Richmond Civic Theatre is abuzz with romance, comedy, energetic dance, bright costumes and what theater staff call some of the greatest songs in musical theater history.

“Hello, Dolly!” opens Thursday for eight performances at the downtown theater, and dozens of area residents are assisting on or offstage.   

The G-rated musical features the exploits of Dolly Gallagher-Levi, a turn-of-the-century matchmaker and “woman who arranges things.” 

The musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s hit play “The Matchmaker” won 10 Tony Awards after premiering on Broadway in 1964 at the St. James Theatre.

Opening with Carol Channing in the title role, the show ultimately played 2,844 performances, making it — at the time — the longest-running Broadway musical in history.

Wayne County has at least one connection to that legacy. Richmond High School graduate Jack Everly, who returned in March as a guest conductor for Richmond Symphony Orchestra, conducted Channing as Dolly hundreds of times in two separate Broadway productions.

The musical has been revived several times on Broadway, most recently in 2017, starring Bette Midler.

“Dolly” also was popular overseas, with London’s West End production running for 794 performances. 

Although RCT has been known for its talented volunteers through the years, professionals are enhancing a few aspects of this performance. The “Dolly” set was designed by a professional set designer from Mishawaka.

In addition, RCT’s executive director, John Faas, has designed and/or built many of the costumes for “Dolly” with building help from volunteers Kathy Clopper, Becky Jewison and Beth Van Der Burgt.

When not working for RCT, Faas operates a costume business in Dayton, Ohio. Faas owns and is allowing RCT to use nearly 40 individual costumes, including all of Dolly’s. He said many of the costumes will be seen again next February in Covington, Kentucky, because he’s under contract to design costumes for The Carnegie’s “Dolly” production. 

Assistance for RCT’s production also comes from organizations including Wright State University Costume Shop, Dayton Theatre Guild, Earlham School of Theatre Arts and Richmond High School Bands.

Who’s involved?

Cast: Trudi Weyermann, Steven Lakes, Dustin Summan, Brady Day, Jules Pickett, Halie Scott, Shelley Wambo, Devin Summan, Angi Wilson, Mike Day, Kari Harrington, Whittney Corum, Derek Summan, Tim Emery, Paul Jordan, Tony Wagner, Dylan Dalbey, Isaiah Fecher, Tony Truitt, Emily M. Smith, Margie Stoller, Robyn Zitnick, Ian Kinder, Lis Deitsch, Bailey Mays, Katie Hicks, Alivia Leyes, Whitney Kaehr, Tammy Austin, Alivia Leyes

Orchestra: Sandi Cox, Genevieve Baird, Ben Smith, Mark Moore, Steve Stoller, Jonathan Lucy, Mark Simmons, Allison Mopps, Jaime Perez-Orduno, Chase Holle, Maddie Mopps, Mike Mustin, Rex Bailey, Sajen Hernandez, Emily Hawkins, Jenny Williams

Production Team: Cindy Perez, Sandi Cox, Regina Branagin, Avery VanMiddlesworth, Emily Creviston-Smith, Ruthanne Munger, Jonathan Sabo, Aaron Clarke, Rick Funk, John Faas and Aaron Clarke

Crew: Jules Pickett, Sunshine Rankin, Angel Chhoeuy, Traci Marie McCollum, Ashley Beckett, Isabelle Fecher, Erica Kretchman, Michelle Fecher, Rachel Powell, Isaiah Fecher, Seth Fecher, Barb Blanford, Meadow Mahkaya, Penny Smoker, Sophia Losekamp, Emerson Cozart, Doug Wambo, Ben Sexton, Aaron Clarke, John Munger, Alan Clift, Carol Sexton, Katie Butts, Emily Croucher, Kathy Clopper, Becky Jewison, Beth Van Der Burgt, Nicole Andreas, Sajen Hernandez, Ada Fowler, Lynn Voss, Noah Homer, Tony Wagner, Kari Harrington, Mickey White, Cohen Current

Sponsors: RCT’s 2022-2023 Main Stage Series Sponsor — First Bank Richmond; Co-Sponsors — Reid Health, Reid Health Alliance Medicare. “Hello, Dolly!” is sponsored by Indiana University East. RCT Season Sustaining Sponsors are Ahaus Tool & Engineering, Inc., Anonymous, Richmond Baking Company, Inc., David and Cheri Jetmore, George M. Schmid, and Vista Investment Partners.

If you go

What: “Hello, Dolly!”

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 20-22; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23; 7:30 p.m. April 27-29 and 2 p.m. April 30

Where: Richmond Civic Theatre, 1003 E. Main St., Richmond.

Cost: In advance, $20 adults, $17 students/seniors 65+, groups of 10 or more, $13; upper balcony, $10 (might have obstructed views). Day of show, $22 adults; $18 student/senior; upper balcony, $10

Tickets/info: or 765-962-1816

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A version of this article appeared in the April 19 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.