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‘Hello, Dolly’ at CTL

Community Theatre brings classic play to stage for 1st time

June 10, 2012
By DANA BORICK , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

It will only take a moment for audience members to fall in love with "Hello, Dolly!"

The Community Theatre League, 100 W. Third St., will host this musical for the first time this month.

"Hello, Dolly!" is directed by Jason Moyer, a veteran of the CTL stage.

"This is one of the few 'golden age of Broadway' shows that we've never done before, and we're excited to do it now," Moyer said.

The musical is about Dolly Levi, a New York-based matchmaker who merrily arranges things, like furniture and daffodils and lives.

A widow, she has found herself in love with a Yonkers merchant named Horace Vandergelder.

So she proceeds to weave a web of romantic complications involving him, his two clerks, a pretty milliner and her assistant.

"Hello, Dolly!" was first produced on Broadway in 1964, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical and nine other Tonys. It has become one of the most enduring musicals, with three Broadway revivals and countless community performances.

The cast is comprised of Marisa Hickey as Dolly Levi; Tom Degan as Cornelius Hackl; Caleb Albert as Barnaby Tucker; Brittany Wheeland as Minnie Fay; Greg Keefer as Horace Vandergelder; and newcomer Sharon Ippolito as Irene Molloy.

The cast includes several veteran actors, including Hickey, who also has directed several CTL performances. Albert is a senior at Montoursville Area High School and Keefer is returning to the stage after several years, Moyer said.

"There are 25 cast members in total and a lot of wonderful dancing in this show," Moyer said. "We have three choreographers working on the show, and some amazing, amazing costumes from this great period in the late 1800s."

Moyer said the group started rehearsing at the beginning of April, right after Easter.

"With all the songs and dances in the show, and all the elaborate costumes for the show, we needed to allow lots of time to prepare," he said.

This is Moyer's seventh show as director at CTL; he previously directed three musicals and four plays.

"They vary so widely, it's hard to choose, but probably 'Leading Ladies' was a favorite play and I love 'Hello, Dolly!' as well as the 'Honky Tonk Angels' musicals I directed several years ago," Moyer said.

Moyer said the audience should be prepared for a fun time.

"It isn't a deep, meaningful plot. It is a refreshing step back to a time when life seemed so much simpler. The combination of catchy songs, dances and colorful, elaborate costumes and hats, hats, hats just make this a delight for the audience to watch," Moyer said. "I would hope they will come and escape from today's world and just smile and enjoy a few hours of theatrical diversion at its best."

Moyer said his favorite song in the production is "Before The Parade Passes By," which is about seizing the moment and living life to the fullest while you can.

"It's such a simple message that we all forget so easily as time flies by. Dolly sings, 'Before the parade passes by, I'm going to put some life back into my life!' Every day is a gift," he said.

Moyer said it is important for people to get involved with community productions because the CTL provides a unique outlet for creative people and affordable way for the public to be entertained.

"Williamsport is blessed to have an amazing amount of talent and culture in an area this size," he said.

"There are so many ways that people can get involved in an organization like this. We are always looking for people who can help with sets, costumes, the box office, the maintenance of the facility - everyone can find something they could do to be a part of the great art that is created at CTL."

Moyer hopes the audience will feel "refreshed and de-stressed from the time they've spent in Dolly's fun world."

"A musical this size is such a massive group effort. The cast gets the visibility, but the behind-the-scenes crew is another whole cast unto itself - our unsung heros," he said. "I hope everyone will really take a moment at the show to look at that list of vital names of volunteers who help make all the magic happen, and if they feel they want to be a part of it as well in the future, that's even better."

"Hello, Dolly!" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. June 15, 16, 21 to 23 and at 2 p.m. June 24. The music is directed by Jacquie Engel and Jared Gist.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students.

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