Say hello to a new show in town.

Norman High School students will present the musical "Hello, Dolly!" to the public Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

The musical based on Thornton Wilder's book "The Matchmaker" is kept in the popular consciousness by Barbara Streisand's performance in the 1969 movie "Hello, Dolly!"

And the young woman who has the task of filling Streisand's iconic shoes is senior Kelsey Tidwell.

"I really like the musical 'Hello, Dolly!' and I really love Barbara Streisand so that's why I thought it would be fun," Tidwell said. She said she's trying to make the role her own by making it more accessible to a younger audience.

"Some of the stuff in the script I didn't get until someone explained it," she said.

Because the show is set around the turn of the twentieth century, there are many aspects that make it a difficult musical for students to get behind, NHS choral director and publicity director for the show Brenda Webb said.

"I think it took a while for them to buy into the show this year," she said. The students caught onto it in the end, she said, despite what would seem drawbacks to some theatergoers.

"It's a typical musical," Webb said. "You know, they're right in the middle of a conversation and they stop and sing."

Stage director Kasey Harrison has done a good job of helping the students understand and portray their characters, she said.

Senior Michael Denney has risen to the challenge of playing Horace Vandergelder. Denney said it's a challenge to portray someone so different than himself.

"With my character the challenge is trying to be mean," he said.

Bobby Swyers, who plays Barnaby Tucker, said his challenge is keeping up the character's infectious excitement even when he wouldn't naturally be excited.

"Being a little more excitable about things, because I'm not really excited about seeing a stuffed whale," Swyers said. His character, however, is, and gets to say a whole lot of interesting things along the way, which Swyers said he likes.

"Holy cabooses," he gives as an example. "The ridiculous exclamations."

"Hello, Dolly!" performances will be 7 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Nancy O'Brian Center for the Performing Arts, 1308 Stubbeman Ave. at Norman North High School.

Tickets cost $8 for general admission and $10 for reserved seats. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 366-1063.

Julianna Parker Jones 366-3541 jparker@normantranscript.com

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