‘Hello Dolly’ a match for any era
When: Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 10, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday Nov. 10.
Where: Bruin Community Arts Theater at Bear River High School, 11130 Magnolia Road, Grass Valley
Tickets: $10 for adult general seating, $8 for seniors over 60, students and children.
Info: (530) 268-3700 ext. 4616
Besides Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, when someone says “Hello Dolly,” the first thing you think of is Barbra Streisand or Carol Channing, two larger-than-life personalities. So when it came time to cast the lead in Bear River High School’s upcoming play, director Amy Linden was looking for a certain quality.
“You need to find a young lady with spunk,” Linden said. “They’ve got to have the ability to put themselves out there. Dolly is smooth. She is a saleswoman.”
Linden found what she was looking for in senior Chelsea Knowlton.
Her first lead role, Knowlton, 17, finds the part more demanding than a supporting role, with lots to memorize. Not that she would complain.
“Dolly’s main goal is to make sure other people are happy. I can relate to that,” Knowlton said. “I am a people pleaser. I like to make sure people around me are happy.”
The story follows Mrs. Dolly Levi, a widower and part-time matchmaker, in her efforts to marry the miserly half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder (played by junior Davis Lanterman). Set in New York City in the late 1890s, the turning of a new century is something not lost on today’s audience.
“There is so much that relates to today,” Linden said. “It was the turn of a century, there was labor union unrest, immigration issues … it was at the point where America was becoming a world power. As a history teacher, I’m telling my students ‘You have to see it.’”
The production involves a cast and crew of more than 30 Bear River High School students and will hold seven performances over 10 days, beginning last night.
“I look forward to getting feedback from the audience and see how all of our hard work has paid off,” Knowlton said.
You can be sure a good portion of the audience will exit the building with the infectious title song stuck in their heads. And that’s a good thing.
“The whole thing of matchmaking is lost on this generation,” Linden said. “Love is always love, whether it is arranged or accidental.”
And that works no matter what century you’re turning into.