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ALT delivers “Hello, Dolly!” performance full of laughter, charm

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
The Ardmore Little Theatre's cast for "Hello, Dolly!" joins together for a picture.

Well hello, Ardmore Little Theatre! Featuring a total cast of 35 performers, the theatre’s rendition of the Broadway hit and three-time Oscar winning movie, “Hello, Dolly!” brings the show to life in Ardmore with a strong hint of charm and large amounts of color and energy.

Rolling across the stage riding a cart full of luggage, ALT veteran Lisa Riggle delivers a must-see performance as Dolly Gallagher Levi, capturing the character’s witty intellect and charming personality with the raise of her eyebrow and the inflection of her voice.

“Some people paint… I meddle,” Dolly explains, encapsulating her role as a well-known match maker who is now hoping to marry half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder (Daniel Oyler) for his money after being widowed.

Oyler plays Vandergelder as Dolly’s counterpart, whereas he is known to be slightly frigid and not well liked. He is however, looking for a wife and Dolly doesn’t mind meddling in his love life, later setting him up with two women who she is believes are not well suited for him.

Vandergelder employs two young men, Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, played by Nathanael Durbin and Josh Armstrong at his feed store. The two actors make a great duo as they look for love with some hilarious shenanigans along the way.

After a few introductions, the characters all meet up with each other in New York when Cornelius and Barnaby stumble into a hat-shop owned by Mrs. Irene Malloy (Julie Clemens), with Minnie Fay (Zowie McReynolds) as her employee.

Mrs. Malloy, also a widow, tells the audience of her longing for love through song and Clemens truly belts out some beautiful notes during the musical number.

Vandergelder expects to meet his match in Mrs. Malloy, but comes to a rather rude awakening when he finds that the “whole room is crawling with men,” as Dolly puts it upon discovery that Cornelius and Barnaby are there.

With choreography by Kelsey Newell Armstrong, the characters engage in a few dance numbers before going out on the town, which will at first have you laughing from the intentionally awkward steps and, before you know it, have you enchanted with their grace .

While the musical numbers throughout the show are outstanding-- accompanied by a live 16-member orchestra under Dr. David Hobb’s musical direction-- Riggle shines when she takes the stage to deliver a well-known tune from the show, “Before the Parade Passes By.”

The musical number goes from a solo act to a group ensemble full of life and color— emanating one of the most spectacular aspects of the show.

After all the excitement, the laughter and charm of the show still prevail as the characters all sit down for a meal at the fanciest restaurant in town, with some of the goofiest waiters around. Dolly’s long planned out scheme finally comes to fruition and as an audience member, you’ll be excited to see how it all turns out.

Other well-known songs such as “It Only Takes a Moment” and “So Long Dearie” are beautifully executed in the second half of the show, as well— with a final reprise that is sure to have you singing on the car ride home.

Directed by Ardmore resident Joan Rushing Dewees, the local community theatre has truly come together for a wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable show once more.

The show runs about two and a half hours, with a short intermission. All performances will be held at the Goddard Center, located at 401 First Ave. SW.

Performances will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Feb. 20 to 22 and 27 to 29, with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.

Adult tickets are $15 and student tickets are $8. Reservations can be made online at the Ardmore Little Theatre website, in person at the ALT office in the Goddard Center or by phone at 580-223-6387.