She had us at ‘hello!’


(Photography courtesy of John Jones & Mikaela Baker)


If as the song goes “It only takes a moment to be loved a whole life long,” then Theatre Sheridan’s production of Hello Dolly! will make you fall in love the moment the orchestra strikes the first note.

Starring the enchanting Laura Larson in the title role, Hello Dolly! follows matchmaker Dolly Levi as she seeks a suitable partner for “half a millionaire” Horace Vandergelder, played by Tom Davis. Dolly has no intention of seeking a suitable partner for Horace, as she intends to marry him herself.

Along the way, Dolly drags shop clerks Cornelius Hackl (Lucas Popowich) and Barnaby Tucker (Cameron Francis) into the mix of Dolly’s secret recipe – meddling.

Based on the book by Michael Stewart with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, Theatre Sheridan’s telling of Hello Dolly! is one that draws in audiences old and young.

The majority of the audience was in their twilight years, and frequently lit the theatre with giggles and laughter.


The simple antics of the cast were enough to put a smile on one’s face, from Larson’s winks and subtle sexual tension to Francis’ animated rubber face.

Dolly is an interesting protagonist – she comes across as a truly terrible person, yet you want her to succeed.

“At the end of the day, she has a good heart,” Larson told the Sheridan Sun last month.

Being recently widowed, Dolly continuously looks to her dead husband for a sign that she can move on.

Instead of talking to an imaginary figure or spirit, Larson breaks the fourth wall and turns to the audience, addressing them as her husband.

1You truly feel Larson’s emotion and passion when she delivers those lines.

Larson has an ability to take hold of your heart and it feels like she is speaking only to you.

Listening to her justifies her actions, saving her from her self-obsessed behaviour. You want her to be happy.

There are moments when you forget you are watching a student production, especially when it comes to the music.

Popowich singing “It Only Takes a Moment” has a voice that could rival Josh Groban’s.

Playing “half a millionaire,” Davis commands the room like he is someone of importance and you can’t help but take notice of him.

If you miss a second, you’re out of the loop.

Larson delivers all the arrogance and cockiness of Dolly’s numbers with pure confidence.

The 17 supporting players sang with enough power to expand the room 10 fold.

What works so well for Hello Dolly! is the comedic timing.

2Luc Trottier, who plays a supporting role as Rudolph the manic headwaiter, mimics the great Joel Grey from his Oscar-winning performance in Cabaret.

Whether inspired or coincidental, it’s a testament to Trottier’s acting ability.

Quinn Dooley, who plays the naive and innocent Minnie Fay, is nothing short of precious. You can’t help but want to put her in your pocket and take her home.
With all the chaos and self-absorbed personalities of the characters, Dooley reminds us that there is still sweetness in the world.

The dance numbers, though perfectly choreographed, seemed to drag on a bit, especially when there were no lyrics.

Lyrics advance the plot, when there is dancing, the story seems to stand still.

The plot gives off a real sense of urgency – all these characters are in over their heads and the cast executed it brilliantly.

For a stage as small as it is, the sense that the whole world is collapsing around them was real. The sets were genuinely integrated within the dance numbers.

It took on average 15 seconds for the dancers, lead by Colton Curtis and Lauren Olmstead, to wheel in the sets and props, all while performing.

One scene in particular that stands out is when some characters step into a shop from the street.

The sets were designed to flip, and as the cast was walking through the door, the dancers grabbed hold of the set and spun it around, producing a flawless transition while delivering their lines.

Although the program credits only six people and one designer, all costumes were believable for the late 19th century.

Dolly’s costumes are all representative of her larger-than-life sensual personality, each one beautifully put together like a bouquet of flowers in the middle of a grand table.

Theatre Sheridan’s production of Hello Dolly! has so much energy and life that every member of the entire main cast, including players not mentioned, deserve the spotlight. They all could carry their own production.

Director Avery Saltzman executed the production like a New York Broadway musical, pushing the cast and crew to fall in love with the material, which is clear in the performances.

Hello Dolly! runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7 at Trafalgar Campus’ Macdonald-Heaslip Hall. Performances are nightly, with a matinee on weekends. Tickets can be purchased at the Sheridan box office or online at