on the Roof—which is NOT a laughing matter). 

I could rave about the music and acting all day, but I want to also pay tribute to the actors’ other skills. The ability to move and dance at such high energy for the entire show was remarkable, and the dynamic relationships between the characters were always full of energy. A very special shout out to the waiters in the second act for one of the most impressive dance numbers I have ever seen—running across the stage in every direction, weaving between each other, and providing the perfect amount of chaos to the scene. 

Crowded TheaterAdditionally, the set design as I mentioned before is worth noting. Between the careful construction of Horace’s store, to the beautiful staircase in the restaurant, everything was precisely perfect for what was about to happen in the scene. Hand-in-hand with the set design was the costuming of the cast. The bright colors popped on the stage and created a visually appealing color scheme of bright, loud greens, purples, and yellows. Only to then set apart the show's most famous number, “Hello, Dolly!” in the second act with deep reds. Every color spoke to its scene in every way imaginable. 

Overall, I would absolutely recommend seeing this show, as it is one of the best I’ve seen to date. I can also say that it is hands down the best classic show I have seen as well. So what are you waiting for? Put On Your Sunday Clothes Before The Parade Passes By and get your tickets today.