HELLO DOLLY! (touring): 60-second review

They sure don’t write them like this anymore. 

Hello, Dolly! Is a big old-timey musical, and this revival, winner of four Tonys, is currently entertaining the enormous audiences at the Academy of Music in the grand old style. If the cast lacks some of the charm of previous productions, it makes up for it with Santo Loquasto’s sensational sets—the horse! the train!— and his costumes—the gowns! the tuxedos!—in every gaudy shade. 

The singing—the vibrato!—of the old familiar songs from way-back-when gives us Jerry Herman’s music and lyrics: “Before the Parade Passes By” and “So Long Dearie” are my favorites. 

Based on Thornton Wilder’s play, The Matchmaker, the plot follows the widow Mrs. Dolly Levi (Carolee Carmello) through her arranging of several marriges— including and especially her own to Horace Vandergelder (John Bolton), a rich, grumpy storekeeper. After lots of slapstick schtick Involving Irene Molly (Analisa Leaming) and her hat shop, Act Two takes us to the Big Production Number we were waiting for: title song, “Hello,Dolly” in the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant and her famous descent down the staircase in her red gown. But most fun is “The Waiters’ Galop,” that shows off the astonishing talents of these dancers—the leaping! the precision!; it’s the highlight of the evening and makes Hello,Dolly! the chorus’ show.

[National tour at the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street] February 19-March 1, 2020; kimmelcenter.org

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