The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

April 12, 2013

Sooner Theatre participates in Hello, Dolly! legacy

NORMAN —

A staircase. A red dress. And a sassy matchmaker.

These are the makings of the 1964 Broadway classic “Hello, Dolly!,” that’s playing out on stage at The Sooner Theatre this weekend.

Jennifer Baker, Sooner Theatre executive director, is marking 10 years with the theater by starring as the production’s leading lady. Joining the likes of Carol Channing, Ginger Rogers and Barbra Streisand playing the infamous Dolly, Baker said she is honored to participate in the “Hello, Dolly!” legacy.

With the musical quickly approaching its 50th anniversary, Baker said she is excited to share the beloved story.

“I just love introducing the classics,” Baker said. “We do so many contemporary shows these days it’s just nice to have a classic back in the mix that everyone knows and can hum along with. It’s nice for the audience to have a classic.”

The story takes audiences on a whirlwind race around New York at the turn of the 20th century as they follow the adventures of America’s most beloved matchmaker, Dolly.

Full of memorable songs by Jerry Herman like “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “It Only Takes a Moment” and “So Long, Dearie,” director Matthew Sipress said the show has something for everyone.

“Little kids will love all the farce stuff and all the door slamming and the dancing and the pretty costumes,” he said. “People out on a date will like all the romance. And then there’s the comedy.”

Sipress said the theater’s production will include the choreography from the 1964 original. As a former member of several professional and touring companies of “Hello, Dolly!,” including the 1995 Broadway revival starring Carol Channing, Sipress has a unique perspective on the matter.

“As a director and choreographer I’m passing along history: This historical, iconic choreography,” he said. “I’m doing the original. I’m doing Gower Champion’s original stuff that you saw on stage in 1964.”

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