It’s so glad to see you back where you belong.
Betty Buckley defines classic Broadway Theater at its best. Her heartfelt love of performing stretches well past the footlights and even to the farthest seat in a full second balcony of the Dr. Phillips Center’s 2,700 seat Disney Theater.
Buckley (Dolly Gallagher Levi) and her costar, Lewis Standlen (Horace Vandergelder) are no longer youngsters, but their ability to enchant an audience and own a stage–surrounded with amazing singers and dancers half their age–was magical. Buckley is well worth the price of the ticket as she owned the stage for most of the evening. She loves the audience and it shows.
The original production was choreographed and directed by Gower Champion and produced by David Merrick, both legendary on the “Great White Way.” Nostalgia was brought into modern times with updated choreography, sets, and costuming that Broadway could have only dreamed of in the 1940s.
“The Waiters’ Gallop” in the second act was one of the most memorable moments of the night. The stage was filled with leaps, jumps, and a true buffet of props fit for the elegant fine dining at the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant. It took my breath away.
An artist myself, I must acknowledge the Scenic and Costume Designer, Santo Loquasto, who won the 2017 Tony Award for the costumes in this production. Every scene was a joy to behold.
Another performer not to be missed was Nic Rouleau (Cornelius Hackl) whose smile I remember from one of his 2,500 performances in “The Book of Mormon” that toured here. His harmonies with Analisa Leaming (Irene Molloy) in the classic song, “It Only Takes a Moment” were lovely.
The leaps and jumps of Jess LeProtto (Barnaby Tucker) were just plain fun. The entire cast was full of very accomplished dancers with high kicks, extensions, and stunt-like leaps that I am sure no performers in the 1940s would have attempted.
A good dose of nostalgia is good for everyone in our modern times and a reminder of how much the past generations have given us. A “must see” hit.