The storyline of Hello, Dolly! , is based on an 1835 English play titled, A Day Well Spent. Hello, Dolly! takes place in Yonkers and New York City, NY in the 1890’s and is an exciting and passionate musical. Dolly Levi is a widow who meddles in matchmaker services, dance instruction, and numerous sideline jobs, similar to a girl Friday. Dolly is a brassy, larger than life character, who has set her sights on grumpy Mr. Vandergelder, a wealthy (half-millionaire) business owner in Yonkers, NY. Mr. Vandergelder has hired Dolly to find him a wife, only because he wants someone to cook, clean and be there we he needs them, not because he wants to get married. As Dolly arrives in Yonkers, Vandergelder has just ruffled the feathers of Ambrose Kemper, fiance of Ermengarde his niece. Vandergelder does not think Kemper; a young artist can support his niece and guarantee her a secure life. Dolly approaches Vandergelder’s Hay and Feed store where he gives his arrogant alpha male view in the song, “It Takes a Woman”.
Vandergelder leaves for NYC to march in the 14th street association parade and propose to the window Ms. Molloy, who owns a hat shop. Dolly then begins her meddling and concocts a plan for Ambrose and Ermengarde to be together in a dance competition at the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, to show Vandergelder his ability to be a bread winner for Ermengarde. Dolly also schemes with Vandergelder’s store help, Cornelius and Barnaby to go to NYC and have a well deserved night on the town with two lovely ladies.
One of the ladies being Ms, Molloy, Vandergelders intended proposal. Cornelius and Barnaby blow up tomato cans to create a terrible smell for a good alibi to close the store for the night and set off for Ms. Molloys hat store. Ms Molloy and her helper Minnie open up the store and in come Cornelius and Barnaby pretending to be wealthy customers. As the four engage in small talk and flirt, Vandergelder and Dolly arrive at the store. Cornelius and Barnaby hide, afraid of Vandergelder finding out that they have deserted the store for a night on the town.
After several minutes of awkward small talk, Vandergelder realizes that men are hiding in the shop and decides that Ms Molloy is not the woman for him. Dolly then arranges for Cornelius and Barnaby to take the ladies out to dinner at the Harmonia Gardens . Dolly teaches the gentleman how to dance and they all leave the store to go see the 14th street parade. Dolly catches up with Vandergelder and convinces him to give her one more chance at matchmaking. She arranges for him to meet Ms Simple at Harmonia Gardens that evening.
In the second half of the musical, Cornelius is set to get a kiss from Ms Molloy before the night is over. The broke store clerks get seated at a private table in Harmonia Gardens where the ladies order their meals as if money has no meaning. On the other side of the restaurant, Vandergelder meets Ms Simple but she proves to be neither rich nor elegant as dolly had described and Ms Simple is soon bored and unattracted to Vandergelder, just as Dolly has planned. As the story plays out, Cornelius and Barnaby confess that they have no money and learning that the ladies like them anyway.
Vandergelder watches Ambrose and Ermengarde dance in the restaurant, with Ambrose professing his love for Ermengarde. Dolly and Vandergelder part separate ways that evening and each of the couples leave as well. The next morning, back at Vandergelder’s feed and hay store, Vandergelder realizes that he is alone. All of the characters meet up shortly thereafter tells Vandergelder of their new life plans. Vandergelder admits to dolly that he needs her in his life and states that “Money is like manure.
It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread about, encouraging young things to grow”, a saying that Dolly’s late husband would say. The musical ends with Dolly promising Vandergelder that she will never go away again. I feel that the styles of music in this piece range from romantic to some jazz. Much of the music preformed builds and sustains momentum and some suspense which in turn enhances the plot. This musical was upbeat, energetic and filled with high spirits and I enjoyed it and would recommend it.