Audiences will soon be saying “hello” to “Hello, Dolly!” when the students at Cherokee High School debut their production of the show as this year’s spring musical on May 17.
The show follows the trials and tribulations surrounding the much-publicized trip of Dolly Gallagher Levi as she travels to Yonkers, N.Y., in the late 19th century to perform her duties as a well-known matchmaker for the rich, albeit penny-pinching, Horace Vandergelder.
And while audiences soon learn that Dolly intends to have Horace for herself, Dolly’s presence allows her to also use her matchmaking skills to meddle in the love lives of several other of the show’s characters, leaving the production with plenty of sensational tunes and comedic moments.
Debuting on Broadway in 1964, the original production of the show won 10 Tony Awards – a record the show held for the following 37 years. The show was also adopted in a 1969 move with stars such as Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau, which also went on to win three Academy Awards of its own.
Most recently, the show saw its latest Broadway revival in 2017.
With Cherokee’s upcoming production of the show, director Joe Fisicaro Jr. said “Hello, Dolly!” was selected as this year’s spring musical as a way to give students a “classic” show that would help strengthen a broader range of their acting abilities.
“I personally like the classics because they train your actors better than modern shows do … we wanted to go back into the realm of that old-school feeling,” Fisicaro said. “It’s just so much better for the actors to get so much educationally out of it.”
Fisicaro said this year’s production would also mark the first time the show had returned to Cherokee since 2003.
“Not to be redundant, but we have some real star-studded star power in our cast – people who have really hit their stride as actors and who do a fantastic job,” Fisicaro said. “These actors are worth paying admission for.”
Two such performers are seniors Sophia Fortuna and Casey Curcio, who were double cast in the show’s titular role of Dolly.
When asked why audiences should attend Cherokee’s upcoming production, Curcio quickly pointed to the show’s music, which she described as “timeless.”
“It sticks with a lot of people from any generation who watch it,” Curcio said. “It can speak to a bunch of different audiences.”
Fortuna said that while audiences sometimes judge classic musicals as lacking depth, Cherokee’s performs have worked to combat such perceptions.
“Classic shows can be looked over as just a bunch of people singing and dancing on stage and just going through motions, but in our version, we really worked hard on making the characters seem real and giving them a personality,” Fortuna said.
Cherokee High School’s production of “Hello, Dolly!” debuts on May 17, with repeat performances on May 18, May 24 and May 25 at the school’s Performing Arts Center, located at 130 Tomlinson Mill Road.
All shows start at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available for $12 each and can be purchased before the shows at www.cherokeedrama.org. Tickets will also be available during the evening of the performances at the door.