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In the pantheon of American musical theater, few works match the color and joy of Hello, Dolly! Between April 22 and May 2, the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre will host the University of Miami theater department’s production of the beloved musical.
Hello, Dolly! is the final play of the 2008-2009 Ring Theatre season, which was highlighted by successful performances of Cabaret, The Winter’s Tale, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and Dog Sees God.
Hello, Dolly!, which is set in turn-of-the-century New York, is the story of vivacious matchmaker Dolly Levi Gallagher and her quest to nab a girl for the wealthy but crabby Horace Vandergelder. What ensues is a fanfare of laughs, romance and a memorable medley of songs that still dazzles audiences. The song “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” even played a significant role in the 2008 Pixar film WALL-E.
With music and lyrics by Tony Award-winning UM alum Jerry Herman, Hello, Dolly! opened at the St. James Theatre on Broadway in 1964 to rave reviews. The musical won 10 Tony Awards that year, including Best Musical. The original Broadway production ran for 2,844 consecutive performances, closing in 1970 as the longest-running musical in Broadway history up to that time.
Considering the list of awards that show has won, and that fact that they’re performing at the creator’s namesake theater, the cast and crew feel a little bit of pressure to live up to the musical’s illustrious reputation and give the Ring Theatre’s season a rousing finale.
“We always try to close [our season] with a big musical that challenges our abilities,” said Vince Cardinal, the chairman of the UM Theatre Arts Department.
No matter how great the demand may be to impress, the actors on stage and the crew directing them can count on spiritual support from the theater legend. Herman himself sent a letter to the cast and crew bestowing upon them his best wishes.
“I’d like everyone connected with Dolly to know that my heart is with you, and what a special thrill it is to have it playing in my namesake theater,” he wrote. “If you should hear a strange voice singing along with the curtain calls – it’s me from Los Angeles.”
If You Go
What: Hello, Dolly!
When: Totally Tuesday is April 28. Wednesday, April 29-Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 2 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Where: Jerry Herman Ring Theater
Cost: Ticket prices for weekdays and matinees are $8 for UM students, $16 for seniors and UM faculty, staff, and alumni, and $18 for regular admission. Friday and Saturday Nights: $10 for students, $18 for faculty, seniors, and alumni, and $22 for regular admission