The Manhasset High School Theatre Department presented Hello, Dolly! after months of rehearsals and preparation. The cast, crew and orchestra gave a magical performance with breathtaking costumes and scenery. The play, filled with romance and comedy, was heartwarming and very entertaining.
Kate Brady, a senior at Manhasset High School, starred as the lead, Dolly Gallagher Levi. Kate’s performance was brilliant, showcasing her incredible acting and breathtaking singing talents. Dolly’s love interest, Horace Vandergelder, was effortlessly played by junior Kevin McAleer. Kevin played the grouchy, stingy Horace with great humor and insight. Sophmores Decker Paterson and Philip Barsky were cast perfectly as Vandergelder’s two employees, Cornelius and Barnaby. Paterson as Cornelius was charming and hysterical, while Barsky as Barnaby was quick-witted and showcased his dancing talent.
Seniors Bridget Blaney (Thursday/Saturday) and Gabriella Tranchina (Friday/Sunday) shined as Cornelius’ love interest, the charming Irene Molloy. Their performances were filled with beautifully sung love songs and wonderful dancing. Molloy’s best friend, Minnie Fay, was played by senior Kristina DiCarlo. DiCarlo and her courter Barsky danced around the stage with elegant pirouettes and challenging leaps.
Additional comic relief was to be had by Jennie Whalen as Ernestina, Elizabeth Guariglia as Ermengarde and Julia Ellinghaus as Rudolph. All three leading ladies are seniors and have been active in Manhasset theatre since middle school. Their roles kept the audiences in stitches throughout the show. Ermengarde’s soon-to-be husband, Ambrose Kemper, was played by Oswaldo Herrera. Oswaldo, a junior, effortlessly fell right into character.
The opening night performance was thrown a curveball when Kate Brady, home with laryngitis, was unable to perform. Understudy Regan Lavin stepped up and played Dolly. Lavin’s performance was wonderful, filled with poise and enthusiasm. Juniors Alexandra Bowman (Thursday/Saturday) and Amanda Capra (Friday/Sunday) played Mrs. Rose. On their off nights they filled the ensemble with great energy, both singing and dancing.
The students cast as ensemble had endless singing and dancing talents as well. Kimmie Brogan, Cara Cobden, Maddie Conner, Emily Cruz, Kristin D’Angelo, Grace DePietro, Alex Hill, Mia Krishnamurthy, Erin Love, Sebastian Macchio, Amanda Naccarato, Lizzy Rutkovsky, Anna Sabo, Lauren Schwartz, Walter Stackler, Isabel Vigliotti and Jenna Weitman made every scene come alive. With the guidance of choreographer Victoria DiCarlo (a Manhasset alumna), scenes featuring “Call on Dolly”, “Before the Parade Passes By” and “The Waiter’s Gallop”, were a joy to watch. Victoria was assisted by dance captain Anna Sabo.
The sets were beautifully designed by Karl Heuglin, who has been working on Manhasset sets for 35 years. With the help of an amazing crew, Heuglin transformed the stage to 1895… a feed store in Yonkers, a hat shop in New York City and the extravagant Harmonia Gardens Restaurant. Behind the scenes, senior Nicole Rinaldi was the technical director/running crew hand. Rinaldi has been working on the crew since seventh grade. Michelle Marcisak, also a senior, was the stage manager/assistant director. Marcisak has been working tirelessly on Manhasset productions for many years as well.
Senior Emma Carr was the makeup crew head. Her gift was evident when looking at the actors on stage. The crew family includes Kellyann Bock (props crew), Jai Nanda (assistant director/production manager/stage manager), Michaela Ryan (costume crew head/scenic art and makeup crew), William Stackler (stage crew), Jack Sullivan (running crew), Troy Beattie (sound crew head), Natalia Farrell-Ortiz (makeup crew), Gavin Friedman (lighting crew head), Adam Smotkin (lighting crew head), Briana Yarrington (props crew head and running crew) and Jonathan LaPlaca (production assistant). Manhasset alumnus Mike Rinaldi, shop supervisor and lead master carpenter, used his talents making Heuglin’s set design a reality.
The show would not go on without Director Robb Fessler. “Fess” is the man with the vision. From casting the students to assisting Heuglin with the sets, Fess is part of every aspect of the production. He brings the costumes to another level by hand sewing them himself, and so the show is ready for Broadway. Another Manhasset alumna Penny Tadler, production assistant, was by Fess’ side working with the students and ready to help in every way. Special thanks to Adelina Hair Design, who donated their time to making the actors look like 19th-century ladies.