Lookin’ swell, Dolly

MHS students bring musical misadventures to stage

Members of the cast of “Hello Dolly!” take to the stage for a dress rehearsal in the auditorium at Maryville High School.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Members of the cast of “Hello Dolly!” take to the stage for a dress rehearsal in the auditorium at Maryville High School.

The latest musical production at Maryville High School is all about love, romance and spending someone else’s money.

“Hello Dolly!” is the classic musical/comedy about Mrs. Dolly Levi’s efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, and send his money circulating among the people like rainwater, the way her late husband, Ephraim Levi, taught her.

Students at the school have been rehearsing and preparing for the production since mid-January. Sherry Petrowski, drama teacher and chair of the Fine Arts Department, said students are enthusiastic about the upcoming production set for this weekend, March 5, 6 and 7.

“It’s going well. The kids are very excited,” said Petrowski. “Tickets are on sale, and folks are welcome to come by during the school day if they don’t want to stand in line at the ticket booth the night of the show.”

The drama teacher said the students do two or three non-musical productions each year but they only put on one musical annually. The spring show brings together a wide variety of students.

“As far as uniqueness, it’s the only production we do that combines all the disciplines of our Fine Arts. It encompasses a huge population of our student body,” she said. “We have the drama students. We have the Maryville Singers or student orchestra. We use the Desktop Publishing class for the programs, and we use the art department when we need them for painting and designing.”

Petrowski said the biggest challenge to each spring’s musical is pacing because she and music director Dr. Ken Hawkins don’t get the students until after they return from winter break in the middle of January.

“We open the first weekend of March, so the pacing is very important. We come in and stay on schedule so that kids can be comfortable and confident and feel good about what they’re doing,” she said. “Over the course of the years of doing musicals, we have found a formula that works as far as pacing and directing a huge number of students toward a common goal. We stick to that formula.”

Petrowski said one of the aspects of each musical she finds gratifying is how hard the students work and how they buy into each production. “Each year the cast sets the standard for the following year, so kids come in with the bar raised already,” she said. “Nobody wants to be in the first cast that doesn’t perform up to expectations. Everybody works very hard to make it the best show.”

“Hello Dolly!” is based on a book by Matthew Stewart with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. “Hello Dolly!” is the story of the joy of living, glittering with happy songs, shining with loving scenes and alive with the personality of one of the most fabulous characters on the musical stage - Dolly Gallagher Levi. Classic musical numbers include “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” Elegance, It Only Takes a Moment” and “So Long Dearie.”

Show times for the students’ production are 7:30 p.m. March 5 and 6 and 2:30 p.m. March 7 in the Maryville High School auditorium.

Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults. Tickets are on sale during the school day in the lobby of the auditorium. For more information, call 865-982-1132 or email: slpetrow@ci.maryville.tn.us.

The cast includes Kristina Conner as Dolly Levi; Alex Ackermann as Horace Vandergelder; Tre Slezak as Cornelius Hackl; Davis Shoulders as Barnaby Tucker; Brie Sison as Irene Molloy; Allison Short as Minnie Fay; Anthony Sison as Ambrose Kemper; Alyssa Ussery as Ermengarde; Emma Wright as Ernestine; Jamie Alley as Rudolph; Colbe Wilson as Mrs. Rose; David Cox as Stanley; Alan Frisco as First Waiter/Cook; Lucas Johnson as Second Waiter/Cook; Josh Carson as Judge; Christian Underwood as Policeman; John Schmidt as Court Clerk; Will Shaffer as Waiter 1 and Jordan Young as Waiter 2.

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