Sunset Playhouse's Whimsical, Delightful 'Hello, Dolly!'
Sunset Playhouse is staging a rhythmically enchanting production of Hello, Dolly! The crispness of a dreamlike early 20th-century New York City dances with grace, poise and wit. Sunset delivers on the classy, whimsical fugue of a musical story with the casual magic of graceful semi-symmetry and brisk pacing. Costuming is light and colorful. Big dance numbers fill the stage with an enjoyably balanced pulse.
Liz Norton is a powerful presence onstage as the cunningly compassionate matchmaker, Dolly Levi. Norton is a towering diva as Dolly, with a presence that can fill the entire theatre. Norton has a sparkling charisma in the role, but it’s the deftness with which she shows vulnerability that really makes this an impressive performance. There’s strength. There’s vulnerability. And there’s vulnerability in her strength. On top of it all, she’s got a very sharp and clever sense of humor that serves the production well.
Glenn Villa is charmingly harsh as Horace Vandergelder, the half-millionaire Dolly has, through no fault of his own, decided to marry. The character serves as a point of imposing authority throughout the plot. Villa has the kind of affability in the role that lends to it a softer edge that amplifies the character’s gruff likability.
Enjoyable performances in and around the edges of the production include Eric Welch’s ambitious innocence as Cornelius Hackl, an employee of Vandergelder who is in way over his head. Briana Lipor adds some brilliantly witty accents to the production as a hat shop girl Hackl and his friend run into.
Through Aug 6. at Furlan Auditorium, 800 Elm Grove Road. For tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.