Review by Gail Burns
Monica M. Wemitt was born to play Dolly Gallagher Levi, which is why, after two monthes of pain and parsimony, I climbed in the car and drove over the Taconics to see her do it at the Cohoes Music Hall. I had seen her in 2009 at the Mac-Haydn and had exceedingly happy memories of her eating that chicken at the Harmonia Gardens.
Wemitt had understudied Carol Channing in this role in the 1995 production of “Hello, Dolly!” Channing is notorious for never missing a performance, although I believe Wemitt did get to go on for her once. But how terrifying is going on to house full of people who have paid to see Carol Channing? Yikes! But here everyone had paid to see Monica M. Wemitt and they were not disappointed.
I joked beforehand that I wasn’t excited about seeing “Hello, Dolly!” but about seeing Wemitt. My mind had lumped “…Dolly!” in with a bunch of other “classic” American musicals which were beloved for an iconic performance rather than for any merit of the script or score itself – “Funny Girl” springs immediately to mind – but I was very, very wrong. “…Dolly!” is a well structured show with a panoply of appealing characters and lovely melodies.