By McKenna MIDDLETON
This weekend, community members are invited to say “hello” to the Crescenta Valley High School Theater Arts Dept. as they present this year’s spring musical. “Hello, Dolly!” which will open at the McDonald Auditorium at CVHS on Friday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. The show is directed and choreographed by Broadway actress Kay Cole, who has worked with the cast for the past few months in making her vision of “Hello, Dolly” a reality.
“My style is finding what makes [an actor] special and celebrating that so it’s a personal experience. This production will never be done like this again because we will never have this group of actors ever again,” Cole said.
“Hello, Dolly!” is the story of Dolly Levi, a matchmaker from New York. The musical takes place around 1912 as Dolly travels around New York searching for love and happiness for those around her. The cast members describe it as a story of unexpected love. The CVHS performance will showcase the talent of the cast and feature intricate sets, and a full orchestra composed of the Crescenta Valley High School Instrumental Music Dept.
“We wanted to do a large musical to use the most performers possible. We chose one that was happy and celebrated love and friendship,” Cole said. “I personally knew we didn’t have ‘dancers’ per se, so I wanted to inspire this group to be character-driven in a song, both vocally and physically.”
The role of Dolly will be played by CVHS junior Samantha Abelson. She has led a cast of 23 students through time-consuming rehearsals for the past few months to reach the level of perfection that will be displayed for the public on opening night.
“[This role] is a really big opportunity to show all the things I’ve been working on in the drama department for the past few years and it’s just a really fun musical,” Abelson said. “We have worked so hard the past few months and every single person, whether cast or crew, has put everything they have into this show.”
The play has a long and respected history. “Hello, Dolly” is a book by Michael Stewart. The play is based on a Thornton Wilder play titled, “The Matchmaker” with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. It first opened at the St. James Theatre in New York on Jan. 16, 1964 and closed after 2,844 performances on Dec. 27, 1970.
On Broadway the lead role of Dolly Levi was first portrayed by Carol Channing and directed by Gower Champion. The film version starred Barbara Streisand as Dolly and directed by Gene Kelly in 1969.
In addition to the 7 p.m. shows on Feb. 20, Feb. 21, Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 and the 2 p.m. show on Feb. 22, the cast will perform for local elementary schools during the day. For the past two Saturdays, local elementary school students have come to CVHS to participate in a program called, “Hello, Dolly!” Junior, in which “Hello, Dolly!” cast members pair up with the kids to teach them a number from the show. The elementary school students will be performing during intermission at the Feb. 21 and Feb. 28 shows.
Tickets are $10 for the student balcony, $15 for general admission, and $20 for reserved front orchestra.
The cast and crew of “Hello, Dolly!” encourages the public to enjoy their rendition of the show and witness the months of hard work and preparation pay off in applause.