In the wave of the enormous success enjoyed by musicals in Italy in the last two seasons, with productions such as Grease, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and the revival of Rugantino breaking box office records, another Broadway classic is scheduled to hit an Italian stage for the first time next August. Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! will open Aug. 4 a limited run thru Aug. 11 at Trieste's Sala Tripcovich, the Operetta Festival held in the northern Italian city every summer.
Following the limited engagement in Trieste, the show will move for a longer residence at Milan's Musical Village next autumn.
The show is a co-production between Trieste's opera house Teatro Giuseppe Verdi and Musical Italia, the team which was behind Grease and Seven Brides. Hello, Dolly! will be directed by Saverio Marconi, and feature sets by Aldo De Lorenzo, costumes by Zaira De Vincentiis and choreography by Fabrizio Angelini. The book has been translated in Italian by Michele Renzullo and adapted by Marconi, with Italian lyrics by Silvio Testi.
Leading a cast of thirty will be the popular television and stage star Loretta Goggi, and the veteran Italian actor Paolo Ferrari, who will play Horace Vandergelder. Also featured will be Renata Fusco (who recently received a nomination for the first Italian Musical Theatre Award for the role of Rizzo in Grease), Pierluigi Gallo and Gianni Nazzaro.
Hello, Dolly! originally opened on Broadway in 1964 and starred Carol Channing as Dolly. With a book adapted from Thornton Wilder's play The Matchmaker, Hello, Dolly! recounts the tale of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a New York matchmaker who seeks to draw a pompous Yonkers merchant, Horace Vandergelder, into marriage, and eventually falls for him. Among the most popular songs in Jerry Herman's score are "Before the Parade Passes By," "Elegance," "It Takes a Woman" and the rousing title number. Numerous recordings were made of the latter, with Louis Armstrong's version topping the U.S. chart, and winning Grammy Awards as Best Song and Best Male Vocal. Hello, Dolly! won Tony Awards for best musical, book, score, actress, director, choreographer, producer, musical director, scenic design and costumes. The 1969 film version starred Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau, Marianne McAndrew and Michael Crawford. For further information on the first Italian production of Hello, Dolly! visit the Musical Italia website. For additional information on the thirtieth edition of Trieste's operetta festival visit the the Teatro Verdi website.
--By Stefano Curti