‘Hello Dolly’ kicks off with a handful of fun

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Janelle McMenamin, front, as Dolly Levi

“I’VE got 47 people on stage with banners and ribbons,” said the director of Queanbeyan Players’ coming production of “Hello Dolly!”, Michael Moore, as he strode onto the stage at a media call this morning.

In fact there were only a handful of actors on stage, with Janelle McMenamin as the interfering matchmaker Dolly Levi and the chorus  having fun with the song, “Before The Parade Passes By”, but we got the idea.

And when the technicians played background music from last night’s dress rehearsal, Moore added: “That’s one hell of an ensemble you’re hearing.”

Under the baton of musical director Jenna Hinton and the 24-piece orchestra will be supporting well-known numbers such as “Before the Parade Passes By”, “Hello, Dolly!”, “Ribbons Down My Back” and “It Only Takes a Moment”.

Tony Falla as Horace Vandergelder, centre, with the politically incorrect male chorus.

Later Moore took the media into Malloy’s Hat Shop, the setting for part of the show, pointing out that “Hello Dolly!” takes place in the 1890s, only about 30 years after the Civil War ended, which he says explains why “Americans love references to the Civil War in the musical”. Echoes of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address were heard in snitches of “Fourscore and seven years ago” from the singers.

Earlier in the morning Tony Falla, playing the cantankerous Yonkers “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder, on whom Dolly has designs, joined the male chorus to rejoice in the politically incorrect lyrics of the song “It takes a woman”…….

“It takes a woman all powdered and pink,

To joyously clean out the drain in the sink,

And it takes an angel with long golden lashes,

And soft Dresden fingers,

For dumping the ashes.”

They wouldn’t get away with that in 2019.

“Hello, Dolly!”, The Q, Queanbeyan, May 30-June 9. Book at theq.net.au or 6285 6290.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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