At the dawn of the 20th century, Dolly Levi makes a living “meddling.” She teaches a dance lesson or two. She plays the mandolin. She plays matchmaker.
It’s this last job that’s made her famous. Dolly Levi, a character originated on Broadway by Ruth Gordon in Thorton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker,” sets out to find a wife for Horace Vandergelder, a grumpy and well-known “half-a-millionaire.” Naturally, she hopes to land him herself.
The musical version of this story, “Hello, Dolly!” – with music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, opens tonight, kicking off the 45th season of Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre. Ellen Travolta and Jack Bannon reprise their roles as Dolly and Horace in this revival of the company’s 2000 production.
For Travolta and Bannon, who have been performing with Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre on and off since 1990, the play offers this husband-and-wife duo a chance to go toe-to-toe on the stage for the first time in a decade.
“It’s just a lovely play,” Travolta said recently. “It’s just a perfect balance of everything.”