One of the greatest musicals of all time, “Hello, Dolly!” is a fun, dance-heavy romp set in and around Yonkers and New York City in the 1880s.
“I knew I wanted to start my Union Pines career with a crowd pleaser,” says director Chase Coston, who is finishing up his first year teaching, “to show everyone that I’m here to stay and this is what you can expect from now on.”
“Hello, Dolly!” follows the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a Yonkers matchmaker, who is trying to find a match for “well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder. Along the way, she succeeds in matching up Vandergelder’s head clerk, and his assistant, and even Vandergelder’s niece. Dolly also gets her man, of course.
Even if you are not familiar with the movie or Broadway show, you’ll likely recognize a few tunes, Coston says, including the musical’s eponymous song, “Hello, Dolly!” and “Put on Your Sunday Clothes.”
Coston, who grew up in the Wilmington area and earned a B.F.A. in musical theater and a B.F.A. in theater education from East Carolina University, says the experience of directing the UP Stage has been “eye-opening.” His own high school struggled to pull together a cast of 12, “so to have 50 students show up for auditions, it is a theater teacher’s dream!”
“Hello, Dolly!” cast members are Macy Armstrong (Dolly Gallagher Levi), Mattea Pace (Irene Malloy), Jonah Risner (Cornelius Hackl), Konnor Balbuena (Barnaby Tucker), Mallory Kautz (Minnie Fay), Caleb Fox (Horace Vandergelder). Additional cast members are Walker Shore, Alleigh Mabe, Allyson Flewwellin, Fai Volitis, Gabe Perry, Keion Fairley, Hadley Luckie, Nat Privatea, Gage Mabe, E. Istre, and featured dancers Chloe Isenhart and Walker Shore, plus a large ensemble.
Elizabeth Shaver is the music director and the production’s crew is led by stage manager Rogue Hartness, with assistant stage managers Anna Baker and Katie Mae Numerick. Altogether, “Hello, Dolly!” has a cast of 34 and crew of 26.
“I am overloaded with talent and resources here,” Coston adds. “And to know that your program is completely self-funded (primarily through ticket sales) is empowering. The support I’ve received from the administration, teachers and the community, the extreme talent pool, this is everything you hope for when you graduate from college.”
Senior Fai Volitis, who recently won first place in the regional English-Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition and will be headed to New York City next month to compete for the national title, is the understudy for Dolly and also plays Mrs. Rose. Volitis previously performed in Union Pines’ production of “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon,” and last spring’s “Seussical, the Musical.”
“Mr. Coston makes it the most fun, especially with the choreography he comes up with,” she says. “It is a very beautiful, theatrically pretty show. Like ‘Seussical,’ it is a dance-heavy show, which, in my opinion, is the most fun.”
Volitis, who hopes to earn a B.F.A. in musical theater in college, adds that it takes as much responsibility to be in the ensemble as a lead character.
“Theater is definitely a team activity. It is important for everyone to be there, which is something that Union Pines is pretty good at. We all enjoy working together as a team.”
Fellow senior Walker Shore, who plays Ambrose and is the understudy for Cornelius Hackl, is also hoping to major in theater and has committed to attend East Carolina University. Previously he performed in “Seussical the Musical,” and the 2021 and 2022 NCTC productions. In the musical, his character must go on a journey of learning how to dance throughout the show, while he’s trying to prove to Vandergelder that he can look out, love and take care of his niece, Ermengarde.
“Theater provides you with a sense of community. You are working 15 hours a week with people and you build a bond. It is a very loving environment to be around. And Mr. Coston is an amazing director. He has done a really good job of keeping this program lively and energetic,” Shore says. “He pushes us but also makes sure we are comfortable throughout the process.”
Performances of “Hello, Dolly!” run Friday and Saturday, March 10-11, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 12, at 3 p.m., at Union Pines High School, 1981 Union Church Road, in Cameron. Tickets are $15 general admission at the door. For more information, visit bit.ly/uphello.
Contact Laura Douglass at (910) 693-2475 or email@example.com.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.