Friday, February 24, 2012

It Only Takes a Moment...!

I just came back from the opening night of Saline High School’s production of “Hello, Dolly!” and want to share my favorite moments from the show.  I wouldn’t begin to suggest that this was a review, but rather, a serving of delicious morsels I saw on stage to whet your appetite.

  • Austin Terris playing Barnaby was thoroughly enjoyable.   He practically stole every scene with his playfulness and incredible physical humor, with pratfalls, and acrobatic awkwardness that were perfect for his eager young character.
  • Kaitlyn Mulder’s beautiful voice shone during her tenderly rendered ballad Ribbons Down My Back, and her years as a dancer gave her a maturity and posture befitting of her character.
  • Sophie Skochelak’s wailing was marvelous – it definitely hit the high registers and I loved when everyone in the courtroom leaned back before her final wail.  She also stamped her foot in true tantrum style. (In talking to her mother at intermission, I learned that luckily for her family, she didn’t rehearse that at home).  Her tall counterpart Ambrose Kemper (Joel Stralnic) was a doting boyfriend.
  • One of my favorite kids, Sushrut, was a standout in the male chorus, mostly because he was the shortest and clearly a good sport in being the brunt of much of the humor.
  • The male chorus blended wonderfully during It Takes a Woman.  And overall the singing throughout the show was outstanding with superb diction, which is no doubt attributable to Norma Freeman’s musical direction.
  • Favorite lines:  “I hate hats” from Mrs. Molloy.  “I’m fine” from Mrs. Rose played by Aubrey LaVasser”.  Loved the way Minne Fay (Carolyn Pedersen) said “cherries and feathers”
  • Favorite accent:  Rudolph’s German accent (played by Michael Doa) who strutted around the stage in pompous command of the waitstaff.  I liked that he joined in the dancing at the end!
  • Favorite scene was probably the Motherhood March – loved all the antics that went on behind the singing and loved Cornelius and Barnaby dressed in the ladies hats.  The set was luscious filled with colorfully decorated hats.
  • All stops were pulled for Before the Parade Passes By with a full ensemble coming on stage complete with ballerinas, suffragettes, band members, a drum major and star moments from many.  And lots of dancing moves by the full chorus!
  • Who wouldn’t love the 3 dancing chefs with their leaping dance moves, and the pirouette that went on and on and on, and the two waiters who tried to impress with their somersaults.
  • I remember the chill that went through my body when Dolly (Audra Davison) came down the grand staircase in her beautiful red gown.  And the Harmonia Gardens set was so tall and elegant with the three chandeliers. Leo Babcock’s sets were wonderful with lots of levels for the actors to use.
  • Loved the human “train” in which the colored parasols were the wheels in Put On Your Sunday Clothes.
  • Ernestina’s character (played by Maddie Montambault) was larger than life and she milked every move she made while on stage.
  • I found myself just plain smiling during Cornelius’ (Aaron Mukerjee) song It Only Takes a Moment… he, like his counter part Mrs. Molloy, had a beautiful voice and the scene was moving.
  • Horace Vandergelder ( Jackson Marchilewski) was appropriately stuffy yet comically flustered.  And I recognized what we dubbed as the “Captain Crunch” costume that he wore in the parade from the HD show I was in a few years ago (along with a number of other familiar costumes).
  • And what a poised and lovely Dolly Levi to grace the Saline High School stage.  Her graceful yet purposeful movements portrayed her self-assured character.  And her lovely voice was easy to listen to.  I especially enjoyed her playfulness during So Long, Dearie.
  • Mostly, I love that practically every person in the cast had “a moment” in which they could shine.  I wish I could put them all down, but suffice it to say, the production is worth seeing and a true Saline community theater event!  Two more shows – February 25 at 7:30 p.m. and February 26 at 2:00 p.m. at the high school.

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