FAIRLESS HILLS >> One of Broadway’s most endearing musical, “Hello Dolly!” will sing and dance its way across the stage at Pennsbury High School this weekend with humor, romance and high-energy dancing.
Based on 1938’s “The Merchant of Yonkers,” “Hello, Dolly!” premiered in 1964, with book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman.
The musical tells the story of Mrs. Dolly Levi Gallagher, a socialite-turned-matchmaker, played by senior Eva Crosson, and her latest client seeking assistance, the cantankerous "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder (senior Dan Howarth) and a young artist named Ambrose (Wesley Carty), who is in love with Horace's niece, Ermengarde (Carissa Salzano).
Dolly's scheming soon involves Horace's employees, Cornelius Hackl (senior Nic Fallacaro) and Barnaby Tucker (Connor Harkiewicz) as well as a New York hatmaker Irene Molloy (Kathryn Gilbride) and her assistant Minnie Fay (Robyn Kerachsky), as she tries to cover up her own secret romantic designs.
“‘Hello, Dolly!‘ is a classic and we are thrilled to be able to present it at Pennsbury High School,” said Matt South, PHS alumnus, Vocal Music Teacher and director of the production. “It’s just tons of fun, laughter and mayhem.”
According to South, when the show premiered in 1964 it was a light-hearted distraction to the upheaval of the 1960s with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the escalating war in Vietnam.
“How fitting, in our current climate, that it’s a nice distraction again from the world, offering the chance to have fun and to feel good,” said South.
“The audience is going to get lost in the moments of sweetness and mayhem and it will be wonderful,” continued South. “And the music is so iconic that they’ll be singing along.”
For the past seven and a half weeks, South said the cast has worked hard in developing their characters as real people and embracing them. “They’ve been working hard and it’s just been a wonderful journey.
Winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, “Hello, Dolly!” is the universally-acclaimed smash that NPR calls “the best show of the year!”, and the Los Angeles Times says “distills the mood-elevating properties of the American musical at its giddy best.”
“Hello, Dolly!” is choreographed by Trina Shumsonk, with musical direction by PHS alumnus and Vocal Music Teacher Lindsey Strauss. Rounding out the team are costume designer Robin Stelly and scenic director Terry Poulton.
The show is produced and will be conducted by PHS Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Music and Curriculum Coordinator James D. Moyer.
“Hello, Dolly!” features a score by Tony Award winner Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart. It is based on the play “The Matchmaker” by Thornton Wilder. “Dolly!” opened on Broadway in 1964 starring Carol Channing and has been revived four times with most recently Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters taking their turns as Dolly. In 1969 it was made into a movie starring Barbra Streisand.
“Hello, Dolly!” will be presented in the Pennsbury High School East Auditorium located at 705 Hood Blvd in Fairless Hills on Friday, February 7, Saturday, February 8 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, February 9 at 2:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased on Tuesday, February 4 and Wednesday, February 5 from 6-8 pm in the PHS East Auditorium Lobby. All tickets are assigned seating with prices ranging from $20 for Orchestra Level, $15 for Lower Balcony, and $10 for Upper Balcony. Discounts are available for Military Personnel and Pennsbury Gold Card holders.