Wagner College Theatre opens its 2014-15 season with one of America’s great musicals, “Hello, Dolly!” from Oct. 1 through 12. The production is directed and choreographed by Norb Joerder (WCT’s “Little Women”) with musical direction by James Higgins (WCT’s “The Drowsy Chaperone”).
“Hello, Dolly!” brings to life the story of Dolly Levi and celebrates the search for love. The cantankerous half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder hires matchmaker Dolly Levi to find him a wife. Dolly soon hatches a plan to woo and win Vandergelder’s hand herself, while simultaneously arranging romantic prospects for his niece, his clerks and two of Manhattan’s most eligible shop girls.
“Hello, Dolly!” is based on Thornton Wilder’s 1955 comedy, “The Matchmaker,” and features a book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. “Dolly!” is packed with memorable songs, including “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” “It Only Takes a Moment” and the title song, “Hello, Dolly!”
Wagner College Theatre’s production boasts a cast of 26 featuring Allie Luecke as Dolly Gallagher Levi, Jordan Bunshaft as Horace Vandergelder, Joe O’Malley as Cornelius Hackl, Jonathan Quigley as Barnaby, Danielle James as Irene Molloy, VyVy Tran as Minnie Fay, Alec Reiss as Ambrose Kemper, Daniela Sottile as Ermengarde and Melissa Silano as Ernestina. The ensemble includes Nicole Amato, Zac Berteletti, Addi Berry, Dana Gough, Greg Ippolito (Rudolph), Stephen Kallas, Darnell Kenney, Ryann Lillis, Jake Tyler Marks, Jeff Mills, Julia Paladino, Jason Rath, Tyler Roberts, Maria Salerno, Mari Skoultchi, Kelly Swint and Megan Viglione.
The design team includes Phill Hickox (sets), Vicki Neal (lights), Kurt Alger (costumes), Richard Kroth (sound) and Emilia Martin (wig design). Christopher Luner is production stage manager.
Winner of 10 Tony Awards, “Hello, Dolly!” was one of the longest-running musicals of the 1960s. Produced by David Merrick with direction and choreography by Gower Champion, the show opened at Broadway’s St. James Theatre January 16, 1964, beginning a record-breaking 6½-year run. “Dolly!” was one of the first musicals to use star casting to help keep the show running — Ginger Rogers, Betty Grable, Martha Raye, Phyllis Diller, Pearl Bailey and Ethel Merman all played the title character. The show has become one of the most enduring hits of the American musical theater, enjoying three Broadway revivals and international success. Gene Kelly directed the 1969 film starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau that was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Wagner College Theatre previously presented “Hello, Dolly!” in 1994, featuring Kathy Brier, Charlie Siedenburg, James Patric Moran, Timothy Quinlan, Kathy Kendall, Elizabeth FitzGibbon and Robyn Ruehl.
Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. and a Sunday, Oct. 12 matinee at 2 p.m. The Wagner College Theatre box office in Main Hall can be contacted at (718) 390-3259 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 12 to 4 p.m. Single tickets are on sale now for “Hello, Dolly!,” with price ranges for children, senior and adult tickets. Wagner College students attend free with current ID.
Next on the Wagner College Main Stage is Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical, “Merrily We Roll Along” (Nov. 12-23), directed by Tony Award winner Michele Pawk.