Review “Hello, Dolly!” (Broadway in Chicago): Buckley Owns It!

Thursday, October 25, 2018 Permalink 0

Broadway in Chicago presents the four time Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival HELLO, DOLLY!.

Hello, Betty!  

Broadway legend Betty Buckley (Dolly) takes on the iconic roll first debuted by Carol Channing in 1964 and she owns it. From the moment she steps onstage to her final bow, Buckley has the audience mesmerized by her presence. She sings. She dances. She delivers her lines with the confident moxie of a woman in charge. Her eyes twinkle with meddlesome mischief. And sometimes, they sparkle with tears of vulnerability as she pledges to become ‘a fool among fools instead of a fool alone.’ She captures the hearts of all with her irresistible charm. Buckley exudes all the sophisticated glamour of a Broadway star. 

Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

HELLO, DOLLY! is a return to the golden age of musicals. The story, based on the The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder, is about a widow, Dolly Levi, who makes a living by arranging people’s lives. Michael Stewart (book) and Jerry Herman (music and lyrics) took Wilder’s witty play and made it into a fun, frolicking musical. This revival, directed by Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, return us to a simpler time of happy endings and love at first sight. 

Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Herman’s memorable songs are the kind of delightful tunes onstage that linger in my mind the next day. They are smile-inducing. The irreverent chauvinistic “It takes a woman” led by Lewis J. Stadlen (Horace) hilariously explains why a man would want to get married. The anthem of transformation is the bright, uplifting, heart-pumping “Before the parade passes by.” As Buckley sings out, she literally joins the parade passing by.   The love ballad “It only takes a moment” is sung beautifully by Nic Rouleau (Cornelius) and Analisa Leaming (Irene). And Buckley gives a wonderfully cheeky brush-off to Stadlen in “So long dearie.” 

Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

And of course, “Hello, Dolly” is the showstopping number that features Buckley and the Harmonia Garden wait staff. The mutual affection is infectious. Although the terrific chorus dances and sings with flourish throughout the show, this number, in particular, has an impressive level of athletic antics. 

Full disclosure: I loved HELLO, DOLLY! before I sat down in the theatre. I’m a huge fan of the Barbra Streisand movie and Wilder’s play. With Buckley putting her hand in, this HELLO, DOLLY! revival becomes magical. This show is the perfect escape from reality.   

Hello, Betty! Thanks for coming to Chicago!                  

Running Time: Two hours and thirty-five minutes includes an intermission

At Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph

Based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder

Book by Michael Stewart

Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman

Directed by Jerry Zaks

Choreographed by Warren Carlyle

Original production directed and choreographed by Gower Champion

Tuesdays at 7:30PM

Wednesdays at 2:00PM and 7:30PM

Thursdays at 7:30PM

Fridays at 7:30PM

Saturdays at 2:00PM and 8:00PM

Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2PM and 7:30PM; Nov. 4 & Nov. 11 at 2PM

Thru Nov 17th 

Tickets at

Production photos by Julieta Cervantes

For more information and reviews on Chicago theatre, visit Theater in Chicago

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