Music and Lyrics by
Our 49th season begins with a production of Jerry Herman's musical
Hello, Dolly! - with music and lyrics by Herman and a book by Michael Stewart was based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers. Wilder had revised this comedy and retitled it The Matchmaker for its 1955 run on Broadway with Ruth Gordon in the title role.
David Merrick produced Hello, Dolly! on Broadway in 1964. It was directed by Gower Champion and became the signature role of actress Carol Channing. The show won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Actress Musical Star (Channing), Composer & Lyricist (Herman), Author-Musical (Stewart), Producer-Musical (Merrick), Director-Musical (Champion), Musical Director-Conductor (Shepherd Coleman), Choreographer (Champion), Scenic Designer (Oliver Smith), and Costume Designer (Freddy Wittop).
Read about the Original Broadway Production HERE.
The RCA Victor Original Cast LP was inducted into the
Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.
The 1994 Recording of the Revival was nominated for the
Grammy Award for Best Cast Album.
Buy the CD's HERE
Hello, Dolly! was also made into a film in 1969 starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau. It was directed by Gene Kelly. The film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards. It won for Best Art Direction & Set Decoration; Best Music, Score of a Motion Picture (Original or Adapatation); and Best Sound. Streisand and Marianne McAndrew were both nominated for the
Golden Globe for their roles.
Buy the DVD HERE
Putnam County Playhouse has produced Hello, Dolly! twice. The first production was in 1971. Dolly Levi was played by Adeline Knoy. The second production in 1986 featured Judy Hacker in the title role. Both productions were directed by Vickie Parker, who will helm our newest presentation!
It's the turn of the 20th century, and all of New York Cityis excited because widowed but brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi is in town ("Call On Dolly"). Dolly makes a living through what she calls "meddling" – matchmaking and numerous sidelines, including dance instruction and Mandolin lessons ("I Put My Hand In"). She is currently seeking a wife for grumpy Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, but it becomes clear that Dolly intends to marry Horace herself. Ambrose Kemper, a young artist, wants to marry Horace's weepy niece Ermengarde, but Horace opposes this because Ambrose's vocation does not guarantee a steady living. Ambrose enlists Dolly's help, and they travel to Yonkers, New York, to visit Horace, who is a prominent citizen there and owns Vandergelder's Hay and Feed.
Horace explains to his two clerks, Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, that he is going to get married because "It Takes a Woman" to cheerfully do all the household chores. He plans to travel with Dolly to New York City to propose to the widow Irene Molloy, who owns a hat shop there. Dolly arrives in Yonkers and "accidentally" mentions that Irene's first husband might not have died of natural causes, and also mentions that she knows an heiress, Ernestina Money, who may be interested in Horace. Horace leaves for New York and tells Cornelius and Barnaby to mind the store.
Cornelius decides that he and Barnaby need to get out of Yonkers. They'll go to New York, have a good meal, spend all their money, see the stuffed whale in Barnum's museum, almost get arrested, and each kiss a girl! They blow up some tomato cans to create a terrible stench and a good alibi to close the store. Dolly mentions that she knows two ladies in New York they should call on: Irene Molloy and her shop assistant, Minnie Fay. She tells Ermengarde and Ambrose that she'll enter them in the polka competition at the upscale Harmonia Gardens Restaurant in New York City so Ambrose can demonstrate his ability to be a bread winner to Uncle Horace. Cornelius, Barnaby, Ambrose, Ermengarde and Dolly "Put on [their] Sunday Clothes" and take the train to New York.
Irene and Minnie open their hat shop for the afternoon. Irene wants a husband but does not love Horace Vandergelder. She declares that she will wear an elaborate hat to impress a gentleman ("Ribbons Down My Back"). Cornelius and Barnaby arrive at the shop and pretend to be rich. Horace and Dolly arrive at the shop, and Cornelius and Barnaby hide. Irene inadvertently mentions that she knows Cornelius Hackl, and Dolly tells her and Horace that even though Cornelius is Horace's clerk by day, he's a New York playboy by night; he's one of the Hackls. Minnie screams when she finds Cornelius hiding in the armoire. Horace is about to open the armoire himself, but Dolly distracts him with patriotic sentiments ("Motherhood March"). Next, Cornelius sneezes, and Horace storms out, realizing there are men hiding in the shop, but not knowing they are his clerks.
