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Goodbye, Dolly…!

Eason Fan

On April 4th, Brooklyn Tech’s Visual and Performing Arts Department opened the curtains on its first of four performances of Hello, Dolly!, Brooklyn Tech’s largest cast and most extravagant musical performance in history. 

Adapted from Thornton Wilder’s play, The Matchmaker, Hello, Dolly! shares the story of widow Ms. Dolly Levi (Mary Rousakis ‘24 & Ruby Quarles ‘25) and her efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder (William Dartley ‘25 & Tripp DeCorleto ‘26), a well-known “half-a-millionaire.”

Set in 1890s New York City and Yonkers, Hello, Dolly! is filled with shocking twists and turns. For starters, despite being given the job of arranging Vandergelder’s second marriage, Dolly comes to realize that she wants to marry him herself.

At Vandergelder’s Hay and Feed store, he explains to his clerks, Cornelius Hackl (Michael Diamond ‘24 & Thomas Hsin ‘24) and Barnaby Tucker (Oliver Lin ‘25 & Brandon Slewett ‘25), he intends on visiting New York City with Dolly the matchmaker and propose to the widow Irene Molloy (Kaya Richards ‘24 & Mia Tessler ‘25). 

Dolly arrives at Vandergelder’s store, and in an attempt to eliminate any other potential matches, she presents her plan to introduce him to a “prize catch”, an heiress named Ernestina Money (Suzan Koch ‘24).

However, Cornelius and Barnaby are also eager for adventure outside the walls of Vandergelder’s store. Venturing off to New York City, Cornelius even declares he will only return to Yonkers once he has kissed a girl. 

Traveling to the city, Cornelius and Barnaby take refuge in Ms. Molloy’s hat shop, hiding under tables and in the closet to avoid meeting Vandergelder. Despite their lies and best efforts, Vandergelder discovers them and, in a fit of rage, breaks off relations with Ms. Molloy, informing Dolly that he will meet her “heiress” that evening. In an attempt to make amends, Dolly arranges for the clerks, Ms. Molloy, and her shop assistant, Minnie Fay (Olivia Nostro ‘26 & Laila Powers ‘26), all to have dinner together. 

In one of the production’s most glamorous moments, Dolly makes a grand entrance in a glittering red dress at the top of the stairs. Through her entrance, she sets about hooking Vandergelder, who is seated at the restaurant. Dolly humorously makes false assumptions that Vandergelder wants to marry her and, to maintain her dignity, firmly turns him down. On the contrary, Cornelius professes his love for Ms. Molloy where they share a tender kiss–a shocking twist to this event-filled story. 

Returning to Yonkers without his clerks, his niece, and Dolly, Vandergelder realizes he would be a fool to lose Dolly, who conveniently returns to forgive and marry him in a charming ending to the musical.

The cast did a fantastic job of expressing the humorous and whimsical aspects of the characters. 

Despite the production’s double casting, each performer delivered a distinct performance. In particular, Rousakis and Quarles managed to lend unique confidence and bold vocals that captured Dolly’s commanding presence, with each providing a unique take on the enchanting socialite. 

“Although I wasn’t the only one playing this role, it never felt like it was a competition–it felt almost like two different productions,” Quarles noted. “We would do our own interpretations of Dolly, so it was really good and [Rousakis] did a great job. And I think we made each other better by seeing how we [each performed our roles as Dolly].”

Rousakis’ and Quarles’ ability to showcase Dolly’s sarcastic attitude and gestures undoubtedly set the comedic stage for the musical, making a romp of Dolly’s determination to attract the man of her dreams. 

Beyond the comedic aspects of the musical, Dartley’s and DeCorleto’s ability to highlight Vandergelder’s shifting emotional arc was magnificent. Going from his arrogant temper, believing no one would fulfill all of his expectations, to resentful, finding himself a fool for losing a woman like Dolly, they drew the spotlight to  Vandergelder’s journey at the heart of the Hello, Dolly! story.

The heartfelt interaction between Cornelius and Irene also captivated the audience. In the scene where Cornelius confesses his love for Irene, Diamond, and Hsin share a tender kiss with Richards and Tessler, respectively, showcasing both their dedication to their roles and the young love between these two characters.

Being Tech’s largest musical to 

date, the production also boasted the greatest number of students cast, who all came together to form an extraordinarily talented and dedicated team.  

“The student cast is amazing,” said Mr. Velazquez, the musical’s director. “They’re fun, they’re supportive, they support each other, There wasn’t a competitive bone in the whole group.”

The melodic vocals and bold performances certainly impressed, but it may have been the costumes that stole the show. 

“My favorite part was student reactions to the costumes coming in,” noted Mr. Gustave Trombetta, Assistant Principal of Visual and Performing Arts. “They loved the costumes and it’s the greatest joy in my job seeing them put them on and be excited and ecstatic that they fit right and look really good. We spare no expense when [it comes to] putting together the costumes.” The production required a total of 183 costumes, all of the professional quality and designed by “The Costumer.”

Dolly’s grand, ruffled red dress, bejeweled with purple rhinestones and artfully topped off with a glittering tiara covered with feathers, stood out in her grand finale.

Behind the performances and the pageantry on stage, the intricate set design was the glue that held the entire production together. The red carpet staircase lined with fellow cast members paved the way for Dolly and her bold ball gown to make a dramatic, almost Disney princess-like, entrance. 

Eason Fan (’25)

Working in the shadows, the members of the stage crew made all behind-the-curtain proceedings run smoothly. With four stage backdrops and dozens of props–the props created by Industrial Design majors, English teacher Ms. Melissa Goodrum, and shop teacher Mr. Michael Fisher–this was no easy task.

And what musical would be complete without the countless musicians who delivered a pitch-perfect performance from the orchestra pit after months of tireless preparation? 

“The music is live,” shared Mr. Trombetta. “Nothing is recorded. No tracks are being played, there is no music being played, it’s just live musicians.” Throughout the nearly three-hour production, musicians tirelessly performed alongside the actors. 

Finance Major Rui Gao (‘25), a violist in the pit orchestra, offered perspective on the key role that orchestra musicians play. 

“You’re [the] background music, you’re there to support the cast,” Gao shared. “You’re their foundation, so you really have to be on point and consistent with everything.” After the three-day production, Gao added, “I think I can speak on behalf of the rest of the people in the orchestra; We were all really sad that it was over.” Many students even bid farewell to the performances with dedicated Instagram stories captioned, “Goodbye, Dolly!” 

Given the exacting quality of the production at every level and the grand scale of the auditorium, Tech’s Hello, Dolly! was a smashing success with all the feel of a true Broadway show.

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About the Contributor
Lauren Wong
Lauren Wong, Staff Writer
Lauren Wong (she/her) is a Staff Writer. Lauren is on The Survey because she would like to explore new opportunities within journalism. While writing may not have always been a passion for her, she has always found interest in the creation of news articles. As a result, she would also like to improve her journalistic and overall writing skills. Lauren reads The New York Times because she has found them to be generally unbiased and reliable when it comes to news sources. Brooklyn Tech also provides her with a free subscription, so she is able to browse and research to her pleasure. One future career goal that Lauren aspires to achieve is to become a more well-rounded writer. This is because writing is not just beneficial for journalism, but for any and all aspects of life. In Lauren's free time, she enjoys playing tennis and spending time with family and friends. She signifies the importance of spending every moment with those you love because time is precious. Lauren's favorite book is The Joy Luck Club because it signifies a part of her culture that she feels is severely under-recognized by society.

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