Published July 3, 2018 | By Adrienne Proctor
Summer is hot, and Summer at the Civic is even hotter! Rolling out three shows in a five-week span, Lyric Theatre is pulling out all the stops for their second show of the series. They’re welcoming back Dee Hoty, 3-time Tony nominee and Lyric Theatre favorite, to star as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! Hoty returns to the Lyric after her 2014 performance in A Little Night Music. Hello, Dolly! also stars George Dvorsky as Horace Vandergelder, Bailey Maxwell as Ernestina, Jackson Walker as Ambrose Kemper, Megan Carpenter as Ermengarde, Matthew Alvin Brown as Cornelius Hackl, Gordie Beingessner as Barnaby Tucker, Virginia Newsome as Minnie Fay, Kristy Cates as Irene Molloy, and Vince Leseney as Rudolph.
Lyric’s Associate Artistic Director Ashley Wells is directing this fully-orchestrated musical. Wells and choreographer Matthew Sipress both worked alongside the original Dolly, Carol Channing, in a recent Broadway Revival of the show. Of Hoty, Wells says “I can’t wait to see Dee Hoty play the remarkable Dolly Levi… I am excited to get to work with her on a show that holds a special place in my heart. Matthew and I are looking forward to sharing this amazing classic with Oklahoma audiences.”
First seen on the Broadway stage in 1964, Hello, Dolly! has enjoyed four revivals, including a current run starring Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce. There have also been four West End Productions, a movie, a tour, and a record 10 Tony wins. That’s a resume no other show can touch! It’s the quintessential tale of a widowed Matchmaker named Dolly, and it’s a romp for the ages. Hello, Dolly! is as recognizable as it is iconic, and the musical numbers are classics. The choreography is head-turning, the comedy is side-splitting, and it promises a great time!
Lyric Theatre’s sets and costumes are always noteworthy additions to their spectacular productions. For Hello, Dolly!, set design is by Kimberly Powers and the memorable costumes are by Jeffrey Meek. Music direction is by David Andrews Rogers. Props design will be by Courtney Strong, with lighting design by Helena Kuukka and Julie Meyer as production stage manager.
I spoke with actor Gordie Beingessner via email. Beingessner is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and is a recent graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Beingessner is in all three productions of Lyric’s Summer at the Civic series this season. Beingessner plays Barnaby Tucker in Hello, Dolly! and took some time out of his busy rehearsal schedule to answer our questions below:
AP: What are you most looking forward to about Hello, Dolly? What do you think audiences will love?
GB: Hello, Dolly! is a hilarious musical theatre classic and I am overjoyed to be a part of the production. I love any opportunity to be a part of a highly comedic show, and to be able to share the stage with Dee Hoty, George Dvorsky and Kristy Cates is so delightful. The show is quite ridiculous, yet at its core it is so incredibly heartfelt and sincere. I think that that is what audiences will love most about it- watching these wonderfully eager and lovely characters go through completely ridiculous situations whilst looking for the adventure of a lifetime.
AP: What do you like about this current role?
GB: I love playing the character of Barnaby Tucker. He is a 17-year-old boy who has had next to no life experience and his journey in the play is full of so many wonderful discoveries. He is constantly at a level 10 stress about how much money he and Cornelius Hackl have left, which having just graduated university, I relate to strongly. What I love most about him is his determination, his loyalty to his friend Cornelius Hackl, and his journey to discover the courage to stand up for himself.
AP: You were in 2 of the 3 summer series shows this season! Great work! What has that experience been like?
GB: I’m actually in all three shows this season! Last week while we were performing Freaky Friday at night, we would rehearse Hello, Dolly! during the day, which was a whirlwind to say the least. If I managed to say my lines, sing my notes, eat food and get sleep every day I would count the day as a success. To say I was tired is the understatement of the century, BUT it is so exciting and inspiring to be a part of such a fast and thrilling process. We put up each show in under two weeks, and we had mostly blocked all of Hello, Dolly! in five days. Crazy town! I love working at Lyric Theatre and I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to do so.