PERRY -- Heritage Theatre is calling on a popular matchmaker to bring audiences together.
Opening Friday, June 1, "Hello, Dolly!" will be presented at the theater in Box Elder County.
"Hello, Dolly!" tells the story of Dolly Levi, a New York matchmaker who proudly declares that she "merrily arranges things like furniture and daffodils and lives."
The musical is directed by Mandee Shaffer of North Ogden, who said the show has stood the test of time. Based on a play by Thornton Wilder, the Jerry Herman musical was first produced on Broadway in 1964, where it won a record-breaking 10 Tony Awards. The show largely defined the career of its perky star, Carol Channing, who went on to perform the role in numerous revivals.
Its high-energy, infectious score features a cavalcade of big production numbers -- including "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," "Before the Parade Passes By," "Elegance" and "Hello, Dolly" -- as well as the tenderhearted "It Only Takes a Moment."
"Audiences love it," Shaffer said. "But I think the real reason 'Hello, Dolly!' continues to endure after all this time is the characters. People in the real world can relate to these characters because they are all looking for one thing: happiness and love. That's one thing every human can relate to."
A widow, Dolly has fallen in love with a "half-a-millionaire," a Yonkers merchant named Horace Vandergelder. She proceeds to weave a web of romantic complications involving Horace, his two clerks, a pretty milliner and her assistant.
Shaffer pointed out that both Dolly and Irene, the milliner, are dealing with the deaths of their husbands and realize that they can find love again.
Horace is a bachelor seemingly set in his ways, while Cornelius and Barnaby are two young men who are ready to experience life and the thrill of young love. While it seems like chaos, Dolly has everything under her control, and at the end of the play -- as in true musical theater fashion -- all is sorted out and everyone ends up with the right person, just as she intended.
"The characters may seem like typical musical stock characters, but they really do have some beautiful revealing moments where you see they're just as real as you and I," Shaffer said.
The role of Dolly is played by Shanna Smith of Brigham City. Horace Vandergelder is played by Daren Saunders of Plain City. Phil Tuckett of Salt Lake City plays Cornelius Hackle, Erika Cardon of North Ogden plays Irene Malloy, Alex Patterson of Brigham City plays Barnaby Tucker and Becky Collins of Brigham City plays Minnie Fay. Shaffer said the cast also includes about 14 other performers from along the Wasatch Front.
"Hello, Dolly!" will be performed Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, June 1-30, at the Perry theater.
For reservations, call the theater at 435-723-8392.