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Hello Dolly hits Howard stage

Relive the classic musical this March when ORU Theater brings renown hit, “Hello Dolly” to Howard Auditorium. Along with cast and crew, director Laura Holland gears up for the musical production of the year.

“Hello Dolly” was a show on Broadway in the 1930s, and centers around the main character Dolly Levi.

“It’s about a matchmaker widow that has decided that she is going to join the human race again and that she’s going to marry again,” Holland said.

The lead role is played by senior Kelsey Carroll, who hits the stage one last time as Dolly Levi, a character she feels like she can relate to.

“Dolly is just a really good character for me I think because she’s big and not very subdued and I have a really big presence I think,” Carroll said.

Not only does Carroll feel comfortable tackling the role as Dolly, but Holland also expressed her satisfaction with the cast.

“We’ve got a great cast and I’ve got an outstanding Dolly,” Holland said. “That’s the one thing you worry about when you cast the show and I have a wonderful Dolly… It takes an army to do a show like this and I have a stage manager and two assistant stage managers backstage and then it takes a crew.”

Alongside Carroll, junior William Acker will play the role of Cornelius Hackl, a character the audience will soon learn is ready to come out of his shell and not only take risks, but discover love as well.

“We’re a lot alike,” Acker said. “We’re both naive, we’re both goofy, we’re both loyal to whoever we’re under and to the relationships we have.”

Returning to the stage for his third musical with ORU, Acker hopes to gain a newfound experience throughout the duration of “Hello Dolly.”

“With each musical that I’m in, I try to learn something about myself from the character,” Acker said. “And so from this character I hope to come out of my comfort zone and go after things because I think in order to get out of your rut in life you have to do something that’s out of yourself.”

Contributing to the production, Holland has brought in choreographer Lesley Jennings and guest set designer, Sean Irish. Jennings was on Broadway for 10 years and now teaches in schools in Tulsa.

“The choreography is wonderful,” Holland said. “She’s making non-dancers, dancers.”

Award-winning set designer Sean Irish also will be joining the “Hello Dolly” crew in designing sets for the biggest production of the year.

“It’s going to be stunning,” Holland said. “It’s going to be a feast for the eyes and a feast for the ears.”

While she’ll be gracing the Howard stage one last time in this production, Carroll believes that “Hello Dolly” is sure to make an impression.

“It’s going to be a really big production,” Carroll said. “The set is big, the cast is big. I think this is a good musical for ORU because it’s very light…people can just come in [and] laugh and not take the show seriously.”

“Hello Dolly” will be performed in Howard Auditorium March 7-9 at 7:30 p.m. and March 10 at 2 p.m.

“People walk away from this show humming the tunes and feeling happy and that’s what it’s all about,” Holland said. “It’s a comedy that they’re going to laugh, the characters are fun they’re farcical and they all will just have a good time.”

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