By Bhagya Pushkaran (Entertainment) –
While trying to pair up couples across New York, Dolly Levi hatches her own plan for snatching the heart of Horace Vandergelder. On February 23rd, 24th, and 25th, Hello, Dolly! took place in the Ted Sorensen Theatre here at LHS, a story about a woman who has everything she’s ever wanted, except for a man. An adventure about true love, broken hearts, and mischievous actions envelopes in a story told by LHS students, directed by Molly Thomas.
Thomas talked about the musical. “I picked Hello, Dolly! as this year’s spring musical, because I thought it would be a fun show for the kids to do. It’s a classic and I like classics as well as the newer stuff, and it hadn’t been done here in a while. We had the right group of kids to pull it off, and the theme of the musical is to be with who you want to be with and don’t judge a book by its cover,” she added.
Thomas’s experience with directing was a roller coaster of emotions. “It was frustrating at times, and great at times. We lost our original vocal music director when she took a sabbatical, and so we had to revisit and revise everything, so that was kind of frustrating,” Thomas said. “But the new vocal music director did an awesome job putting them together and teaching them their songs. It was a lot of juggling, and a lot of balls in the air, and hoping I could keep them all in the air without dropping any. A few dropped every now and then, but I was able to pick them up and throw them back in the air. The students did a super job and I’m so very very proud of the cast, the crew, and the orchestra pit,” Thomas said.
Sophomore Jackson Mikkelsen plays Barnaby Tucker, a 17-year-old who is seeking adventure in the Big Apple with his friend, Cornelius Hackl, played by sophomore Carter Yost. Mikkelsen talked about how he compares and contrasts with Barnaby Tucker.
“Barnaby and I are very different people,” Mikkelsen said. Barnaby is very energetic and super happy, and he follows Cornelius around, and I think Barnaby definitely depends on people to show him the way, but I can find my own way. Barnaby is also more outgoing than I am, and in general he’s just a happier individual.”
When Jackson isn’t doing LHS theater, he shares his love of acting with the Lincoln community. “I’ve done 3 shows at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, and I am a part of the Silicon Prairie Theatre Company, which is completely a youth-run organization in Lincoln, and we’ve done 3 productions so far over summer and winter breaks.”
Junior Isabel Kettler is the star of the show, playing Dolly Levi, a matchmaker who’s eyeing to capture the heart of a half-a-billionaire. Kettler worked hard on and off stage to nail the part.
“After I got the part, I prepared for it by trying to integrate the characteristics of Dolly into my real life, like her gracefulness, and her ability to arrange things. I think we both share that manipulative edge, but Dolly is more up front about it, so it brings that part of me out.”
When Kettler isn’t busy acting on stage, she costumes for LHS’s performances. “I love costuming so much. Carolyn Kerns, the head of costuming, she’s one of my close friends and is so good at what she does, so I’m constantly in awe of her. We’ve got so much talent on the costume crew too. They’re great and sometimes mothers come to help us out, too. The costumes for this show are super lavish so sometimes my heart feels sad that I’m not a part of making them, but I get to wear them. Sometimes, when I’m in the costume lab trying on hats, Carolyn has to tell me to stop.”
Jill Oetken and Brett Noser directed this year’s ensemble of band and orchestra students to showcase live music for the musical. “Brett Noser and I co-directed the pit orchestra in playing the Hello, Dolly! music that supported the vocalists,” Oetken said. “There is lots to think about in a production like this, but we feel strongly about providing experiences like this for our student musicians to be a part of.” Music for orchestra pits is often written for college or professional level musicians who may be asked to play multiple instruments. The parts can be very demanding, Oetken said. “It also takes lots of coordinating and attention to logistical details in order for the vocalists to sing with the pit musicians,” Overall, Oetken and Noser have been proud of this year’s musical, “Both Mr. Noser and I have been part of musicals in the past, but this was the first theatrical performance that Mr. Noser and I have directed here at Lincoln High, and we’re really proud of the students and the product they put forth this year.”