Lynnfield native and Broadway veteran Jacquelyn Piro Donovan will step in to play the part of the lovable matchmaker. Last year, with only four days notice, Donovan stepped in to the same role for an injured Cybill Shepherd at North Carolina Theatre.
In a statement Luft said, "I am heartbroken that I will not be able to play the fantastic character, Dolly Levi. But, my doctors are telling me that Dolly cannot wear a back brace and walk with a cane! I wish Jacqui and the entire cast the best of luck and I can't wait to be in a future production at the North Shore Music Theatre.”
The cast will also star Tony winner Gary Beach as the miserly half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder with Analisa Leaming (Irene Malloy), Matt Loehr (Cornelius), Eric Mann (Barnaby), Mara Newbery (Ermengarde), Sarah Peak (Minnie Fay) and Cary Tedder (Ambrose).
The ensemble includes Kristine Bennett, Scott Brateng, Jack Doyle, Rachel Fairbanks, Thomas Gibbons, Leeds Hill, Eric Huffman, Matthew Warner Kiernan, Stephanie Moskal, Dennis O'Bannion, Ellen Peterson, JP Qualters, Kevin Santos, Casey Shea, Tara Sweeney and Kyle Vaughn.
Charles Repole will direct the production with choreography by Michael Lichtefeld and musical direction by Craig Barna. The creative team also includes Erik D. Diaz (scenic designer), Paula Peasley-Ninestein (costume coordinator), Ken Smith (lighting designer), Michael Eisenberg (sound designer), John Godbout (production stage manager), Natalie A. Lynch (assistant stage manager) and Cassandra Marsh (assistant music director). Based on Thornton Wilder’s 1955 play The Matchmaker, Hello, Dolly! features a book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. Song titles include “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Before the Parade Passes By” and “It Only Takes a Moment.”
For tickets and additional information call (978) 232-7200, visit www.nsmt.org, or visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly.