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South Valley Journal

In Review: “Hello, Dolly!” at Pioneer Theatre Company

May 14, 2022 06:17PM ● By Tom Haraldsen
One word describes the feeling we were left with after watching Pioneer Theatre Company’s production of “Hello, Dolly!” Joyous.
One word describes the costumes and the sets of this production. Glamorous.
One word describes the performances of this Tony- Award-winning musical. Stupendous.

All those words end with “us,” which seems appropriate. Because all of “us” who watched PTC’s season-ending production were caught up in the music and the dancing and the incredible cast that brought Jerry Herman’s masterpiece to life at Pioneer Memorial Theatre.

Broadway star and TV personality Paige Davis stars as Dolly Levi, the bold and enchanting widow turned matchmaker who, using her entrepreneurial skills (and clever schemes) helps cantankerous "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder and other clients in their quests to
find love. Along the way, we meet two of Vandergelder’s unappreciated employees–Cornelius Hacki and BarnabyTucker, along with hatmaker Irene Molloy and her assistant Minnie Fay.

They are all looking for love as well, and thanks to Dolly, they’re going to find it.

When Davis is on stage, she owns it. Her singing and dancing and characterization of Dolly are superb–never over the top, never trying to outshine her fellow actors–but instead embellishing the talents of this superb cast.

Kris Coleman as Vandergelder proves a worthy adversary for Mrs. Levi and her scheming–at least to a point. Alexander Mendoza (Cornelius) and Michael J. Rios (Barnaby) are heroes to root for from the opening curtain, as are Kelly McCormick (Irene) and Dori Waymer (Minnie). They’re all
beneficiaries of Dolly’s magic. McCormick is a soulful vocalist and brilliant actress, and Rios showcases his athleticism through his amazing dancing.

 In fact, the ensemble in this production is composed of wonderful singers and dancers, working under the tutelage of PTC artistic director Karen Azenberg, who also serves as director and choreographer for the musical.

The music, the dancing, the colorful costumes and the overall exuberance of this joyful ensemble makes “Hello, Dolly!” the kind of uplifting, positive experience we can all use right now. Having never seen the play or the movie (believe it or not), I had no idea what to expect. But others
in attendance did, and they left happy and filled with the joy of this Broadway musical.

As Miss Davis herself said during our interview on a rehearsal week, “there’s a special energy here with this cast and crew.” She is a huge part of that energy.

“Hello, Dolly!” plays Monday through Saturday at PTC through May 28. The theatre is located at 300 South 1400 East in Salt Lake City. Ticket information at www.pioneertheatre.org.