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Dos Pueblos High School Says Hello to ‘Dolly!’

Performances of the fully staged musical production open Friday

Senior Hannah Gunson stars as Dolly Gallegher Levi in Dos Pueblos High School’s upcoming production of Hello, Dolly, opening Friday in the Elings Performing Arts Center.

Senior Hannah Gunson stars as Dolly Gallegher Levi in Dos Pueblos High School’s upcoming production of Hello, Dolly, opening Friday in the Elings Performing Arts Center.  (Peter McCorkle photo)

By Corinne Ruth for Dos Pueblos High School |

The newly named Elings Performing Arts Center at Dos Pueblos High School will come to life with a fully staged production of the classic musical Hello, Dolly!, with performances at 7 p.m. April 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 and matinees at 2 p.m. April 16 and 23.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Click here to order online.

With lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, Hello, Dolly! is based on Thornton Wilder’s farce The Matchmaker. Hello, Dolly! won the Tony Award for Best Musical and nine other Tonys. The show has become one of the most enduring musical theater hits, enjoying three Broadway revivals and international success.

Although Dolly was also made into a 1969 film starring Barbra Streisand, this student production is staying true to the original Broadway version starring Carol Channing, and directed and choreographed by Gower Champion. Dolly features such memorable songs as “Before the Parade Passes By,” “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” and the hit song Louis Armstrong helped make famous, “Hello, Dolly!”

The Dos Pueblos High production boasts a professional guest directorial team with strong local, regional and national credits. Director Rod Lathim founded and served as artistic director of the award-winning, international touring company Access Theater (1979-1996). He has written, directed and produced original musicals and dramas, as well as produced films including the documentary Citizen McCaw. Lathim is also known for his leadership of the renovation of the Marjorie Luke Theatre and recently produced Glee at The Luke.

Both Lathim and choreographer Peter McCorkle are native Santa Barbarans, students of Marjorie Luke and veterans of Santa Barbara stages. McCorkle is re-creating Champion’s original choreography from the Broadway production.

Dos Pueblos students Kevin Herald, Emma Rennick and Logan Michaels perform a scene in Hello, Dolly.
Dos Pueblos students Kevin Herald, Emma Rennick and Logan Michaels perform a scene in Hello, Dolly! (Peter McCorkle photo)

“My Santa Barbara Junior High School theater teacher, Marjorie Luke, took me to see the 1977 revival of Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing,” McCorkle said. “I remember the choreography being sparkling and boundless, in the air, with dazzling moments that synced up exactly with the score. The dancing told the story and gave a forward momentum to the show. Restoring the original choreography makes the production shine and pop, allowing today’s students and theater-goers to experience Dolly as it was originally conceived.”

Award-winning costume designer Miller James serves as the resident costume designer for Westmont College and has assisted costume students at Dos Pueblos for five years, two of whom have gone on to college to study fashion and costume.

Hello, Dolly! marks the sixth year in a row that musical director John Douglas has been involved in theater at Dos Pueblos.

“Of the dozens of Broadway musicals produced in Santa Barbara-area schools for which I have put together student orchestras, I have never encountered the level of anticipation and excitement that the student musicians at Dos Pueblos High School have shown for Hello, Dolly!,” he said. “I cannot walk through the halls at DPHS without a student coming up to me and asking me when the music is going to arrive. It sure makes my job easier!”

Scenic and lighting designer Patricia Frank is an adjunct lecturer, technical director and designer at SBCC. She has been involved in more than 100 theatrical productions in the past 25 years.

Dos Pueblos senior Hannah Gunson was chosen for the role of Dolly Gallegher Levi, the matchmaker who “meddles” in lives and sets her sights on marrying one of her clients, the gruff, but rich Horace Vandergelder.

“Being Dolly, while demanding, is such a joy,” Gunson said. “Along with the pressure, there’s just an excitement that comes from knowing there will be moments where I’ll have to fill the whole stage with energy and emotion. It’s definitely going to be worth it.”

In addition to sets being built by the DP Stage Crew, Hello, Dolly! features extensive, professional, multilevel sets and vintage backdrops from Los Angeles that fill the large stage to its capacity.

Hello, Dolly! is such an exciting show to put on from a technical perspective because it is such a large production and a Broadway classic, with huge sets and drops,” stage manager Camille Rohrlich said. “The whole crew has been working really hard all to overcome any technical challenges and make it all come together, with both the parts that we are renting and those that we are making ourselves. It’s going to be a really fun and challenging show, and I can’t wait to put it all together with the actors, the music, the costumes and the set.”

A reunion gathering of Hello, Dolly! alums from San Marcos High and SBCC’s production will take place on Saturday onstage after the 8 p.m. performance.

Dolly is a big show, in every sense of the word,” Lathim said. “We have a big new theater at Dos Pueblos, a big, talented cast, big sets, drops, costumes and full orchestra. They don’t write shows like this anymore. It is wholesome, family-friendly and a classic landmark of the American musical theater.”

— Corinne Ruth is a senior at Dos Pueblos High School.




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