PROVIDENCE — The Tony Award-winning revival of “Hello Dolly” hit the Providence Performing Arts Center last night with style, pizzazz and some attitude — and it didn’t stop there.

The national tour stars Carolee Carmello as Dolly Gallagher Levi, the role played over the years by an elite group of actors: Carol Channing, Barbara Streisand and Better Middler. Carmello, a veteran of 14 Broadway musicals and television shows including “Law & Order” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maise,l” leaves nothing behind in her wake, making her own imprint on this fabulously entertaining, four Tony Award-winning revival.

Dolly, a long-time widow, plays matchmaker for a stingy “half-a-millionaire” business-owner Horace Vandergelder, played wonderfully by John Bolton whose rendition of “It Takes a Woman” and “Penny in My Pocket” were some of my favorites of the night.

Dolly matches Vandergelder to beautiful hat shop owner Irene Molloy, played by the spectacularly-voiced Jenny Hickman, who stuns with the touching “Ribbons Down My Back."

Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, played hilariously by Daniel Beeman and Sean Burns, are the huge comic relief of the group with Hackl helping to convince Malloy that there is more to life than being comfortably financed by a well-off businessman (who just happens to be his boss!).

While seeing love bloom all around her, Dolly comes to her own realization that she has mourned her beloved husband for many years and that it was time to think about her own happiness again. That realization came through in the mesmerizing “Waiter’s Gallop,” an unbelievably choreographed montage of waiters and chefs juggling, dancing and singing right before Dolly’s masterful rendition of “Hello Dolly” that helped to bring the house down.

“Hello Dolly”, a two hour and forty-five minute production with one intermission, is an old-school musical with wonderful songs and dance routines that take you to another, simpler time (the 1890’s to be specific) when the focus on everyone’s mind was how to be happier, never more stressed than in the intimate “Before the Parade Passes By.”

We could all take a few lessons home from “Hello Dolly,” mostly just to focus on how to be happier instead of the opposite and to always work to improve life as well as helping others around you to do the same. The line to take home with you is when Dolly uttered, “money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow” and it’s never been so true. “Hello Dolly” will hopefully help you to think the same and to realize how lucky we are and that we should work to should spread that joy around us, before the parade passes us all by.

 

“Hello Dolly”

Providence Performing Arts Center

March 3-8, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 pm, and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Tickets: $41-$91

Reservations: 401-421-ARTS (2787) or www.ppacri.org.