Dolly Levi Struts Before The Parade Passes By At LPAC

By Britin Haller

Mention Dolly Levi or Hello, Dolly!, and most people visualize Broadway legend Carol Channing who originated the icon or Barbra Streisand who brought the role to life in the film. Avid theatregoers may recall Pearl Bailey, Dorothy Lamour, Betty Grable, Mary Martin, Phyllis Diller, Bette Midler or even Ethel Merman.

Now, Florida theatergoers can add to their list Angie Radosh.

Radosh is a South Florida legend considered royalty by those in the know and they will look forward to see her strutting her stuff and taking her place among their memories on the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center stage.

As Dolly, the matchmaker with a heart of gold and loads of ulterior motives, three-time Carbonell Award-winning actress, Angie Radosh, is all at once nosy, clever, kind, heart-breaking and funny, and when she speaks to her late husband Ephram, we feel the poignancy of her loss.

Hello, Dolly! burst upon Broadway in 1964, thanks to producer David Merrick and director/choreographer Gower Champion. With a book by Michael Stewart and music & lyrics by the incomparable Jerry Herman, the musical has enjoyed numerous revivals, winning ten Tony Awards along the way. Its most famous song “Hello Dolly!,” which was originally recorded as a promotional tool for the opening month, became a number one hit for jazzman Louis Armstrong, going on to win Grammys for “Song of the Year” and “Best Vocal Performance by a Male.”

For the three of you who don’t know, Hello, Dolly! takes place over 24 hours, and is the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a widow who used to have a wonderful life in New York City with her beloved husband Ephram, but has now found herself alone, and in Yonkers of all places. Dolly is a hustler with a business card for every occasion, and at the moment is acting as a matchmaker for Horace Vandergelder, “the well-known half-a-millionaire,” looking for a wife.

Dolly is also representing her client, Ambrose Kemper, who wants to marry Horace’s niece Ermengarde, but Horace isn’t having that. Dolly has her work cut out for her, but thankfully she is up to the task. “Some paint, some sew, I meddle,” she says, instantly endearing herself to us. And meddle she does.

Horace is going to NYC to see his intended wife, (another widow Mrs. Irene Malloy). His two bumbling, but handsome store clerks Cornelius and Barnaby are supposed to be minding the store (literally) while Horace is gone, but they decide to have an adventure of their own and follow their boss to the big city. When they meet up with the beautiful Irene, and her adorable, chatty assistant Minnie, hilarity, and possibly love, ensues.

Meanwhile, Dolly is doing everything within her power to secure the hand of Mr. Horace Vandergelder for herself, but first, she has to contend with, i.e. get rid of, Mrs. Malloy as his potential bride. Dolly is on a mission to rebuild her life, and if Dolly can’t do it, no one can.

Radosh performs several songs to prompt her journey from grieving widow to happily ever after along, including “Before the Parade Passes By,” a rousing number meant to stir up feelings of coming alive again, “Hello Dolly!” a rousing number meant to let Dolly know she’s remembered and loved, and “So Long, Dearie,” a rousing number whose lyrics both instill a devil-may-care spirit in Dolly and ultimately inspire Horace to do the right thing.

Christopher Dreeson as Horace Vandergelder is a man who is “rich, friendless and mean,” who loves the sound his cash register makes in his hay and feed store, and who decides to take on a new wife to facilitate his housekeeping and stable chores in the funny, but exasperating, “It Takes a Woman.” He’s a bit of a wild stallion who fights Dolly every step of the way in her bid to tame him and get him to eat his beets. Dreeson is a well-known Carbonell-nominated face in the South Florida theatrical world and is always a welcome sight.

Allyson Rosenblum, who LPAC patrons will recognize from her run as Patsy Cline in 2023’s production of Always…Patsy Cline, is the lovely widow Mrs. Irene Molloy, the milliner who hates selling hats. When she belts out the haunting “Ribbons Down My Back” in high soprano, you feel chills down your spine. It’s such a raw performance, we feel almost like we’re intruding on a private moment. “I’ve had love, I’m ready for adventure now,” she says, but if Irene plays her cards right, she may end up getting both.

Sam Joseph and Joel Hunt as Horace’s not-so-faithful employees Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker are treasures. Cornelius has big dreams, bigger than the store cellar they work in now, and responsibility be damned, he will do anything to make them happen. Barnaby isn’t so sure, but goes along for the train ride anyway. Both actors have rich lush voices most notable in their wonderful duet “Put on Your Sunday Clothes.” And how cute does Hunt as Barnaby look in that dainty flowered hat?

Kristi Rose Mills as Minnie Fay, Irene’s sidekick and flustered assistant, is precious beyond words, and she and Barnaby make an adorable pair. Dru Loman is desperate as the artist Ambrose Kemper, who holds his own against Horace and refuses to take no for an answer in his bid to wed the lovely screaming Ermengarde. Erica Kaylee Gouldthorpe attacks the role of Horace’s niece with a high intensity and strong vocal cords. Having to emit high-pitched screams night after night cannot be easy, not to mention all the practicing involved. Get that girl some hot tea, pronto.

At the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, Lovell Rose does lovely work as Rudolph, the charismatic maître d’, and Britte Steele is hysterical as Horace’s bad date Ernestina Money in her yellow and pink monstrosity of a dress. Steele doubles as Dolly’s neighborhood friend Mrs. Rose.

