Before audiences fell in love with the musical Hello, Dolly!, there was The Matchmaker. This classic farce by Thornton Wilder kicks off the New Year at the Arts Club.
The play follows Horace Vandergelder (Ric Reid), a wealthy storeowner, who seeks a wife—and matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi (Nicola Lipman) doesn’t need to look very far to find her. With forbidden young love and mistaken identities afoot, more than one match is sure to be made. This classic is full of pandemonium and embraces the unexpected in a truly modern way.
Arts Club Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran will direct The Matchmaker. She said, “The Matchmaker is one of my favourite farces—with physical comedy galore, mistaken identities, verbal wit, and a strong central female character. I love finding the rhythm and tightness required for comedy, but most of all I adore the message at this play’s core: that life’s meaning can be found in taking risks, finding adventure, and embracing joy. And while it’s a period piece set in the Gilded Age, we’ve been taking some of Wilder’s advice ourselves. By weaving in some contemporary references, we are embracing adventure in our design and aesthetics. In doing so, we acknowledge that the hopes, dreams, and desires of these characters are not so far from the ones we ourselves hold today.”
Wilder originally adapted this play from Johann Nestroy’s Einen Jux will er sich machen (1842) into a comedy called The Merchant of Yonkers (1938). Fifteen years and a Broadway run later, director Tyrone Guthrieexpressed interest in a new production of the play, which Wilder rewrote and renamed The Matchmaker. The most significant change was the expansion of Dolly Gallagher Levi’s character. Then, in 1964, the play enjoyed yet another incarnation with the hugely successful, Tony Award–winning musical Hello, Dolly!.
Both a novelist and playwright, Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) celebrated the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience in his works. He is the only writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for both drama and fiction: for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and two plays, Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth. He enjoyed enormous success as a translator, adaptor, actor, librettist, and teacher.
January 24 to February 24, 2019, at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Tue–Thu at 7:30 PM, Fri & Sat at 8 PM, Wed at 1:30 PM, and Sat & Sun at 2 PM
Tickets from $29 at artsclub.com or the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644
Photo by David Cooper
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