Cap U theatre students prepare for final show
// Victoria Fawkes

“Money is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread about, encouraging young things to grow.” This is just one piece of wisdom from the immense repertoire of Dolly Gallagher Levi, the title character of the classic musical Hello, Dolly!, a production of which is soon to grace the stage of the Birch Theatre, put on by Capilano’s own musical theatre department.

Hello, Dolly! was one of the most iconic blockbuster musicals of the era it debuted in (late 1960s), with the film version starring a young Barbra Streisand in the lead role. It was given lyrics and music by Jerry Hermann, with the story being based on a 1955 play entitled The Matchmaker by Thorton Wilder. It follows Dolly the matchmaker as she travels around turn-of-the-century New York, bringing couples together and leaving hilarity and romance in her wake. The Capilano University presentation includes an all-star class of senior Capilano University musical theatre students and promises to retain its original appeal while adding the kind of charm that the drama program is famous for.

“It’s about a woman who loses her husband and finally finds her way back into living again,” explains Gillian Barber, the director of Hello, Dolly!

Barber has seen and taken part in the enormous amount of work that has gone into the play: “We started rehearsal at the beginning of February, and it takes a good seven weeks to learn all of the music, learn all of the dancing, and learn all of the lines and the blocking, all to get to this point … It’s a lot of time and a lot of love, because it’s not a lot of money, and a lot of effort from everybody in the crew, and the actors rehearse every night,” says Barber.

Barber also explains that the play is the work of many students in different fields, not just the acting students. “The tech department, the acting department, the musical department, the costume department, and the arts and entertainment management department all take part. So it’s a real collegial relationship between a lot of departments.”

The last of the Capilano University theatre company’s four yearly productions, Hello, Dolly! will be the final play put on by Capilano University’s theatre students, many who are set to graduate.

Steffanie Davis, who has been acting since she was eight years old, plays the lead role of Dolly Gallagher Levi and deeply values the chance to play such an important role: “It’s been such a good opportunity. I love this musical; the music; the costumes.” She has also gotten a lot out of the education that Capilano University has provided, and is eager to get out in the real world of acting: “It’s a little bit frightening, but it’s been such a good experience, and the training here is great,” she says.

Paul Almeda, who plays the male lead of Horace Vandergelder, agrees with Davis that they are well-prepared by the Capilano theatre program. “They do a great job, I think, of preparing us for after, so it’s not so much of ‘school to real world’ than it’s more of a smooth transition,” he says.

The play promises to be chock-full of well-loved musical theatre numbers such as “Put On Your Sunday Clothes”, “Ribbons Down My Back”, “Before the Parade Passes By”, “Elegance”, and, of course, the title ballad, “Hello, Dolly!” With a live pit orchestra featuring members from Capilano’s music programs, a cast of Capilano’s best and brightest senior musical theatre students, and a timeless story of love and humour, this is one show sure to be worth checking out.

The play will run from Mar. 29–31 and Apr. 5–7 at 8pm, Apr. 1 and 7 at 2pm, and Apr. 4 at noon. Tickets are $22 for adults, $14 for students and seniors, and $8 for children.

//Victoria Fawkes, staff writer
//Graphics by Stefan Tosheff

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com