KLEA BLACKHURST WITH ADMIRING WAITERS, PHOTO BY DIANE SOBOLEWSKI
Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi is a woman of considerable talents and
infinite skills, from providing social introductions to reducing those
pesky varicose veins, teaching guitar, poker or dancing, reboning
corsets or offering short distance hauling. Her primary
claim to fame, however, is as a matchmaker. Think Yenta from "Fiddler
on the Roof," but with more polish and personality. To make the
acquaintance of the captivating Mrs. Levy, sashay over to the Goodspeed
Musicals in East Haddam and say "Hello, Dolly!"
Until Saturday, September 14, this charming musical with book by Michael
Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, based on the play "The
Matchmaker" by Thornton Wilder, will grace the Goodspeed Stage.
Klea Blackhurst's Dolly is delightful and is a clever and calculating
lady, but in the nicest way possible, one who excels in arranging
things. At the moment, she is on her way to Yonkers, New York to handle
the delicate matrimonial desires of one Horace Vandergelder
(Tony Sheldon), the famous half a millionaire. He runs a successful
feed and grain store and worships money, but since his wife died he is
lonely. As he sings "It Takes a Woman," with his clerks Cornelius
(Spencer Moses) and Barnaby (Jeremy Morse), one wonders
if he truly wants a loving wife or a capable housekeeper.
Dolly has set her sights on Horace as a suitable match for herself,
although he has no knowledge of her plan. She just needs a sign from
her late husband Efraim that he approves. While Dolly is occupied
handling Horace, she is also busy making sure Horace's
niece Ermengarde (Brooke Shapiro) finds happiness in the arms of her
suitor Ambrose (Charles MacEachern). She also manages to tie ribbons
of romance around Cornelius and the suitable milliner Irene (Ashley
Brown) as well as for Barnaby and the cute as a
button Minnie (Catherine Blades).
The scene in the Harmonia Gardens when a staff of skillful waiters
headed by Rudolph (Jack Doyle) go through their polished paces like a
well trained military corps is a delight. How Dolly "arranges"
everything and everyone to perfection is a joy to behold.
With a colorful parade of costumes by Wade Laboissonniere, on a
versatile set by Adrian W. Jones, the smooth direction of Daniel
Goldstein matches beautifully with the fancy footwork choreography of
Kelli Barclay. Songs like "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," "Ribbons
Down My Back," "Before the Parade Passes By," "It Only Takes a Moment"
and the title tune are a deliicious to see and hear.
For tickets ($27 and up), call Goodspeed Musicals, on the Connecticut River, East Haddam at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at
7:30 p.m. and select 3 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with select 6:30 p.m.
Let the versatile Mrs. Levi arrange a thoroughly captivating afternoon
or evening of entertainment for you. You'll be singing her praises "wow
wow wow" because it's so nice to have her right where she belongs.