CARTHAGE — Few musicals have as unforgettable a title song as “Hello, Dolly!”.
“I think (the audience) will easily remember the title number. The song is probably the most famous,” said Courteney Stepanek.
Miss Stepanek will portray the inimitable Dolly Levi in Carthage Central High School’s final presentation of the Tony Award-winning musical this evening. The play, with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and book by Michael Stewart, debuted on Broadway in 1964 with songs such as “Dancing,” “Before the Parade Passes By” and “It Only Takes a Moment.”
Carol Channing, Ethel Merman and Barbara Streisand all played the title role in either stage or film incarnations.
“Dolly Levi is a matchmaker. She tries to get in everybody’s business; she always wants to help everyone,” said Cheyenne Shupp, who plays “heiress” Ernestina Money.
The story is set in 1890s New York City. Dolly Levi, after blowing into town, offers her matchmaking services to the community. She explains it best in the opening song “(Call on Dolly) I put my Hand In.”
Dolly claims to be seeking a wife for half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder. But as the musical progresses, her real intentions become known.
“Dolly is a traveling businesswoman who’s focused on Horace and trying to get his money. It’s really this big event and only she knows what’s going on,” said Bradlee Duerr, who portrays the grumpy Mr. Vandergelder.
Dolly sets him up with hat shop owner Irene Molloy (Abigail Swanson) and later Miss Money. Along the way, Dolly assists artist Ambrose Kemper (Pedro Leos) in wooing Mr. Vandergelder’s niece, Ermengarde (Megan Freitas). Thrown into the confusion are shop clerks Barnaby and Cornelius, portrayed by Austen Rodriguez and Khalid Robinson.
Rounding out the cast are Krista Temple (Minnie Fay) and Virginia Hebert (Mrs. Rose) and an ensemble of 20. Special guests include CCS teachers Christopher Autote, Sean McHale and Bob Renaud, fine arts director Richard Weber and district superintendant Peter Turner.
The musical director for the show is Mel Chalker. Jim Goodenbery is artistic director.