Triangle Arts and Entertainment – News and Reviews Theatre Dance Music Arts

DPAC’s Hello, Dolly! Is an Absolute Delight

Betty Buckley stars as Dolly Levi in the National Tour of Hello, Dolly! (photo © 2018 by Julieta Cervantes)

Almost every theatregoer knows the story of charming matchmaker and major meddler, Dolly Levi (Betty Buckley). However, her story has never been told in a bigger, bolder, or more fascinating way than in the current revival production at DPAC, directed by Jerry Zaks and featuring the fabulous choreography of Warren Carlyle.

The story, set in 1885, focuses on Dolly, a woman “who arranges things” and her current scheme to marry the “half a millionaire” Horace Vandergelder (Lewis J. Stadlen). Of course, she can’t just come right out and tell him she plans to marry him. Instead, she has to first steer him clear of his current intended, Irene Molloy (Analisa Leaming), and ward off plenty of distractions along the way. As one can expect, this leads to a hilarious story with lots of surprises and tricky situations along the way.

When the audience isn’t busy laughing at one mishap or another, it’s treated to incredible, larger-than-life musical numbers. Carlyle’s choreography is bold, impressive, and fabulously over-the-top. Standout numbers include “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” which features the whole cast decked out in colorful costumes and twirling parasols, and “The Waiters’ Gallop,” where waiters gracefully twirl and leap with silver serving plates in their hands. And, on a smaller, softer scale, “It Only Takes a Moment” is one of the show’s sweetest numbers and adds real heart to the production.

The musical numbers, bold as they may be, cannot detract from the strong performances of the cast. Buckley is funny, scheming, and wonderfully, winkingly lovable in her portrayal of Dolly. Equally charming and funny are Cornelius (Nic Rouleau) and Barnaby (Sean Burns), Mr. Vandergelder’s young employees who have stolen off to New York City for an adventure. Sharing great chemistry, Rouleau and Burns are physically funny and sweetly endearing in all the right ways. They’re perfectly matched with the characters’ female companions, Irene Molloy and Minnie Fay (Kristen Hahn). And, where Leaming’s performance as Irene is sweet and even a little sultry, Hahn’s is hilarious. She steals many scenes with her tittering, silly portrayal of Minnie.

Fabulous costumes, extreme musical numbers, and great acting all add up to make this revival performance one of the biggest, most fun shows at DPAC yet. Long-time fans of the musical and newcomers to the story alike will delight in this feel-good show.

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents HELLO, DOLLY!, starring Betty Buckley as Dolly Levi, at 7:30 p.m. May 22 and 23, 8 p.m. May 24, 2 and 8 p.m. May 25, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. May 26 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.

TICKETS: $31 and up, plus taxes and fees. Click here to enter the digital lottery for $30 tickets.


DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787),, or

Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or

GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587,, or

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THE TOUR:,,–518028,, and






NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 2 p.m. Saturday, May 25th, performance. Guests with a disabilities can find more information by clicking DPAC’s accessibility page.


Hello, Dolly! (1964 Broadway musical): (Tams-Witmark), (2017 Broadway Revival and 2018 National Tour website), (Internet Broadway Database), and,_Dolly!_(musical) (Wikipedia).

Betty Buckley (Big Spring, TX-born actress and singer): (official website), (tour bio), (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), (Internet Movie Database), and (Wikipedia).


Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click To read more of her writings, click,, and

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Categorised in: A&E Theatre Reviews, Lead Story, Reviews