At The Wick Theatre, breaking with convention is part of the fun. Who wants the same old, same old, anyway?
For its production of Hello, Dolly!, the classic Broadway musical, the theater surprised audiences with a clever twist: Dolly’s spunky, tart-tongued character is played by a man.
But not just any man. Broadway veteran Lee Roy Reams, who has played dozens of leading roles in hit shows including The Producers and La Cage Aux Folles, steps into Dolly’s (high-heeled) shoes for this first-time theater event. But don’t expect a man in drag. Reams presents great range as the wheeling-dealing, tell-it-like-it-is, occasionally sensitive matchmaker in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City. And his voice—though clearly a baritone—works beautifully in beloved songs like “I Put My Hand In” and “It Takes a Woman.”
Lewis J. Stadlen, Lee Roy Reams
The story is familiar: Dolly Gallagher Levi travels to Yonkers to work her magic for “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder (Lewis J. Stadlen), who is not so easy to match up. He’s a miser and a sourpuss—not exactly every woman’s dream come true. But he’s rich and that makes him a good catch for an unwed lady.
Maybe even Dolly herself. If only her dead husband, Ephram, will give her a sign that he approves … Jewish guilt, you know.
As one might expect, there are comedic turns as Dolly tries to steer Horace away from hat shop owner Irene Molloy (Susan Powell), to whom he plans to propose. Enter Horace’s two young clerks, Cornelius Hackl (James Clow) and Barnaby Tucker (Jason Edward Cook), who try to woo Miss Molloy and her assistant, Minnie Fay (Idalmy Carcashe). You can guess where this is going. But there’s more: Dolly also tries to marry off Horace’s lovestruck niece, Ermengarde (Molly Anne Ross), to the artist Ambrose Kemper (Chris Brand).
After a tangle of events that involves a polka contest and some serious fast-talking, everything works out for all—including our lovable matchmaker. It’s all good fun, made even more so by the unlikely, but brilliant, addition of a male lead.
Hello, Dolly! plays through December 6 at The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum.