Review: Catch Pioneer Theater Company’s ‘Hello, Dolly!’ before it goes bye bye

Paige Davis portrays Dolly in "Hello, Dolly!," playing through May 28 at Pioneer Theater Company. Photo courtesy PTC

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 16, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Pioneer Theater Company‘s production of “Hello, Dolly!” is beautifully costumed and choreographed, well-acted and sung, and a couple other things you might not expect from this musical theater classic.

It’s light and fun.

The Broadway character of Dolly, a clever and manipulative powerhouse, was written for belter Ethel Merman, who played it after it opened with larger-than-life Carol Channing. Legendary Barbra Streisand starred as Dolly in the 1969 film.

This production’s Dolly, Broadway actress and television host Paige Davis, brings a lighter touch to the role. Her version of Dolly is not pushy and brassy — she is playful and cheeky.

Davis’ Dolly still gets everyone what they want, but does it in a more whimsical, light-hearted way, and she has a strong vocal range if not a powerhouse voice.

“Hello, Dolly!,” with book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, is based on “The Matchmaker,” by Thornton Wilder. As the 19th Century turns to the 20th, the widowed Dolly is eking out a living providing services that include matchmaking.

From left, Kris Coleman and Paige Davis play Horace and Dolly in Pioneer Theater Company’s production of “Hello, Dolly!” Photo courtesy Pioneer Theater Company

Other standouts in the PTC cast include Kris Coleman as the miserly, grumpy widower, Horace Vandergelder, a half-millionaire, looking for a wealthy wife to scrub his floors and run his household. Coleman brings a deep, rich voice and perfect timing to the role.

Another standout is Kelly McCormick as Irene Malloy, a widow and milliner who hopes to marry for money after giving up on love. McCormick has a beautiful voice and a face that effortlessly reveals her character’s every emotion. Even if Vandergelder has reservations, the audience will fall for Mrs. Malloy.

And Alexander Mendoza and Michael J. Rios, as Vandergelder’s overworked employees who take a risk and break free, embody social ineptitude, nervous optimism, and comic timing. The actors bring a lot of humor to the show.

Quirky supporting characters fill out the story, and an excellent troupe of dancers, some with gymnastic skills, add energy, athleticism and sizzle to the production.

Photo courtesy Pioneer Theater Company

Director/choreographer Karen Azenberg brings all the elements together, with impressive scenic design by James Noone and inspired and dazzling costumes by Eduardo Sicangco.

PTC’s “Hello, Dolly!” is the whole package, a sparkly box wrapped in a golden ribbon. It’s a great gift to give yourself before the final curtain on Saturday, May 28.

For theater and ticket information, click here.

“Hello, Dolly!” cast members
Alexander Mendoza, Kelly McCormick, Michael J. Rios and and Dori Waymer. Photo courtesy Pioneer Theater Company

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