After 36 years and more than 150 productions, UTEP Dinner Theatre presents for the first time one of the most iconic Broadway musicals in history: “Hello Dolly!” 

“This is a very funny show with great songs,” said Greg Taylor, UTEP Dinner Theatre founder and director. “I loved seeing it on Broadway and am very glad we are bringing this here.” 

Classic Broadway 

“This is one of those classic musicals with a large cast and lots of different settings,” said Justin Lucero, guest director and El Paso Opera artistic director.

He called Taylor after seeing the show in New York last year.

“It was one of the funniest musicals I’d ever seen – the laughs just kept on coming,” he said. “I knew we had to have it.” 

Based on a farce by American playwright Thornton Wilder, the story combines humor and high-jinks with romance, adventure and a look at human nature.

The lead character, Dolly Levi, a match-maker and “arranger of things,” matches herself with the miserly “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder. 

The couple is surrounded by a cast of characters with their own love interests and complications.

Lasting appeal 

Generations of audiences have loved the show’s plot twists, witty dialogue, clever lyrics and the physical comedy, which includes people chasing each other and hiding under tables.

“It’s a very demanding show and requires just the right comic timing,” Lucero added. 

Veteran Dinner Theatre star and choreographer Josey Pickett rises to the challenge with outstanding dance numbers while longtime costume designer and occasional actor Jaime Barba recreates the show’s 1890s New York styles. 

“This show is famous for lavish costumes and whimsical, bright colors,” Lucero said. “Jaime is a master wig designer and every female character will be wearing a wig. He has created the more than 80 costumes from scratch.” 

Personally, I can’t wait to go to see “Hello Dolly!” – it was my first-ever Broadway show.

My family had driven from Dallas to New York for the 1965 World’s Fair and my father, who had lived in Manhattan as a soldier during World War II, believed that a Broadway play was an essential part of one’s education.

I will never forget Carol Channing walking down those stairs in St. James Theatre. It “only took a moment” to get hooked on great musicals. 

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