In my sixth grade musical theatre class we put on our annual production combining all three middle school grades – it was a B I G deal for a twelve year old. I couldn’t tell you the name of our production, but this was over twenty years ago (um, where did that time go? i digress); the show we put on combined a prominent song from several popular broadway shows: Oklahoma, A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly, etc.
I knew nothing about any of these shows as a middle schooler, but even after all of this time, my memory remembers all of the lyrics to, “Hello. Dolly. It’s so nice to have you back where you belong…”
Tonight, I was able to attend the opening night of Hello Dolly at the Straz Center, here in Tampa. The parking garage was packed, and to be honest my sister and I thought there was something else going on tonight in Downtown Tampa. Except what was going on was opening night of Hello Dolly! As soon as the curtains rose at 7:30pm, people clapped. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get it, because I’d never seen Hello Dolly before.
“A meddlesome matchmaker (Dolly Levy) brings together the young clerk of a wealthy Yonkers merchant and his assistant with a widowed milliner and her assistant, while making sure she herself gets to marry the merchant.”
Dolly, played by Betty Buckley, is a step ahead of everyone and I found myself laughing quite a bit – more than I expected to. This broadway show has been brought back to the stage several times, and while I have nothing to compare it to, Dolly’s character was so charming and well played.
The set and the costumes, set in 1900-ish New York, were beautiful and colorful, and all around entertaining! I loved it all. I get why the parking garage was packed on opening night, and I understand why theatre-goers clapped as soon as the curtain rose tonight. Hello Dolly is a wonderful production that is a must see!
Hello Dolly plays at Straz Center until December 9th. Buy tickets here – enjoy!
*I received a pair of media tickets in exchange for promotion. All opinions are my own. Go see this show!