“Josh Recommends” By Josh Garrick: HELLO DOLLY!!! LIVE at the Garden Theatre

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“Josh Recommends” By Josh Garrick: HELLO DOLLY!!! LIVE at the Garden Theatre 

The good folks at the Garden Theatre have jumped through hurdles to let theater lovers -- like us -- into a live theater experience. And they've done it with one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time: HELLO DOLLY. I don't think I've ever met a person who doesn't love this musical. It's the lovable and award-winning Jerry Herman at his “music and lyrics best.”

“Josh Recommends” By Josh Garrick: HELLO DOLLY!!! LIVE at the Garden Theatre

When turn-of-the-last-century matchmaker Dolly Levi is hired to arrange a marriage for the miserly “half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder,” she decides to put widowhood behind her to find him the perfect mate -- HERSELF! That leads to some of the best stage business of all time when Dolly says to Vandergelder that he should go his way and she will go hers! The musical is funny, romantic, and filled with incredible Broadway style dancing. The “waiter’s dance" alone is worth the trip. 

“Josh Recommends” By Josh Garrick: HELLO DOLLY!!! LIVE at the Garden Theatre

With some of the most memorable songs of all time, including “Before the Parade Passes By,” and “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” leading up to the amazing “waiters dance” where the waiters sing and dance to welcome Dolly, the musical runs through Sept 27 at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden. Congratulations to director Joseph Walsh and thanks to presenters Bob and Diana Duffy. Everyone in the cast is as charming and well-voiced as any Broadway show. Dolly is played by Shonda Thurman, and Horace Vandergelder is played by Brian Minyard, with special kudos to Russell Stevens as Cornelius Hacker and Lille Thomas as Irene Molloy.

“Josh Recommends” By Josh Garrick: HELLO DOLLY!!! LIVE at the Garden Theatre

But the BIG question we all must ask … “Is this a real musical theater experience?” The audience is separated for social distancing; everyone, including the cast, wears masks; and please remember … this is a musical. So even with the cast working with microphones, there are moments when these great songs come across slightly muffled … because the mask is there. We understand. The mask has to be there in order for all of us to be safe, and that goes for audience and cast alike. But it's a happy/sad moment when Dolly faces straight out to the audience and belts out one of her famous songs directly to the audience … without the mask. 

“Josh Recommends” By Josh Garrick: HELLO DOLLY!!! LIVE at the Garden Theatre

I have friends who are still so quarantined that they've decided not to attend live performances, and I open my heart with congratulations and thanks to everyone associated with Winter Garden Theatre for giving us a live theater experience in the middle of this horrific pandemic. We all have choices. After six months of quarantine, I was hungry for something that sounded like Broadway, and I certainly got it in Winter Garden. And I give thanks for the courage of the cast who gave it to me. 

“Josh Recommends” By Josh Garrick: HELLO DOLLY!!! LIVE at the Garden Theatre

The choice is yours. The staff of the Winter Garden Theatre is doing everything they can to give us a great – safe – theater experience. Now it's up to you. If you miss theater enough to put on your mask and join this wonderful cast as they welcome Dolly back to the theater, you and yours will be happily “matchmaking” in the “new normal.” Tickets are available at gardentheatre.org or by calling 407.877.4736 

“Josh Recommends” By Josh Garrick: HELLO DOLLY!!! LIVE at the Garden Theatre

 

 

Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators