A Visual Feast of Joy in Hello Dolly

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center, I received two complimentary tickets for the purposes of review to "Hello Dolly". This has not impacted my review and all opinions below are my own.
Betty Buckley (“Dolly Levi”)

I’m always down for a night out at the Straz Center. I love the theater, and it has sooooo many memories for me. I performed there many times during my childhood, and have such respect for the people who make their living performing on stage.

Straz is by far one of my favorite places in Tampa Bay. Perhaps that is the real reason I jump at any opportunity to review a musical or performance there. So, it’s probably no surprise that when I was offered tickets in exchange for a review of Hello Dolly, I could not help myself. I had to say yes!

Want to know how I felt about the show overall? Keep reading…

Hello Dolly – What Straz Said About It

Winner of four Tony Awards® including Best Musical Revival, Broadway’s most beloved musical is back where it belongs! Directed by Tony winner Jerry Zaks and featuring choreography by Tony winner Warren Carlyle, HELLO, DOLLY! is “the best show of the year” (NPR).

Breaking box office records week after week and receiving thunderous critical raves on Broadway, this “gorgeous” new production (Vogue) pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history. Rolling Stone calls it “a must-see event. A musical comedy dream. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket, you’ll be seeing something historic. Wow, wow, wow indeed!”

Hello Dolly – My Review

At the opening of the show I was giddy with excitement. I loved the backdrop of the large train, and the hustle and bustle of the station. Then, there was Dolly. When Betty Buckley stepped onto the stage as Dolly, the crown erupted into applause.

As Buckley, er I mean Dolly began talking, I immediately felt connected to her. Why? Because like her, I’ve had many jobs. I’ve always enjoyed doing odd jobs to help people. And, I felt connected because her character’s meddling in other people’s affairs reminded me of a family member of mine I won’t mention lol!

Another thing that struck me was the costumes. They were all so intricate, and fun. Some of them popping with bright colors, and others just as vintage as could be. I instantly understood why Buckley refers to the show as a “visual feast of joy” in the Herald Tribune’s story about the show.

The show progressed through a series of wild scenes – ones that made me bowl over with laughter as I enjoyed the absurdity of so much of what was occurring. Then, there were some scenes that made me feel almost nervous as I anxiously awaited the conclusion of them.

All in all, I felt a bunch of emotions throughout the performance, but not one of them was one of sadness. That’s something you can’t always say about a show, but you can certainly say that about Hello Dolly! It’s a feel good show – something I wish we could say about more of the entertainment available these days.

At intermission I looked at my friend Karen who accompanied me to the show and I literally said, “Have you ever felt like you stepped into a Disney movie?” Because that is EXACTLY how I felt about the show.

I also secretly giggled to myself during many portions of the show as I was thinking about the law of attraction, and the displays of attracting your dreams that played out on the stage. I won’t give away anymore of the show because I know I’ve probably said enough spoilers as it is. However, I really loved the fact that the show is proof positive that your wildest dreams can come true. That along with many other aspects of the show have left me with good feels about Hello Dolly over all.


Bottom line – If you’re into colorful costumes, and feeling like you have stepped into a Disney movie, I say go watch this show!

I would recommend this musical to anyone who loves older costumes, fun musical numbers, a lot of dancing, and is a fan of Betty Buckley. But, most importantly, I’d recommend this show to anyone who enjoys a happy ending, and likes watching things work out for the good of everyone involved in the story. 

Hello Dolly is playing at The Straz Center now through December 9, 2018. To see all the shows playing at the Straz, click HERE!


1 thought on “A Visual Feast of Joy in Hello Dolly”

  1. I would love to see this musical as I love fun musical shows where things work our for the good of everyone involved in the story, happy endings, and dancing. It looks like so much fun.

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