Why Hello, Dolly!

That outspoken matchmaker, Dolly Levi, is in Kansas City and you don’t want to miss the chance to see her.

Now through Aug. 25, the classic, award-winning musical “Hello Dolly” is charming audiences at Musical Theater Heritage in Crown Center.

Dolly Levi, a Jack of all trades to say the least, is back in New York to arrange, meddle and match-up lonely hearts and to heal her own. She’s set her sights on Yonkers’ richest and grumpiest citizen, Horace Vandegelder.

Jerry Herman’s fast-paced, feel-good musical has been delighting audiences since the 60s, even winning 10 Tony Awards. But with MTH’s innovative approach to presenting musicals, you’ll find yourself completely delighted with the story of Dolly and her pals, whether you’ve never seen the production before or it’s your 10th time.

Theatre veteran Deb Bluford takes the stage as the flamboyant Dolly Levi. Whether belting out a song about returning to her home (“Hello, Dolly”), curiously carrying on a conversation with her deceased husband or enthusiastically meddling in the lives of others, Bluford’s energy lights up the stage.

In fact, casting should get a pat on the back. Bluford is the perfect Dolly.

Kansas City favorite Gary Neal Johnson (who many will recognize as Scrooge in the KC Repertory Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol”) took the leading male role in “Hello Dolly” as Horace Vandergelder.

Johnson has the grumpy old man persona down pat. It is fun to see he and Bluford banter back and forth about the matters of his love life.

Bluford and Johnson are supported by a large, excellent cast. They each brought their own special flair to the stage.

Two people who deserve a special nod and provided some extra giggles due to impeccable comedic timing include Andrew Schmidt as Cornelius Hackl and Kenna Hall as Minnie Fay.

Throughout the evening, there were a couple of spots where vocalists didn’t quite hit their cue to begin singing and, therefore, had to do a little adjusting to get back on course. But that’s bound to happen during any musical, particularly on opening night. And it didn’t impact the quality of the production in any way.

Hello Dolly” is a wonderful addition to the MTH repertoire and great show to kick off fall theatre season.

While “Hello Dolly” played for 2,844 performancs on Broadway at the St. James Theatre (the longest playing Broadway musical at the time), it won’t be at MTH for long.

So, gather up some friends, visit http://www.musicaltheaterheritage.com/ and get your tickets today.

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