Submitted by Tad Heitmann:
Laguna Beach High School's Park Avenue Players will kick off a seven-performance run of the smash Broadway extravaganza HELLO, DOLLY! when the curtain rises on their lavish production on Friday, March 15, at 7:30 PM, on the Artists Theatre stage.
With a cast of more than 30 performers, HELLO, DOLLY! will be a rare treat of sound and color for the whole family.
HELLO, DOLLY! takes us back to turn-of-the-century New York, where the vivacious and brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi is the center of her own social network, having established herself as a professional "meddler." Long before Facebook and Match.com, Dolly finds lonely singles their perfect partners, often overcoming conventions such as wealth and status to let true love flower.
Of course, Dolly, a widow herself, has her own plans for happiness. The result is a joyful celebration of favorite songs, vibrant dance, and colorful characters that connects the audience to the exuberance and optimism of a bygone era.
"Calling HELLO, DOLLY! a musical comedy doesn't begin to do it justice. Visually and musically, it is a really monumental show, a Broadway spectacular in every sense of the word," said director and LBHS drama teacher Mark Dressler.
"The Park Avenue Players have not only brought a period piece to life in lavish costumes and big production numbers, but they've also learned to manage some of the largest, most complex sets and set changes we've ever had on the Artists Theater stage. Dolly Gallagher Levi is a larger than life character with a big heart - and so is the theatrical classic that bears her name."
Because of its high production values and grand scale, HELLO, DOLLY! is rarely presented by theater companies, and even less frequently by high schools. The history of the show also looms large over any revival. HELLO, DOLLY! originally opened on Broadway in 1964, receiving rave reviews and attracting sell-out crowds. It received 11 Tony nominations and won 10 awards, including Best Musical. It went on to break box office records with a run of 2,844 performances. A succession of beloved American actresses have played Dolly, including Carol Channing (who made Dolly her signature role), Pearl Bailey, and Ethel Merman on Broadway, and Barbara Streisand on the screen.
"Dolly is such an iconic Broadway role, but each of the great actresses who brought her to life did it so differently," said LBHS Senior Haley Castuera, who felt challenged to develop her own interpretation of the character.
"I really thought about the time period. This was the turn of the century, when women still didn't have much of a voice in society, so I tried to figure out how Dolly got people to listen to everything she said. I really felt it was the power of her personality, so I've made her very energetic and funny. She's extraordinarily clever and can be very persuasive, even manipulative, but not in a bad way, since she always has the best intentions. She only wants to lead people down a path towards happiness and fulfillment, while finding her own way to those goals too."
Castuera is joined on stage by principal cast members Zane Fair (Vandergelder), Karina Parker (Irene), Clair Howell (Minnie Fay), Traer Freeman (Cornelius), Elias Cedras (Barnaby), Noah Pattillo (Ambrose), Anya Gourley (Ermengarde), Tatum Moore (Ernestia), Tristan Cham (Rudolph), Michael Beu (Judge), and Makenna Pitz (Mrs. Rose), as well the Park Avenue Players Ensemble Cast and Dance Company.
The creative direction team behind the Park Avenue Player's production of Hello, Dolly! includes Mark Dressler, Jailyn Osborne, Roxanna Ward, and Jason Poullard. Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Michael Stewart, based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder.
Performances on March 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m.; March 17, 24 at 2:30 p.m.
Students $10, Adults $15, Premium $20.
Ticket sales from the LBHS Box Office - call 949-497-7769 for more information, or click this link to pre-order tickets.