Hello, Dolly! Shines on the HMHS Stage!

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Photo Credit: Playbill.com

Kathryn Ward and Katie VanArnam, Staff Writers

“Holy Cabooses!” It’s that time of year and the musical is just around the corner. Join us on a trip to 1890s New York City! This year’s upcoming performance is one of Broadway’s greatest musicals, Hello, Dolly!, a classic and comedic musical. The show follows a widowed matchmaker, Dolly Gallagher Levi on a journey to find love for herself. Dolly travels to Yonkers, New York to find the perfect second wife for the miserable and wealthy Horace Vandergelder. Dispersed throughout are the storylines of many other characters Dolly has set up trying to find love on the streets of New York City. The exciting music and dance numbers are a sure way to win the audience over and will keep you singing for weeks to come.  

Rehearsals for the anticipated musical are going strong. The cast and crew of Hello Dolly! have been hard at work for opening night. Whether it’s after school, early morning rehearsals or even late-night set building, the entire cast is elated to perform a classic and beloved piece of theater. 

The cherished and strong-willed character, Dolly Levi, will be played by HMHS junior, Katrina Edwards. Edwards elaborates on the progression of the show, “The rehearsal process has been really amazing! Studying the script and learning about who Dolly is has been so much fun and overall really rewarding. Also, the cast is so tight-knit, so every rehearsal has been so much fun, it’s just like hanging out with your best friends. I’ve learned so much about how to sing and what it’s like to develop a character, so it’s been such a learning experience for me!” 

“It was very different than what I expected,” said ensemble member Joseph Keegan. “Having a whole room dedicated to dance and learning choreography made the experience much more magical. I am so happy about how this amazing show is turning out! People need to come see the show because there is a part for everyone to relate to, and the final outcome will turn out amazing and the audience will be 100% involved!” 

Senior Will Tully plays Corneilus Hackel. Tully even started a vlog series on Youtube following the cast and crew, which features interviews, backstage tours and rehearsal clips from the show. The series really gives an outsider’s point of view on what it’s really like to be part of an HMHS production. 

Like the rest of the cast, Edwards encourages everyone to come to see the show: “It is such an important story, clearly it is fun to see just because it’s this big, classic, splashy musical, but it’s also much more than that. The story of Hello, Dolly! teaches us that everyone is deserving of love and happiness no matter what and that sometimes we must experience some new adventures in order to get that. It’s really just a lesson on how to live the best life that will be the most fulfilling to you, which I think is really special! I hope the audience will see that everyone experiences similar obstacles in life and that the only way to overcome challenges is to develop a human connection. Also that everyone is worthy of love and adventure because that is the most important part of living a fulfilled life.”

The hard work of the set designer, crew, directors, and choreographers have brought the show to life. Mr. Schindel, the set designer, has worked very hard to transport the audience back to the New York City of 1890. The cast and crew have been at the school every weekend to help construct and create the scenery. The crew, along with building the set, have had to learn the workings of the lights, sound, props, and set movement. Sophomore Faith Ali explains her role as head of the lighting crew, “I control the lights in the auditorium and I program set cues. Having to quickly learn everything and adapt to changes has been pretty difficult, but we make it work. Mr. DiDinato has been great and helps me with everything. It’s fun!” Along with the lighting, stagehands have been working incredibly hard. Tara Casale, a sophmore, elaborates on the process of tech week,“I am the deck captain for stage left. I give curtain cues and make sure people move stuff when they are supposed to. During tech week, there is one long day of trying to learn everything at once and hoping you don’t forget it the next day. You have to take a lot of notes and make sure everybody is doing what they are supposed to. It’s a lot of fun!” 

The show would also not be possible without the help of Mr. DiDonato, Mr. Mills, Mrs. DeRossi, and Mr. Janney. Mr. Mills is the musical director and has been tirelessly working to conduct the vocal portion of the musical. He, along with the entire cast, have been in the choir room every Saturday morning to work on the vocals.  Mr. Janney, director of the pit and musicians, has quickly trained the pit and adapted in order to accommodate the movement of the show. Ms. Leanne is in the pit for the performance and is the production pianist. She and Mr. Janney have been working tirelessly. The live music of the show adds a flare that would not otherwise be present. 

Along with the musical aspect of the show, Dance teacher Mrs. DeRossi has been choreographing and perfecting the dances of Hello, Dolly! She has done a wonderful job choreographing and instructing, making sure the entire cast is ready for the performance. Stage Manager Evie Ellis, a junior, has been doing amazing work as she helps actors with line notes, set building, and nearly everything else! Lastly, the show would not be possible without Mr. DiDonato, the director of the show. He has worked to instruct acting as well as dancing and singing. He is able to perfect every detail and make sure the production is seamless and incredible. 

The show is advancing quickly, so buy your tickets soon! Performances will be on March 6th, 7th, 13th, and 14th at 7:30 pm and the 8th at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors, and $12 for adults. They are available on the night of the show as well as in the link below: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/hmhs-drama-club-29664007621. The drama club is exhilarated to perform the musical for everyone and encourages you to come to watch the amazing experience!