Celebrating the joy of living

CHS actors gear up to perform "Hello, Dolly!" this weekend and next

"Hello, Dolly!"

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, March 10-12.

Where: CHS Theater, 26900 S.E. 15th St.

Cost: $7 for adults, and $5 for students with an ASB card and senior citizens. Tickets are available at the door.

“Hello, Dolly!”

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, March 10-12.

Where: CHS Theater, 26900 S.E. 15th St.

Cost: $7 for adults, and $5 for students with an ASB card and senior citizens. Tickets are available at the door.

The story of the joy of living will come to Camas High School during performances of “Hello, Dolly!” set to start this Friday.

This Broadway musical is based on Thorton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker,” and is about Mrs. Dolly Levi’s efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, a well-known and well-to-do man. Dolly wants to send his money circulating among the less fortunate, just the way her late husband, Ephraim Levi, taught her.

Along the way, she also succeeds in playing matchmaker and orchestrating the lives of several of the main characters in the musical.

Guest director Kim Shire is excited for performances to begin.

“It’s just a real happy show,” she said. “I wanted to pick something where the chorus had a lot to do, not just 12 people and the rest all standing by. I really wanted to have every kid who came out for the show feel important. This is also very family-friendly.”

Shire directed 12 productions for Christian Youth Theater over the years, but took a break for two years after the birth of her second child. She is expecting a third this summer.

Usually, Shire works with children ages 6 to 18, so switching to high school theater was a bit of a change.

“The kids pick up things a lot quicker but are also a lot busier,” she said. “They have cell phones and so much to do. But this is a pretty focused group of kids. They have had great acting training and are talented singers.”

She added that it is fun to be back as a director.

“At the high school level, I have a little more control over what will happen with the show, and the administration has been good about trusting me,” she said.

The actors are enjoying preparing for the musical as well.

Junior Grace Harker plays the role of Dolly Levi.

“She is a woman who likes to arrange things and likes to manipulate things to go her way,” she said.

Harker has been in three high school productions so far, but was shocked to get a lead role.

“I never expected this,” she said. “I love the happiness she radiates. She is very positive.”

Senior Jason Jay plays the role of Ambrose Kemper, a world-renowned artist and perfectionist, who is trying to elope with Vandergelder’s niece, Ermengarde.

“He sees everything as fire and passion, and can get very frustrated if things don’t go his way but he likes to enjoy how amazing life is,” Jay said. “He tries to take the lead of every scene he’s in.”

Senior Rebeccca Strohl plays the role of Ermengarde.

“Her tantrums are the comic relief of the show,” she said. “She’s a really challenging character, though. A lot of people pass her off as a girl who is crying and pouting all the time, but you really have to dig deeper to see what kind of person she really is. I enjoy the challenge.”

Sophomore Jason Hayann plays the role of Horace Vandergelder. It is his second high school production.

“He’s a pretty gruff character, and a little cold,” he said. “He’s not very good at social conversation and thinks everyone else is a fool.”

Hayann added he was surprised to get a lead role in his second high school show.

“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” he said. “I thought with all the more experienced actors, I’d be put in the chorus. I’m really happy and excited.”

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