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Theatre Review—‘Hello, Dolly­!’–An Immensely Enjoyable Pantages Romp With Betty Buckley

Betty Buckley and ensemble in "Hello, Dolly!" Photo by Julieta Cervantes
Lewis J. Stadlen, center, as Horace Vandergelder in "Hello, Dolly!" Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Posted Friday, February 8, 2019 - 4:18 pm

By Chelea Cutler

Tony-winner and New York Magazine-proclaimed “Voice of Broadway”­–Betty Buckley has returned to the Pantages’ stage as Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly! This truly legendary star knows just how to carry an audience and make her character–oh so lovable and immensely enjoyable, thereby totally captivating her audience.

Hello, Dolly! is a treat for the ears and eyes as the Victorian era is brought to life by vivid colors from the sets, costumes, and James Lapine’s eye-for-detail direction. The voices of the magnificently capable dancers are equally brilliant. Everything about this feel-good production was almost pitch perfect.

Horace Vandergelder (played by Lewis J. Stadlen), was shorter than I remember. I guess that was because I was only privy to the big screen version of Hello, Dolly!, and not everyone can compare to the stately and vertically gifted Walter Matthau, who portrayed Vandergelder opposite Barbra Streisand.  Stadlen’s lines didn’t roll off the tongue as simply, easily and forgivably cantankerous as his character is meant to be, and it all landed on the harsh side of the comedy spectrum. In the second act, however, he warmed up and settled in, receiving genuine hardy laughs from the audience.

Nic Rouleau and Jess LeProtto (who inhabited the roles of Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker respectively), were a fantastic team and perfectly balanced by the wonderful Analisa Leaming (depicting Irene Molloy) and adorably entertaining Kirsten Hahn (who interpreted the role of Minnie Fay).

This is a delightful production and will leave you with a long, uplifting glow and in awe of the talent and enormously successful effort by those on stage.

Go see the show. It is highly recommended.

3-1/2 bagels out of 4

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