Hello, Dolly by Delaware County Christian School in Newtown Square, PA
March 12, 2019
Review submitted by Julia Jennings of Upper Moreland High School
The grandly elegant parasols, glimmering feathers, and the radiant, shining message of Delaware County Christian School’s inspires the audience to get out and fully live “before the parade passes by”.
Premiering on Broadway in 1964, this wildly popular musical by Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman has seen four Broadway revivals, the most recent one opening in 2017 starring Bette Midler. The musical opens with flamboyant matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi being assigned to find a wife for the cantankerous half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder, while having her mind made up that she will win Vandergelder for herself. When Dolly’s bold plans for manipulation bring together Horace Vandergelder, his runaway shop clerks, Cornelius and Barnaby, and his wailing niece Ermengarde in the refined Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, chaos ensues and only love will be able to solve the mayhem.
Delaware County Christian School took on this well-beloved show with great enthusiasm and creativity. The beautiful and breathtaking sets served as a perfect backdrop for the beautiful harmonies and splendid choreography of the talented cast.
Leading the cast as the brazen and charming Dolly Gallagher Levi, Jordan Thompson enchanted the audience with her witty portrayal and powerful vocals. Her perfect comedic timing and radiant voice were a driving force for the performance. As the crotchety but ultimately endearing aristocrat Horace Vandergelder, Ryan Schaafsma added a perfect comedic element to the production, contrasting with Thompson to create a humorous and dynamic chemistry.
As chief clerk Cornelius Hackl, Benjamin Doctor added remarkably sweet vocals and great comedic character to the performance. Jacob Halladay, as Barnaby Tucker, fantastically portrayed his earnest and enthusiastic sidekick with great energy. Johanna FitzGerald and Emily Chung similarly created a memorable pair as Irene Molloy and Minnie Fay, respectively. As the miserable Ermengarde, Emma Carrington did a remarkable job of constantly crying on stage, creating a memorable comedic character. Daphne Neal as Ernestina Money likewise added a charming comedic element to the performance. The ensemble showed confident mastery of complex harmonies and beautiful choreography.
The incredible set was breathtaking, rotating around to transform from the elegant Harmonia Gardens to the multi-faceted interior of Vandergelder’s Hay and Feed store. The lighting design carefully accented different elements of the performance, and the brilliant costumes and hair perfectly set the production in the charm of the late 1800s.
With radiance and great comedic force, Delaware County Christian School’s Hello, Dolly! encouraged the audience to “put on their Sunday clothes” and experience all of the “elegance” the world has to offer.
Review submitted by Kaci Walter of Upper Merion Area High School
“Put On Your Sunday Clothes” and come down to see Delaware County Christian School’s spectacular performance of Hello, Dolly!
Based on the work of the critically acclaimed playwright, Thornton Wilder, the Broadway classic, Hello, Dolly! was written by Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman, and hit the stage in 1965. The musical accounts the story of the captivating matchmaker, Dolly Levi, who is tasked with finding half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder a second wife. But little does he know that she might just be planning to make him her second husband instead. Adventures in the big city, extravagant music, and dancing through the streets lead to the classic golden age show tunes that have delighted audiences for more than half a century.
Delaware County Christian School’s rendition of this musical gem was brought to life by an energized ensemble, exceptional vocalists, and comedic standouts. Challenged with creating a multitude of complex settings, the production team outdid themselves with their elegant, show-stealing set pieces that took audiences from the slick town of Yonkers to the streets of the Big Apple.
Jordan Thompson starred as the marvelously meddlesome matchmaker, Dolly Levi. Thompson won the audience’s hearts with her brassy vocal prowess that perfectly encapsulated the title character’s charm and musical royalty. Her breathtaking tonality was especially showcased in show stopping anthems, “Before the Parade Passes by” as well as “Hello, Dolly.” Opposite of Dolly, Ryan Schaafsma played the ideal ill-tempered burgher, Horace Vandergelder, through his dedication to his raspy character voice and pleasant timbre, displayed in his solo number, “It Takes a Woman”.
Benjamin Doctor’s melodic voice and first-rate comedic timing excellently modeled the chief clerk, Cornelius Hackl. At his side, the stock boy, Barnaby Tucker, was played by Jacob Halladay, with high spirits and hilarity. The two especially exhibited their superb physical comedy as they dove under tables and hid in closets throughout Mrs. Molloy’s hat shop. Other standout performances included the love interests of the young clerks, Irene Molloy and Minnie Fay, delightfully portrayed by Johanna FitzGerald and Emily Chung, respectively.
What cannot go unmentioned were the first-rate movable set pieces, designed and constructed by Adelia Elliott and the DC Tech Crew. From the two-story Vandergelder Hay and Feed store to the cascading staircase of the Harmonia Gardens, the sets had an impressive professional feel that heightened the quality of the performance. Additionally, the DC stage crew, under management of Caleb Goneau, Cayley Serfass, and Eowyn Oh accomplished smooth scene changes that effectively kept the story moving gracefully.
Delaware County Christian School’s performance of Hello, Dolly! certainly brought the audience “the sweet things in life”.