And what a terrifically diversified ensemble under the direction of abfab choreographer Alex Jorth! Jorth, you may recall, was the choreographer for this year’s A Chorus Line and Memphis, as well as last season’s The Full Monty and 42nd Street. From the moment they step on stage to the show’s finale, Bryce Bayer, Nia Bourne, Kalista Curbelo, Eytan Deray, Alexandra Dow, Desir Dumerjuste, Eli Flynn, Santiago Garza, Amanda Lopez, Michael Materdomini, Lovell Rose, Izaiah Scott, Caroline Slagle, Larry Toyter, Alexandra Van Hasselt, and Herbert Welch, give it all they’ve got. Special props to dance captain Stephen Eisenwasser, who in the midst of their big showstopping song and dance number “Hello Dolly!” managed to smoothly pocket a potentially dangerous piece of paper lying on the floor, all the while never breaking his terrific stride. Now that’s talent. And a great dance captain looking out for his cast.

The opening number “I Put My Hand In” is just so much fun. Such broad smiles on all the players tell us they’re having a great time, and its infectious! Other crowd favorites are the all-male “It Takes a Woman,” “Elegance” which wows with its silly, corny (in a great way) moves, “Dancing” where you won’t know where to feast your eyes because it’s really that great, Sam Joseph and Allyson Rosenblum creating a moment in their touching duet “It Only Takes a Moment,” and the classic “Hello, Dolly!” of course/

But the pièce de résistance is “The Waiter’s Gallop.” Watching YouTube videos of the gallop being performed in a multitude of productions prove there is no one right way to attack it, and in this reviewer’s opinion, this is where choreographer Alex Jorth most shines. With props such as buckets for cartwheels, kabobs, napkins, silver trays, and some synchronized jumping needing be seen to be believed, Jorth stretches his dancers to perform a number of truly amazing feats. Kudos to all.

A show of this magnitude has so many people behind the scenes making it great. With a cast of 26, Suzanne Dunn as the company manager, Ireland Brianna as production stage manager, and Richard Forbes, her assistant, all have big jobs. Christian Taylor and William Gibbons-Brown tackle sound and lighting design with expert touches, while Lowell Richard acts as the lighting engineer. Cindi Blank Taylor both designed a set based on the original and filled the role of production manager, while John Blessed oversaw set construction and painting. LPAC’s beautiful proscenium arched stage is put to great use for breaking the fourth wall moments and edge-of-your-seat dance moves.

And the sets and backdrops! Personal favorite is Irene’s hat shop, a whimsical design of white and blue decorated with lace, a clever armoire, and hats of course! The trap door (of sorts) at the feed store is utilized to great effect and humor. And how about that train and the lush exquisite Harmonia Gardens Restaurant? How wonderful if such a place really existed. The set change from the mass pandemonium at the restaurant to the courtroom got a laugh because absolutely nothing was going to stop Dolly from enjoying her gourmet five-star meal.

The costumes and wigs are stunning. The Gilded Age (late 1800s) was one of the most, if not the most, elaborate and breathtaking eras for clothes and hair, and Hello Dolly! transports the audience back to that time. The evening dresses Dolly adorns, especially her big-entrance bedazzled red gown with train and her finale gown, the ladies’ ruffled dresses with corsets and bun pads and gentlemen’s period suits, vests, and top hats (in vivid colors such as peach, yellow, pink, and orange), feathers, parasols, spats, high-button shoes, and the massive amount of hair curls, coils, and twists are under the marvelous direction of costume master Penny Koleos Williams and wig designer Justin Lore (and their teams, including actress Britte Steele.)

The cherry on top of this magnificent sundae is Artistic Director Michael Ursua, a man who wears a thousand faces, all of them well. It’s easy to see why the powers that be at LPAC rely so heavily on his direction, musical direction, and casting genius, because Hello, Dolly! is a masterful creation so enjoyable seeing it only once does not feel adequate. There are so many moving parts the mind can’t possibly take it all in in just one viewing, yet somehow the parts come together so cohesively, it seems almost magical. Nominated for 5 Carbonells himself, Ursua remains approachable, and how nice to see him in the lobby during intermission speaking with his guests and collecting their thoughts.

In the end, Hello Dolly! not only entertains and inspires us, but reminds us of the value of positive thinking as offered up by the endearing Cornelius during a moment of his personal discomfort. “Well then, I’ll be a ditchdigger who once had a wonderful day.”

We should all be so grateful.

Curtain calls are part of the fun, and this one doesn’t disappoint. So “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” or dress comfortably if you wish, and hurry to see Angie Radosh and the gang in Hello Dolly! before the parade passes you by.

Hello, Dolly! plays through April 21 at the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, 3800 N. 11th Place, Lauderhill, FL (NE corner of US 441 and Sunrise Blvd); Shows are Fri-Sat at 7:30 p.m. with Wed, Thurs, Sat, and Sun matinees at 2 p.m. Running time of approx. 140 minutes includes a 15-minute intermission. Tickets starting at $45. Call 954-777-2055, or visit LPACFL.COM. Complimentary parking is easily accessible.

Britin Haller is the Senior Editor for Charade Media. Her latest novel is Dumpster Dying by Michelle Bennington, available where books are sold. Find Britin across social media and at

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