by Renee Unsworth
St. Augustine, FL — “And what do you do for a living, Mrs. Levi?” asks Ambrose Kemper in the first scene of Hello, Dolly. “Some people paint, some sew. … I meddle,” replies Dolly.
This classic musical opens June 5 and runs through July 5 on the Matuza Main Stage at Limelight Theatre, 11 Old Mission Ave., uptown St. Augustine.
Hello, Dolly was first produced for Broadway in 1964, winning a record 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical. This was a record that stood for 35 years. Hello, Dolly won Best Musical over Funny Girl starring Barbara Streisand, who would later star as Dolly in the Academy Award winning movie adaptation.
With lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, songs include “It Takes A Woman,” “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Love, Look In My Window,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” and the title song, “Hello, Dolly.” The original cast recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.
“I love this show for the same reason I believe all audiences do,” Blake Osner said, Director of the production at Limelight. “Because it’s essentially a story of underdogs taking a risk at chasing their dreams.”
Hello, Dolly is the story of Mrs. Dolly Levi’s efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, and send his money circulating among the people like rainwater (the way her late husband, Ephraim Levi, taught her).
Along the way she also succeeds in matching up the young and beautiful Widow Molloy with Vandergelder’s head clerk, Cornelius Hackl; Cornelius’ assistant, Barnaby Tucker, with Mrs. Molloy’s assistant, Minnie Fay; and the struggling artist, Ambrose Kemper, with Mr. Vandergelder’s weeping niece, Ermengarde.
The lead of Dolly Levi is played by Kristin Pidcock, a Flagler College alumna who graduated in 2003 with a Theatre Arts degree. Pidcock was last seen as Lady of the Lake in Spamalot in 2013 at Limelight.
What did she do to prepare for her role?
“Making matches! Just kidding. Listening to the music. … A LOT!,” Pidcock said.
“And working out so I don't huff and puff while I sing and dance. I also like to read the script. … Just read it for the story, not actually memorize lines, but look for new little things every time I pour over the script.”
The cast also includes Chase Lawless as Ambrose Kemper; Peter Gutierrez as Horace Vandergelder; Cathy O'Brien as Ernestina; Ella Romaine as Ermengarde; Joe Kemper as Corneilus Hackl; Craig Wickless as Barnaby Tucker; Nicole Outlaw as Minnie Fay; Megan Morton as Irene Malloy; James Desmond as Rudolph Weisenweber; Cathy Swann as ensemble and Rose; Tim Colee as ensemble and Cornelius understudy; Praniti Kudre, Savannah Lawless, Alexander Lawless, Wendy Parkulo, Kyle Thompson, Izabella Noelle Unice, Graciela Fernandez, William Nance, Alex Metrakos, and Paxton Peterson, all in the ensemble.
The musical is choreographed by well-known St. Augustine dance instructors/directors Stephanie Burkhardt (The Dance Company), and Carole Dickens (St. Johns County Center for the Arts at Murray Middle).
Samantha Mack is the Costume Designer, with Alison Zador as Assistant Costume Designer. Other production crew members include Richard Curran-Kelley as Stage Manager, Amanda Arany as Assistant Stage Manager, John Bondi as Set Designer; and Andrew Crews as Sound Designer.
Shelli Long is Musical Director (and keyboard), with live music by musicians Jack Miller on drums; Damon Martin on bass; Greg Balut on trumpet; and Alex Hernandez on woodwinds.
“On the surface, the show first appears to be about fluffy, cupid-style romantic love. But under that superficial surface is a real story of risk,” Osner explained.
“Every character walks out on a limb to find adventure, happiness, success, and yes, love. They are all underdogs, even Horace, and we, the audience, love to see the underdog win in the end.”
In his director’s notes about the cast: “Like the characters they play, each and every member of this cast, crew, and production team has taken risks. I appreciate and admire all of them for facing the challenge head on.”
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 per person. There are no performances on July 4; and two performances on July 5, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
For reservations, call 904-825-1164 or purchase online at limelight-theatre.org. Limelight Theatre is a nonprofit organization located at 11 Old Mission Ave., in uptown St. Augustine. Free parking is available streetside and in the theatre’s parking lot.
LIMELIGHT’S 2015-16 SEASON
Limelight’s new season is just around the corner … with Ring of Fire opening in September. See the schedule below and reserve Early Bird Subscriptions by June 9. Subscription packages are extremely versatile! Choose 16 and use in any combination — 1 ticket to 16 performances, 16 tickets to 1 performance, or anything in between. Call the box office at 904-825-1164 to order a subscription.
Ring of Fire (Musical)
September 18 – October 18, 2015
Matuza Main Stage
24th Season Party: Sept. 17 at Raintree (not included in
subscription) No preview — Terrific Tuesday: Sept. 22
Johnny Cash hits! In 38 musical numbers, a mosaic of American experience is pieced together in Ring of Fire! FAMILY
The Christians (Drama)
October 23 – November 15, 2015
Koger-Gamache Studio Theatre
Preview: Oct. 22 — Annual Gala: Nov. 7 (no show)
Terrific Tuesday: Oct. 27 and Nov. 3
A thought-provoking play which asks, “What does it take to be a Christian in today’s world?” ADULT
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Holiday/Family)
December 11, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Matuza Main Stage, Holiday/Family
Preview: Dec. 10 — Terrific Tuesday; Dec. 15
No shows: Dec. 24-25
New Year’s Eve Event: Dec. 31
A couple struggles to produce a church Christmas pageant. They must cast the Herdman kids — the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem! FAMILY
The Grapes of Wrath (Drama)
January 22-February 14, 2016
Matuza Main Stage
Preview: Jan. 21 — Terrific Tuesday: Jan. 26
A classic by John Steinbeck. Desperately proud, but reduced to poverty by the loss of their farm, the Joads pile their few possessions on a battered old truck and head west for California, hoping to find work and a better life. FAMILY
A Facility for Living (Dark Comedy)
March 4-26, 2016
Matuza Main Stage, Dark Comedy
Preview: March 3 — Terrific Tuesday: March 8
Joe Taylor, a retired actor, moves into a prison-turned-elder care facility shortly after the demise of Medicare and the election of Dick Cheney as President. PG-13
The 39 Steps (Mystery/Whodunit)
April 15-May 8, 2016
Matuza Main Stage
Preview: April 14 — Terrific Tuesday: April 19
Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, and add a dash of Monty Python — this whodunit will keep you on your toes and roaring in your seat! PG-13
Laundry & Bourbon, Lone Star (Two One-Act Comedies)
June 3-26, 2016
Matuza Main Stage & Koger-Gamache Studio
Preview: June 2 — Terrific Tuesday: June 7
Laundry & Bourbon centers on the discontent and very funny gossip of three small-town wives, Elizabeth, Hattie and Amy Lee, whose marriages have turned out to be less than they hoped for. Lone Star is set in the cluttered back yard of a small Texas bar with Elizabeth’s macho husband, Roy, who just returned from Vietnam with tales of war and amorous exploits. ADULT
The Last Five Years (Musical)
July 29-August 21, 2016
Koger-Gamache Studio Theatre
Preview: July 28 — Terrific Tuesday: Aug. 2
An emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The two characters only meet once, at their wedding in the middle of the show. ADULT
St. Johns Magazine