As the song goes, “there’s no blue Monday in your Sunday clothes” and let me tell you this was no blue Monday after seeing Muse Machine’s production, HELLO, DOLLY, this weekend.
I was proud of my students Tommy Cole as Barnaby, Ana Smith as Minnie Fay and Dolly Levi’s understudy, featured dancer, Marisha Osowski, and 7th grader Sam McLain who was bumped up to work with the high school men to wear a number of hats throughout the production. Marisha and Sam got to experience being one of The Waiters during “The Waiters’ Gallop” and the classic production number, “Hello, Dolly.”
Needless to say, I am very proud of these students, and offer another congratulation on their hard work.
When I first arrived in Dayton, 1990, there were other directors who became legends with the Muse Machine program. Now, helming the productions are producer Doug Merk, director Joe Deer, choreographer Lula Elzy, and music director/conductor Sean Flowers.
I could go on and on about Joe’s staging, Sean’s music, and Doug’s magic making behind the scenes. The true stand out for me in this production was Lula’s spectacular and dazzling designs on the dance. Joe is exceptionally gifted in staging dances, but I am going with the program’s identification of artistic roles.
I’ve loved Lula’s work for years. She’s outstanding. I don’t know what was so different with her work on this production, but it was a phenomenal piece of the show’s artistic puzzle.
I’ve grown rather fond of this directing/producing quartet, Joe, Lula, Sean, and Doug. They’ve got it down to an artistic science and the experience they give the students cannot be beaten. Thank you!
The cast, orchestra, and crew were spot on. The cast delivered a colorful blend of personable characters that were fresh, entertaining, and overabundant with talent.
Something that Muse Machine does strikingly well is the costuming for each production. HELLO, DOLLY was a major WOW! Most often in school or community theatre productions, ensemble performers have one, maaaaaaaybe two costumes during an entire show. Not so with the dazzling troop of costumers at Muse Machine. Many in the ensemble, each year, have three to four, sometimes more, costume changes. I love hearing those in the ensemble rejoicing over the number of costume changes they have and I am grateful Muse Machine clothes the young folks not just for their character needs, but for their confidence and feeling of inclusion, as well.
One young lady deserves a shout out….
Alter High School 10th grader, Sarah LiBrandi gave Dolly Levi a push the moment she stepped off the trolley in the opening number, commanding the enchanting, entrepreneur widow of Ephraim Levi to the final bow with unbelievable maturity, never lessening the healthy performance stamina required of this role. And a shout out to Sarah’s voice teacher, Kandis Wean Gibson, for guiding Sarah masterfully through a score that usually prompts an oft-strained belt-fest; Sarah’s voice remained strong, delightful, and even throughout the production Kudos, Ladies!
Thank you, Muse Machine, for providing another great experience for the students throughout The Miami Valley.
Sarah LiBrandi’s photo courtesy of Muse Machine.