I went to see Hello Dolly at the Fords Theatre in Washington DC the other night and absolutely loved it. You expect Carol Channing to take the stage or Barbara to sing in her NY accent, but instead of having a lead that you would expect, Broadway Veteran Nancy Opel took on the role of Dolly Levi and absolutely killed it! She was amazing! When you have a show where there are no special effects and just props and place it in a small theatre where the lights are basically always on and you can see the audience, you have to rely on acting and talent. That is exactly what Nancy Opel and the rest of the cast did.
Instead of worrying about having a giant flying gown or flying monkeys, they used their ability to act, sing and dance to take an audience of all ages and make everyone pay attention for the entire show. Some of the best characters were Barnabe or Zack Colonna who was perfect at playing a dumpy but cute dimwit and his facial expressions and presence were amazing. You have Nancy Opel who completely stole the role of Dolly Levi and gave it her own twists and made it unique. One thing she also did was take some of the songs and add in her own drops, notes and belting and it sounded perfect. It’s rare to get the sound working perfectly during an entire show, but somehow they did it and pulled it off so that everyone sounded amazing, no one’s voice took over and the entire cast interacted perfectly with each other vocally. One last mention was the taller dancer. You hit every step and did a great job, but you were showing off a bit to much and sort of took away from the other dancers. You were amazing, but you also ruined the routines by trying to hard and really overdoing it with your hands, arms and lines. You should try to fit in so people don’t keep looking over and so that you don’t ruin the routines which were actually extremely well done. Especially when they are at the restaurant in the end.
When I was a little kid I got to see Hello Dolly with Carol Channing in it. Although I didn’t get most of the show, Carol kept me entertained the entire time. Although Nancy did an amazing job as Dolly, I did notice the kids would get slightly bored, but she did eventually bring them back with the added comedy to the show. If you are thinking about going to see Hello Dolly at Fords Theatre and need tickets, don’t pay full price for them. I was able to find discounts at almost 50% off on tickets to Hello Dolly at the Ford’s Theatre by using one of my advertisers. I included a link in the top right section of this post. Just click on the banner and you’ll go to their site. Enter a new username, create a password and enter your zipcode and you’ll instantly have access to discounts on a ton of tickets including shows at the Kennedy Center, Spamalot at the National Theatre, Miss Saigon at Signature theatre and Discount tickets to Hello Dolly at the Fords Theatre. If you don’t live in DC, they have discount broadway tickets in almost every major city and some smaller cities to so check it out to see if they have your city listed.
“Wake up Franklin, you’re going to New Brunswick. Why the hell would I do that? For the whoring and boozing!” Then Ben Franklin goes running out the door. That’s only one of the fun quotes and lines from the musical 1776 at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. Tonight was the previews night and the cast was giving it their best. So how was it and would you go see it?
1776 is the story of the beginning of the American Revolution. The musical and cast made you feel proud to be an American. The stage was well done and the set was well designed with the hanging windows, the calendar that drops and the use of chairs, desks and tables. The singing was an average cast with no one that really stood out, except for the blond girl Erin Cruse who played Martha Jefferson. Her voice was absolutely wonderful during the song He Plays the Violin. Unfortunately her acting seemed a bit fake or off, but it was previews so the cast was adjusting still and I know she is going to completely kick butt through the rest of the run. Everyone has an off night and previews can be rough. She did an excellent job for a show in Previews and her voice was amazing.
Another notable Actor in the production was Christopher Block who played Ben Franklin. He brought the stage to life and was absolutely perfect for the role. He sort of reminded me of a Ben Stein, but with facial expressions and inflection in his voice and tone. His expressions, gestures and overall performance outdid every other cast member on stage. Some members were overacting, others disappeared, but nobody could stop watching Christopher on stage.
Abraham Lincoln's chair at Ford's Theatre
Overall the cast did a great job and made the 2 hour+ show go by fast. They kept the audience entertained and also brought us back to a time when America was ready to revolt. A lot of the issues that we faced back then seem to also be relevant right now. I love the opening line about 1 incompetent person, 2 incompetent people being a law firm and 3 or more being congress. It sounds a lot like out congress today. They talked about congress representing their own interests and treating the American people as a business instead of who they are supposed to be looking out for. Seeing 1776 in the Ford’s Theatre where Abraham Lincoln was shot and in Washington DC also added to the drama and effect of the show. I do recommend going to see the show, but if you are looking for amazing dancing, tons of effects and overdone shows, this is not one for you.
1776 at Fords Theatre in Washington DC is more of a classic show like Fiddler on the Roof that relies on acting, singing and costuming to entertain and capture you. The songs are great, but not high energy and the dancing is minimal. There is also a ton of talking instead of one song into the next. 1776 at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC is worth seeing if you want to feel proud of being an American and learning about how the American Revolution got started. I give it 3 out of 5 stars and do recommend it. You can buy tickets to 1776 at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC by clicking on the banners for Goldstar or Ticket Liquidators in the right hand side of this post.