Dolly Levi (Heidi Kettenring) is welcomed back to the Harmonia Gardens restaurant by an adoring waitstaff in “Hello, Dolly!” at the Marriott Theatre.
How do you solve a problem like Dolly Levi?
If you’re half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder of Yonkers, New York, the answer is: You don’t. Dolly solves you. She’s a schemer, a chaotician, a socialite and a BS artist par excellence, an ardent redistributionist, a frankly miraculous dance instructor, and — by her own gleeful admission — a world-class meddler. When she sets her sights on marrying grumpy old Vandergelder (albeit, with the stated intent of taking his half-a-millionaire fortune and spreading it around), it takes him nearly two-and-a-half hours, a dozen or so songs, and enough hijinks to fill a stuffed whale to realize just how lucky he is. What a wonderful “problem” to have.
But for anyone mounting a production of “Hello Dolly!”, the Dolly Problem is a bit more real: Do you have someone who can pull off the part? (Cue “Funny Girl” klaxons.) It’s a role that, from the very beginning, has been designed for larger-than-life divas. From Carol Channing and Barbra Streisand to Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters, Dolly has worked best when housing an outsized personality. What to do then when there is no such personality to be had? What is Dolly when she’s just more of a down-to-earth (if still thoroughly fabulous) human being?
Source:: Chicago Sun Times