Saturday, July 16, 2016-It was a bittersweet affair as I attended the opening of 3-D Theatricals “Hello, Dolly!” and bid adieu to the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton, CA at the same time. As many of you know the highly anticipated 2016-2017 season which includes “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Once on This Island,” “Oklahoma” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot” will be housed at The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts starting in October.
Based on the play “The Matchmaker” by Thornton Wilder, “Hello, Dolly!” is the story of a marriage broker named Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi (Valerie Perri), who is finally ready to find love herself and sets sights on the widowed (and eligible) town merchant, Horace Vandergelder (Robert Yacko).
I’ll be quite honest. I didn’t have much to compare this stage production to except the 1969 musical comedy starring Barbra Streisand and the late Walter Matthou. It comes as no surprise that 3-D Theatricals brought new life to this classic story and delivered yet another phenomenal show led by an exceptional cast of performers and musicians.
Valerie Perri came out in full force as New York’s most notable matchmaker (and a plethora of other trades). And did I mention she can carry a tune as effortlessly as her predecessors, Babs and Carol Channing to boot? Also, most impressive was Perri’s ability to memorize and successfully convey an immense amount of dialogue her fast-talking character delivers scene after scene. I can only imagine the script resembling the size of an old phone book. Bravo!
Horace Vandergelder, the unbeknownst future husband of Mrs. Levi was played superbly by Robert Yacko. Yacko had no easy feat balancing his characters hot-tempered demeanor with just the right touch of magnetism to make the connection with the audience. Yacko accomplished that indeed.
Certainly not to be overlooked were some familiar faces from the 3DT family, each whom performed brilliantly and captured my attention with their voices, comedic presence and star quality throughout Saturday nights performance. They include: Afton Quast (Irene Molloy), Grace Yoo (Minnie Fay), Chris Villain (Barnaby Tucker) and scene-stealer, Bonnie Kovar (Ernestina).
Undoubtedly, another star of the production were the costumes and original Broadway headdresses adorned by Perri (Can we talk about her red getup?) Some of the men’s costuming missed the mark and didn’t necessarily read “turn-of-the-century” but nonetheless, the women’s garb made up plenty for it. The set designs by John Iacovelli transported the audiences back to the late 1800’s and was particularly lavish when we entered the Harmonia Gardens to witness the spectacle of what was waiting inside for us.
The beauty of this production is that in-between the iconic music and lyrics by Jerry Herman (“It Takes a Woman,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” and “Before The Parade Passes By” to name a few) was a fundamentally rich storyline, which showcased many heartfelt scenes including the moment Dolly asks her late husband, Ephraim to let her go so she can finally be happy. **Tears**
Sadly, I did feel the stage at the Plummer Auditorium couldn’t handle some of the larger musical numbers. Certain dance sequences appeared a bit clumsy, but at no fault of the performers. Even scaled down it didn’t take away from the production value though.
This is one of your last opportunities to catch Hello, Dolly before it heads back to Broadway next year. Don’t let this parade pass you by! Tickets are available by calling (714) 589-2770 or online at PLUMMER AUDITORIUM. Ticket prices start at $25.
A special thank you to everyone at the Plummer Auditorium for not only the great memories over the years but also your amazing team, who welcomed us to your wonderful theater. You will be missed!