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Review of “Hello, Dolly!”


Last night, July 15, 2011 was opening night for the Raytown Arts Council’s 14th annual Summer Broadway Musical presentation. Due to air conditioner work at Raytown High School, the venue was changed to Raytown South High School. Before it was learned that the production had to be moved, the Arts Council had already paid Tams-Witmark’s royalty, which included licensing for a 700 seat theatre. Since the RSH auditorium seats 1,000, Tams-Witmark required that the unsold 300 seats be cordoned off to prevent their use.

Raytown High School is blessed with an up-to-date state of the art theatre. Not so with Raytown South. This venue is a bare-bones, utilitarian auditorium more suited to school assemblies and pep rallies than serious theatre. Despite the fact that there is no fly space, Director Clifton Dancy did a remarkable job designing sets to take advantage of the spacious stage. The audience was transported back to 1895 by the ingenious use of lighting, authentic costumes, and accouterments to transform the basic set into the various locales required by the script.

The orchestra, under the direction of Bob Cochran was, as usual in these productions outstanding. Bob is an absolutely amazingly talented director who knows the ins and outs of conducting singers as well as instrumentalists, and deserves plaudits for his work.

Whenever you see Julie McDaniel (also an outstanding director of musicals) in a leading roll along with Bruce Marston, you can be sure that you will see a performance full of energy perfectly executed. The supporting cast, made up of a cadre of RAC alumni with a few newcomers, was well rehearsed. The dance routines, choreographed by Jamie Patterson, were amazing. The acrobatic abilities of the dancers, especially in the “Waiters’ Gallop” in the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant scene were astounding! The timing in the comedy bits was not less than perfect, and the props were detailed to a tee. A superb performance by all! This is another Raytown Arts Council DON’T MISS PRODUCTION!

The show will repeat tonight (July 16) at 7:30 PM and again tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 PM. Tickets are still available at the Raytown Hy-Vee and at the box office.

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