Performances play to May 18 at the historic theatre.
Based on Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, a play about Yonkers residents seeking romance and life in Manhattan, Hello, Dolly! has music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Michael Stewart. The score includes "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," "Before the Parade Passes By" and "It Only Takes a Moment."
Schaeffer, who is artistic director of Arlington's Signature Theatre, said in an earlier statement, "Our production reinterprets the classic show with new orchestrations, character-driven staging for a 16-member cast and inventive dance numbers. It is a thrill to direct, at Ford’s Theatre, such an iconic show that had its pre-Broadway beginnings in Washington, DC."
The cast also includes Carolyn Agan, Carolyn Cole, Zack Colonna as Barnaby Tucker, Morgan Cowling, Maria Egler, Ben Lurye, Gregory Maheu as Cornelius Hackl, Harris Milgrim, Peter Mills, Tracy Lynn Olivera as Irene Molloy, Alex Puette, Jp Qualters, Stephen F. Schmidt, Kyle Vaughn, Merrill West and Lauren Williams as Minnie Fay.
The Ford's production is the first in Washington since Carol Channing reprised her famous role at the Kennedy Center Opera House in 1995. Opel makes her Washington-area debut. Her recent credits include Broadway's Memphis, Paradise Found (London) and Off-Bradway's The Toxic Avenger (Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics and Lucille Lortel nominations). Her Broadway credits include Gypsy (with Patti LuPone and Arthur Laurents at City Center), Fiddler on the Roof, Urinetown (Tony nomination), Triumph Of Love, Anything Goes, Sunday in the Park with George, Evita and others.
Gero recently appeared at Ford's Theatre as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. His many Washington credits include the role of Rothko in Arena's production of Red and more than 70 productions for the Shakespeare Theatre Company including King Lear with Stacy Keach, among others. His regional credits include productions for Baltimore's Center Stage, Goodman Theatre, Round House, Signature, Studio and others. Gero is a 14-time nominee and four-time recipient of the Helen Hayes Award for roles in Skylight (Studio Theatre) and Shakespeare's Henry IV, Richard II and Macbeth (Shakespeare Theatre Company).
The creative team includes choreographer Karma Camp; music director James Moore; scenic designer Adam Koch; costume designer Wade Laboissonniere; lighting designer Colin K. Bills; sound designer David Budries; orchestrator Kim Scharnberg; wig and makeup designer Cookie Jordan; production stage manager Craig A. Horness; and assistant stage manager Taryn Friend.
Ford's Theatre is at 511 10th Street NW, Washington, DC. For tickets and information, visit fords.org.