DALLAS — “Money, money, money … it’s like the sun we walk under … it can kill or cure.”
Dolly Gallaher Levi, the namesake character of “Hello Dolly!”, wants it to be a cure.
But before she can use it as such, she must travel to Yonkers, New York, and marry the man who has it.
That is the premise of Dallas High School Theatre’s production of “Hello Dolly!”, which opens Thursday and runs through Saturday in Dallas High School’s Bollman Auditorium.
Lucky for her, among Dolly’s eclectic and curious array of occupations is matchmaker.
“She meddles with people’s lives. Along with putting couples together, she also does a lot of other things. She’s a lawyer, she specialized in piercing ears, replugging pierced ears, reducing varicose veins and other miscellaneous things,” said Hadley Nelson, who plays Dolly.
This time, she will have to use that talent for meddling to her own advantage to net the Scrooge-like Horace Vandergelder, the owner of Vandergelder’s Hay and Feed. That requires some trickery.
“Throughout the play, she matches him up with Irene and Ernestina and other girls, but through that she kind of draws him towards her,” Nelson said.
A widow in the 1890s, Dolly needs to find a mate — and one with money is all the better.
“Her point is she wants to get with him for his money, so she can distribute it to all poor people and young people in the world,” said Landan Anderson, who plays Barnaby Tucker.
Young, naive and shy Barnaby is a beneficiary of Dolly’s advice on making a favorable impression on someone.
“He just meets her at a hat shop one day, and she teaches him to dance so he can find a woman to hang out with, and marry one day,” Anderson said.
Not just Barnaby, but his equally awkward friend, Cornelius Hackl. The pair meet Irene Molloy and Minnie Fay at the hat shop. Anderson said it’s his favorite scene of the musical, and it’s an example of the humor that runs throughout “Hello Dolly!”
“It’s just so wacky. The guys don’t know how to talk to girls,” Anderson said. “They’ve never talked to women before, so they come up with these absurd lines that make no sense.”
The underlying message of the comedy is finding the courage to be yourself.
“I think that it talks about finding who you are as a person and the journey you take to do that,” said Marykate Buhler, the assistant stage manager. “And kind of letting go of the loss of losing somebody that you love.”
Nelson said Dolly’s pivotal scene is when she sings “Before the Parade Passes By.”
“It’s this moment where Dolly can be genuine and real with how she feels,” Nelson said. “I’m going to get in step. I’m going to get my life back together. Be my own person instead of just messing with other people’s lives.”
Nelson added that while Dolly at first seeks to catch a rich man, albeit to help others, she finds there’s more to Horace than his miserly reputation.
“I think that there’s a little bit of feeling there,” Nelson said. “She thinks he’s charming.”
Director Blair Cromwell wrote in the director’s notes on the play that “Hello Dolly!” is about “celebrating the impulse to take a risk.”
“Do that thing you have only dreamed of doing. Tell that person you love that you love them,” she wrote. “Take that trip. Try that food. Do that dance. Say you’re sorry. Life is an amazing opportunity, so live large and exhaust every possibility. Do it before your parade passes by.”
What: “Hello Dolly!”
When: Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m.
Where: Bollman Auditorium, 1250 SE Holman Ave., Dallas
Ticket: $7 online at https://goo.gl/kHEVrn. $8 at the door.
Of note: Based on the play “The Matchmaker” by Thornton Wilder. Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman. Book by Michael Stewart.