Saturday, July 12, 2014

‘Hello Dolly’ is hello to a new Broadway season in Scranton

October 10. 2013 6:22PM

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As soon as someone mentions the musical “Hello Dolly!” Tony Nicosia can guess the picture in that person’s mind.

“You’ve got the staircase and all those waiters jumping all over the place and Dolly, with every eye in the house on her. Don’t you think it’s the most exciting role? After that, what is there left to do?” he asked with a chuckle.

Of course, Nicosia added, many people picture Carol Channing in the quintessential role of a busybody matchmaker who finds love herself with a “half-a-millionaire” named Horace Vandergelder.

But this weekend at the Scranton Cultural Center, beloved actress Sally Struthers will have the title role as the Broadway Theatre League of Scranton opens its 2013-14 season.

People who first noticed Struthers during the 1970s when she played Archie and Edith Bunker’s daughter, Gloria, on the groundbreaking television show “All in the Family” will be delighted to see this more mature version of the actress, said Nicosia, who is executive director of the Broadway League of Scranton.

“Her warmth and her charm is just going to make the role fit her to a T,” Nicosia said, noting this is the 50th-anniversary tour for the show.

Scranton is one of the first stops on the tour, Nicosia said, right after Syracuse, N.Y.

After “Hello Dolly,”the Broadway League of Scranton season includes “Jersey Boys,” for which the cultural center will have to build extra wing space and extra dock space because it is so massive. Other offerings are “Rock of Ages,” “Cirque Rocks” and a retrospective by Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin, who will reprise some of their Broadway numbers.

The two singers are both Tony Award winners, with LuPone noted for her portrayal of Eva Peron in “Evita” and Patinkin noted for his portrayal of Inigo Montoya in the movie “The Princess Bride.”

The Blue Man Group theatrical experience and the Beatles tribute band, Rain, are also among the League’s offerings.

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