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'Hello, Dolly!' encourages free family fun in Leawood

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"Hello, Dolly!" at Leawood amphitheater

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Leawood theater presents its free summer offering in the Park, “Hello, Dolly!” Complete with a large cast, great directing, strong choreography, and an array of colorful costumes.

The show begins at 8 PM July 23, at Iron Horse Amphitheater. Four levels of concrete stairs are available and behind that, plenty of open space abounds for blankets and lawn chairs and picnicking. The venue is very family friendly with easy access from the parking lot to the performance area, and newly added restrooms make the night easy for families.

The show is based on the Thorton Wilder classic, “The Matchmaker,” that enjoyed a successful run on Broadway and eventually attracted the attention of songwriter Jerry Herman, who turned it into the mega-musical, “Hello, Dolly!” The Broadway version catapulted Carol Channing to fame and later became a vehicle for Barbra Streisand when it was turned into a musical film.

The outdoor production in Leawood, is very enjoyable and easy to watch. And expect to see standout performances from several of the cast members. The strongest performance comes from the character of Horace Vandergelder, as played by Dennis Maddux. Maddux is extremely funny with all of his facial expressions, his gestures, and his delivery of lines.

As Dolly, Valerie Dykes, crafted a kinder and gentler Dolly than other productions. Instead of being pushy, bossy, and a busy-body, Dykes makes her sweet, kind and more endearing.

Two other actors that need mention are the comedy duo that perform Barnaby and Cornelius. Jacob Wozniak plays Cornelius Hackl and Setven Ansel James is Barnaby Tucker. Renee Blinn stands out for her beautiful soprano voice as she sings and plays the role of Irene Malloy.

Go early and get a good seat, and then just sit back and prepare to be entertained. The show is always fun and a crowdpleaser. We would station a great job in selecting this show and this cast. Give lots of credit the director, Chris McCoy for assembling a good cast and a creative team to produce this production.

“Hello, Dolly!” Cast: Valerie Dykes, Dolly; Dennis Maddux, Horace Vandergelder; Jacob Wozniak, Cornelius Hackl; Renee Blinn, Irene Malloy; Setven Ansel James, Barnaby Tucker; Morgan Sterrett, Minnie Fay; Lakin Allen, Ermengarde; Aaron Fink, Ambrose Kemper; Julie Fox, Ernestina Money; Kathleen Marx, Mrs. Rose; John Ras, Rudolph; Rob Hallifax, Judge; Stephen Marx, Court clerk.

Waiters/men’s ensemble: Richard Cassidy, Preston Hereford, Daniel King, Stephen Marx, Brady Metcalf, Max Mayerle, Caleb Nugent, John Viso; Male ensemble: James Azeltine, Rob Hallifax, David Lord, John Ras, Lynn Sheek. Female ensemble: Smanatha Aaron, Andrea Azeltine, Dottie Bartlett, Lauren Crane, Jessica Huston, Sharon Hohnson, Diane Marty, Karissa Mehrwin; Featured dancers: Reena Burt, Olivia Carter, Katy Hagen, Emma Lord, Julia Masterson, Maddie Robert, Ashlee Warnke.

Production Staff: Chris McCoy, director/choreographer; Kevin Hershberger, music director; Charlotte Gilman, stage manager, Christine Flaspohler, assistant choreographer; Anna Torchia, dramaturg/assistant director; Jessica Goddard, assistant stage manager; Eric Van Horn, tech director; Libby Bradley, costume design; April Bishop, managing director; Cindy Flaspohler, props; Madi Brooks, production assistant; Leayn Losh, accompanist.

Technical staff: Eric Van Horn, David Powell, set construction; Kristina Banton, Harvest Productions, sound and light; Eric Cooley, Harvest Productions, sound mix; David Powell, light tech; Casey Faircloth, Harvest Productions, microphones; Marcia Putman, graphics; Lauren Crane, marketing; Gage Braunson, Natalie Friend, James Marx, tech crew; Eric Van Horn, Aaron Fink, Charlotte Gilman, Dave Flaspohler, James Marx, Mike Mehrwin, David Powell, Joh Bakker, Gary Goddard, Allen Holmes, Bill Wright, set construction.

Orchestra: Robyn Hartfield, conductor; Leayn Losh, Keyboard; Addie Dickens, Elizabeth W. Mullinax, Michael Pang, Tosh Watanabe, violins; Liz Karre, bass; Robert Hartfield, Kathleen Crilly, cellos; Laura Newport, flute; Jerilyn Main, flute/piccolo; Holly Hague, April Walker, clarinets; Stephanie Cakarevic, clarinet/tenor sax; Beth Frank, alto sax; Michael Marsh, Tom Mullinax, Verne Peterson, Kevin Ross, trumpets; Steven Constance, Dave Lovetere, Ken Tysick, trombones; Bill Brune, Brent Mazan, percussion; Jordan Brown guitar/tuba.

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