Say hello to Hello, Dolly!
By Amelia Killackey and John Benson
In a little under two months, Packer students and faculty will be treated to a performance of the hit musical, Hello, Dolly! in the Pratt Theatre. Widely considered to be one of the best shows to ever come to Broadway, this ten-time Tony-winning comedy is sure to make you laugh and smile.
The story follows Dolly, played by Talia Hartman-Sigall (‘20), who is a widowed matchmaker tasked with finding love for the miserly yet wealthy merchant, Horace Vandergelder. Throughout the musical, Dolly meddles with the lives of other characters in an attempt to find happiness for herself.
Ali Boag, director of this musical and Head of the Arts Department, said that there was much deliberation and many requests from students when it came to choosing the play. They landed on Hello, Dolly! because it supplies an enormous ensemble cast. In fact, this 34 person company will be the largest the Pratt has ever seen.
Mr. Boag additionally feels that the sentiment of Hello Dolly! fits well with what is happening in our community and greater society right now. He says the central theme of the play is “a really charming story about people who are fine but a little bit stuck. Over the course of the narrative, they all learn how to have more fun and a better time in life.” He thinks that this can be applied to Packer life and students who are struggling under the weight of the stress of college applications and even the current political situation. He believes that students, like the characters, must “recognize what is going on and seek in small ways to make it better.”
Talia, who is a key member of the Packer theatre program, says that “Hello, Dolly! is generally regarded as a perfect musical.” While she points out that “it is not necessarily the deepest musical because it is frothy and fun and cheesy” she thinks that if audience members search for richer meaning, they will see that “the motivation for all of the characters is to live in joy, go on an adventure, do something that you have never done before and create the best possible day for yourself.”
Izabella Lizarazo (‘20), who plays Irene Molloy, is especially excited to be a part of this show because of the autonomy of the female characters in it. Elli Stern (‘23), who plays Mrs. Rose, voices a similar sentiment, saying that “[Dolly] is a strong female lead who is manipulative but in a cool way.”
As this musical marks the last theatre event of the school year, seniors are looking back on their time acting at Packer. Talia, a long time veteran of the Packer theatre scene, believes that Hello, Dolly! will be her fifteenth Packer production. She says that she has made some of her best friends in this theatre program and that she has “learned more in Packer’s theatre department than anywhere else except [her] own home.” She says, “regardless if people are similar or different outside the Pratt, this bonds everyone in a really special way. I think that this is true generally in theatre but I found that it is especially true in Packer shows, which speaks to the community at Packer but also the way that Mr. Boag and Packer set up the arts department.”
Izabella, who will also be ending her Packer theatre career with Hello Dolly! as well, believes that the department has given her a happy place. She states that “even if I have the worst day possible, I go down to the musical rehearsals and I immediately feel brightened up.” She says, “I am sad I need to leave but I have all of these memories that mean so much to me and they will stay with me forever.” Make sure to not miss Hello, Dolly! on April 23rd to 25th in the Pratt Theatre. As Talia says, “being able to just sit back for two hours and watch people be excited about simply walking down a street is really special. I think that is why Mr. Boag chose [Hello, Dolly!] and I think it will be exactly what Packer needs.”