DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
COTTONWOOD SHORES — Sometimes, when you take a job, you just have to jump right in — as the new executive director of the Hill Country Community Theatre is discovering.
Mike Rademaekers took the helm of the theater July 1, right in the midst of the crew rehearsing and preparing for the July 17 opening of “Hello, Dolly!”
Rademaekers, though, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s a great way to get things started here,” he said. “‘Hello, Dolly!’ is one of those classic musicals. When it was first on Broadway, it won several Tony awards.”
In fact, it won 10 Tony Awards after its 1964 opening, a record it held for 35 years.
“Hello, Dolly!” tells the story of Dolly Levi Gallagher, a meddling matchmaker in the late 1800s. She’s intent on fixing up Horace Vandergelder, described as a “grumpy, half-a-millionaire.”
“But she really wants to marry him herself,” Rademaekers said. The story follows Dolly and the cast through the ins and outs of the matchmaking attempts. Throughout it all, the musical-comedy keeps the audience entertained and laughing.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Rademaekers said. “It’s definitely one of the most enduring musicals.”
The musical actually traces its start to the 1835 English play “A Day Well Spent,” which was later adapted into a French farce. Thorton Wilder turned it into a 1938 play that didn’t do so well before transforming it into the hit “The Matchmaker” in 1955. In the 1960s, Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart teamed up to make it into the musical “Hello, Dolly!,” which opened in 1964.
Since that time, the musical has experienced quite a life, including being turned into at least one movie. Rademaekers said the music and the story make it one of the most popular productions, not just on Broadway but across the country at theaters such as the one in Cottonwood Shores.
“It’s a wonderful production that both the cast and audience love,” he said. “People just know it. It’s that much of a classic.”
The musical runs July 17-27 at the Hill Country Community Theatre, 4003 FM 2147. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2:15 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 for adults and $9 for children and students.
Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at (830) 798-8944 or visiting www.thehcct.org.
Hill Country Community Theatre is a nonprofit organization that brings top-quality entertainment to the Highland Lakes. It’s been a part of the community for 28 years thanks to the dedicated volunteers. Anyone interested in helping or learning more may contact the theater at (830) 693-2474 or its website.