Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hello, Edward Gero! (and Dolly, for that matter)

For our April Brown Bag Thursday, we will be entertaining Edward Gero, a veteran actor playing the role of Horace Vandergelder in Hello, Dolly!, a co-production between Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre.

Horace and Dolly share a meal at the Harmonia Gardens.
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Hello, Dolly! is perhaps one of the most iconic of American musicals, conjuring images of stars like Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, and Barbra Streisand. However, Hello, Dolly! did not begin as the powerhouse of a musical that we know today. The musical Hello, Dolly! actually began as a play called The Merchant of Yonkers, written by Thornton Wilder in 1938. Never heard of it? That’s probably because The Merchant of Yonkers was a flop. It was only after Wilder re-worked the play and published it under the title The Matchmaker in 1955 that the story began to pick up steam. Ten years later, lyricist and composer Jerry Herman and book writer Michael Stewart completed their adaptation of Wilder’s play into the show audiences have been humming and tapping along to for the last fifty years. The ten-time Tony Award-winning musical ran for seven years and 2,844 performances on Broadway, has since been revived multiple times and been performed in countries all around the world.

For those who are unfamiliar with the show:

In the Tony-winning musical farce Hello, Dolly!, the cantankerous half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder hires matchmaker Dolly Levi to find him a wife. Dolly soon hatches a plan to woo and win Vandergelder’s hand herself, while simultaneously arranging romantic prospects for his niece, his clerks and two of Manhattan’s most eligible shop girls.

Watch the Ford's Theatre Hello, Dolly! trailer here.
Our Brown Bag guest Edward Gero will be playing the role of Horace Vandergelder the aforementioned "cantakerous half-a-millionaire." Read a little about him in this bio courtesy of George Mason University where Gero teaches:

Edward Gero, a fourteen-time nominee and four time recipient of the prestigious  Helen Hayes Award for his work in Shakespeare, contemporary and musical theatre, has been teaching at George Mason University since 1991.   Offering a wide variety of courses from Beginning Acting to Characterization, Acting Shakespeare, Verse Speaking, Script Analysis, and many others, he continues his 30 year performance career throughout Washington stages and across the nation.

This year he completed a critically acclaimed production of John Logan’s Tony Award winning play RED, directed by Tony Award winning director, Robert Falls at The Goodman Theater in Chicago and Arena Stage in Washington. He wrote a blog “The Making of RED” to chronicle his process. He will be returning in the 2012 Washington Theater season as Scrooge in the acclaimed production of A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theater. In 2011 he appeared in The Chosen by Chaim Potok at Arena Stage and Salieri in Amadeus at The Round House Theatre in Bethesda, MD.

He has been a company member of the nationally known Shakespeare Theatre Company in downtown Washington since 1983, appearing in over 75 productions there. He was named an associate artist at Center Stage in Baltimore, MD.  He appears at many others regional theaters including The Goodman Theater in Chicago, Ford’s Theatre, The Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, Arena Stage, Olney Theatre Center, Theater J and George Mason's own Theatre of the First Amendment.  He can also be heard narrating on The Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Nat Geo.

Don't forget to be part of the conversation tomorrow! Our Brown Bag Discussion with Edward Gero will begin at 1pm in the Mead Lobby at Signature Theatre. Can't make it in person? Follow us on twitter @sigtheatre or use #sigbrownbag.

Ford's and Signature's co-production of Hello, Dolly! is currently playing at Ford's Theatre and will run until May 18th. To purchase tickets online, click here.

Want a second opinion on what you saw or a head's up on what you'll be seeing? Check out some of the reviews for Ford's and Signature's Dolly!:

COMING UP: May 6th, 2013 Page to Stage -- Join us for a special viewing of the film version of Hello, Dolly! starring Barbara Streisand. The film will begin at 6:30pm in the Shirlington Branch Library. We'll bring the popcorn, you fill the seats!



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