By Anna von dem Bussche
Over the last weekend in March, the Sleepy Hollow High School’s drama department presented Hello Dolly, directed by Julie Colangelo-Dore. A timeless Broadway hit set in New York City and Yonkers in the 19th century, the musical tells the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a middle-aged matchmaking widow trying to make her own match. High School junior Ginger Sakarya, starring in the lead role, gave an impressive performance as Dolly, setting out to find a match for the renowned bachelor, half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder, played by senior Max Cover.
Dolly’s scheming soon involves a young artist named Ambrose Kemper (sophomore Luc Most), Horace’s niece Ermengarde (senior Helen Tejada) and also Horace’s store clerks Cornelius Hackl (sophomore Theo Pearson) and Barnaby Tucker (senior Luca Brown), as they seek adventure, as well as love interests in the persons of hat maker Irene Molloy (junior Casey McDonough) and her shop assistant,Minnie Fray (junior Maya Kharem).
One of many highlights in the show comes at the beginning of Act Two, right after the magnificently choreographed Waiters’ Gallop in the restaurant Harmonia Gardens, when Ginger Sakarya as Dolly makes her triumphant return wearing an elegant, sparkling red gown and feathered headdress. She is greeted by the waiters and cooks who burst into singing the play’s eponymous theme song, Hello Dolly. This is the moment when the ensemble’s excellent dancing, the cast’s marvelous singing, the orchestra’s fantastic playing and the fine costume and set design (by Zach Dore) come together to create the illusion that this show was not in the Sleepy Hollow High School’s Kusel Auditorium, but, in fact, on Broadway.
Micah Sprague, the producer and Performing Arts Department Chair, noted how Hello Dolly, which is often referred to as a Broadway classic, stands in contrast to the school’s last award-winning musical Beauty and the Beast. He noted that it is in the Drama Department’s best interest to introduce the students to different kinds of musicals. Not only did Hello Dolly require many stage sets and multiple, authentic 19th century-styled costumes, but also it was sure to be compared to the big-budget version of the show recently on Broadway.
The hard work of a production staff, consisting of more than 55 students, 15 instructors and 10 parents, was evident, after five months of rehearsing, set-building, costume-designing and lighting.
Many cast members have had experience in numerous high school musicals as well as related dramatic training from an early age and have also gained a great deal of extracurricular experience. They have benefitted from training by highly-respected professionals in the community, which, along with their own hard work, helps explain why this production of Hello Dollywas such a success.