Dan Heary From the Front Row, Hello Dolly!

July 9, 2013


50th_Banner_Goodspeed_Opera_House_by_the_CT_River_Robert_Benson_crop-1Well “Hello Dolly” and The Goodspeed Opera House.  

Many have been to “off Broadway and summer stock” from the Cape to Maine, but nestled away on the Connecticut river in East Haddam is New England at its best.
      Many Tony nominees and winners are performing in this Michael Stewart book that put Carol Channing and her staff in the winners circle back in 64′.  Kudos to the direction of Daniel Goldstein and the production staff, especially choreographer Kelly Barclay who had to work with a stage 29′x21′with as many as 19 actors dancing at one time weaving in step perfectly on two floors.
     Now “Dolly Levi” is portrayed superbly by veteran actor Klea Blackhurst who is stellar and more as she becomes a matchmaker for others and herself heading to Yonker’s .  This mostly evolves around Horace Vandergelder [award nominee Tony Sheldon] who appears as a miser and mean spirited selfish old man-”half a millionaire”.  Well, Dolly Levi rounds up Horace’s niece and two store clerks and heads for the city [with herself in mind] to find LOVE.
     One of the city gals Irene Malloy [Ashley Brown], who played Mary Poppins for two years on Broadway would have had Carrie Underwood finish 2nd on “Idol” in 2005.  This woman can flat out sing and brought the house down with ovations, as she sang to her love of new Cornelius Hackl [Spencer Moses] who also sang “It Only Takes A Moment”.  Minnie Fay and Jeremy Morse also perform nicely as the friends of Cornelius and Irene who take them under their wings before the Yonkers trip and gave them confidence in stepping out and having courage.
    In brief Blackhurst [Dolly] takes control of the 400 seat cozy room walking down the aisle chatting away as your story starts.  What this writer found unique was  the eye contact and timing.  I was in Dolly’s living room listening to how she was going to get herself a semi rich meanie and make him common folk.  Mission accomplished.   Hats off to all the pieces that made this a superb show [I know I left some names out].
   The Goodspeed has a beautiful outdoor balcony, beverage bar, and very clean with ample parking.  Tix-860-873-8664 [ Some knowledge from Broadway.com]–I viewed this fine form of entertainment as a “preview”.  The show runs until September 14th.
Trivia: Who was Channing’s Horace in 1964 ?
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[Charles Nelson Reilly]
From The Front Row