Dolly arranges for Cornelius and Barnaby, who are still pretending to be rich, to take the ladies out to dinner to the Harmonia Gardens to make up for their humiliation. She teaches Cornelius and Barnaby how to dance since they always have dancing at such establishments ("Dancing"). Soon, Cornelius, Irene, Barnaby and Minnie are happily dancing. They go to watch the great Fourteenth Street Association Parade together. Alone, Dolly decides to put her dearly departed husband Ephram behind her and to move on with life "Before the Parade Passes By". She asks Ephram's permission to marry Horace, requesting a sign from him. Dolly catches up with the annoyed Vandergelder as he is playing in a band during the parade, and she convinces him to give her matchmaking one more chance. She tells him that Ernestina Money would be perfect for him and asks him to meet her
at the swanky Harmonia Gardens that evening.
Cornelius and Barnaby are determined to get a kiss before the night is over. As the clerks have no money for a carriage, they tell the girls that walking to the restaurant shows that they've got "Elegance". At the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, Rudolph, the head waiter, whips his crew into shape for Dolly Levi's return: their usual lightning service must be "twice as lightning" ("The Waiters' Gallop"). Horace arrives with his date, but she is not as rich or elegant as Dolly implied; and bored by Horace, she soon leaves, just as Dolly planned
Cornelius, Barnaby and their dates arrive, unaware that Horace is also dining at the restaurant. Irene and Minnie are excited by the lavish restaurant and decide to order the most expensive items on the menu. Fearful of being discovered, Cornelius and Barnaby become increasingly nervous as they realize they have little more than a dollar (1.35$) left. Dolly makes her triumphant return to the Harmonia Gardens and is greeted in style by the staff ("Hello, Dolly!") She sits in the now-empty seat at Horace's table and proceeds to eat a large, expensive dinner, telling him that no matter what he says, she will not marry him. Barnaby and Horace hail waiters at the same time, and in the ensuing confusion each drops his wallet and inadvertently picks up the other's. Barnaby is delighted that he can now pay the restaurant bill, while Horace finds only a little spare change. Barnaby and Cornelius realize that the wallet must belong to Horace. Cornelius, Irene, Barnaby and Minnie try to sneak out during the "The Polka Contest", but Horace recognizes them and also spots Eremengarde and Ambrose. The ensuing free-for-all riot culminates
in a trip to night court.
Cornelius and Barnaby confess that they have no money and have never been to New York before. Cornelius declares that even if he has to dig ditches the rest of his life as punishment, he'll be a ditch digger who once had a wonderful day because he met Irene. Cornelius, Barnaby and Ambrose each professes his love for his companion ("It Only Takes A Moment"). Dolly convinces the judge that the only thing everyone is guilty of is being in love. Everyone is found innocent and cleared of all charges, but Horace is declared guilty and forced to pay damages. Dolly mentions marriage again, and Horace declares that he wouldn't marry her if she were the last woman in the world. Dolly angrily bids him "So Long, Dearie"; while he's bored and lonely, she'll be living the high life.
The next morning, back at the hay and feed store, Cornelius and Irene, Barnaby and Minnie, and Ambrose and Ermengarde are each setting out on their own. A chastened Horace Vandergelder finally admits that he needs Dolly in his life, but Dolly is unsure about the marriage until her late husband sends her a sign. Vandergelder spontaneously repeats a saying of Ephram's: "Money is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread about, encouraging young things to grow." Horace tells Dolly life would be dull without her, and she promises that she'll "never go away again" ("Hello, Dolly" (reprise)).