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Music Circus says big hello to ‘Dolly’

hello dolly
Lynne Wintersteller stars as Dolly Levi (center) with the waiters ensemble of the company of "Hello, Dolly! " at the Music Circus through Sunday.

Well, hello, Dolly. You’re looking swell, Dolly. It’s so nice to have you back where you belong!

Hello, Dolly!” is one of the most beloved and enduring musicals of our time. It has had several revivals since its 1964 Broadway debut, when it won a record (at that time) 10 Tony Awards, including for Best Musical.

The Music Circus production, which plays through Sunday, is worthy of a “best musical” award, too. It’s stylish and sumptuous and scintillating — and completely in the old fashioned musical comedy spirit of the original.

Jerry Herman wrote the music and lyrics for “Hello, Dolly!” and Michael Stewart wrote the book, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1955 play “The Matchmaker.” The musical tells the story of a widowed Yonkers matchmaker — some would call her a meddler — who makes her living as a jill-of-all-trades, fixing up people and their lives.

In the case at hand, Dolly (the irresistible Lynne Wintersteller) is trying to hook up wealthy shopkeeper Horace Vandergelder (Stuart Marland) with a suitable mate. Like Dick Cheney heading up a search for a vice presidential candidate, she decides that she’s best suited for the job. It takes a while before she convinces him, and in the meantime, she has to fix-up Horace’s niece Ermengarde (Sainty Nelsen) with Ambrose (Justin Schuman) and bring a little romance into the lives of Horace’s put-upon shopkeepers Cornelius Hackl (John Scherer) and Barnaby Tucker (Jordan Grubb). The delightful Jacquelyn Piro Donovan and Sarah Marie Jenkins play the objects of the men’s affections. John B Williford, who is known to Music Circus regulars from earlier shows, plays Rudolph, restaurateur and confidant. And B Street Theatre regular David Pierini makes a short but effective appearance as the Judge (the court scene is something to see).

A large and talented crew of singers and dancers completes the excellent ensemble.

Among the musical highlights are the songs “Before the Parade Passes By,” “It Only Takes a Moment” and, of course, the title tune. Several dance set pieces are outstanding, especially “Elegance” and “The Waiters’ Gallop,” which features some pretty amazing coordination. The choreography is by Randy Slovacek and the striking costumes are by Marcy Froehlich.

Glenn Casale, who in his 20 years with Music Circus and Broadway Sacramento has directed more than 50 productions, creates joy in bringing this delightful show to life. His direction is perfection.

“Hello, Dolly!” plays Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H St. Tickets are $45-$88. For more information: (916) 557-1999 or sacramentomusiccircus.com.

Photo by Kevin Graft


Music Circus says big hello to ‘Dolly’ via @sacramentopress

About the author

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes has masters degrees in English and journalism and is a former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in popular culture at Stanford University. He has covered Sacramento arts and entertainment for more than 20 years. He currently writes about and reviews theater, dance, music and events in the Sacramento area.

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