On March 27, 2010, a friend met me at the Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre on the northwest side of Indianapolis to see “Hello, Dolly!” – a funny, Tony Award-winning musical about a matchmaker in Yonkers, New York, around the beginning of the last century.
We had a lovely time.
This was my first experience seeing a professional staged production of “Hello, Dolly!” Barbra Streisand was delicious in the movie version that I saw several years ago and I enjoyed an all-volunteer, community theatre production last year while I was an Encore Association judge. In both of those experiences, the title character, Dolly Levi, was a funny busy-body who a) knew how to have a good time and b) missed being able to afford good times as a widow. I felt sympathy for her, but not necessarily empathy.
I came away from the Beef and Boards production feeling empathy and affection for Dolly Levi. Actress Iris Lieberman gives her a warm humanity that is very appealing. Also, Iris is physically tiny but she gives Dolly a big, likable presence. I didn’t know that Iris Lieberman had won a Jefferson Award, presented to outstanding artists each year in Chicago, for her role in “Robert & Elizabeth at the Forum Theatre until I read today the “Fun Facts” sheet provided by Patricia Rettig in my press kit. During the B&B show I just scrawled “I like Dolly!” in my notebook.