By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Twentieth century Broadway gold will have a limited engagement in Oxford this summer.
“‘Hello, Dolly!’ is really one of those classic, hallmark musicals,” said Mary Haskell, who will portray the title role at the University of Mississippi’s Ford Center.
The show is part of the 2013 Oxford Shakespeare Festival, which also will present “Macbeth” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
Mary Haskell and her daughter and co-star, Mary Lane Haskell, expect to find time between rehearsals to catch the two Shakespeare plays, but their main focus is on “Dolly.”
“It has that Jerry Herman score,” Mary Lane Haskell said. “He’s kind of your quintessential, golden age of Broadway composer. The songs stay with you.”
Mary Lane Haskell portrays Irene Molloy, a young widow who has given up on love. Dolly is a matchmaker who sets Irene up with “a half a millionaire.” The equation changes when another man turns Irene’s head.
“These are characters that are real and relatable and lovable,” Mary Lane Haskell said. “You fall in love will all of the characters on stage.”
It helps that those characters can carry tunes, including “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Dancing,” “Before the Parade Passes By” and “Hello, Dolly!”
“When we stage that song, that famous ‘Hello, Dolly!’ song, I’m so excited to have a full orchestra playing that iconic music,” Mary Haskell said, “and to have that moment that Carol Channing made famous on Broadway. Barbra Streisand made it famous in the movie of the musical. We’re really excited to create that moment on the Ford Center stage.”
A former Miss Mississippi, Mary Haskell has starred in more than 20 TV movies and series. She’s a recording artist who has appeared in a variety of stage musicals. She’s also performed at Kennedy Center and the White House.
Mary Lane Haskell is an alumna of New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts. She’ll make her feature film debut in September in “Whiskey Bay” starring Matt Dillon and Willem Defoe.
She’s also an Oxford Shakespeare Festival veteran with roles in “The Tempest” and “Hamlet.”
“My biggest role with the festival was Ophelia in ‘Hamlet,’” she said. “That was on the main stage of Ford Center. That was an incredible experience.”
In “Hello, Dolly!” the Haskell women will put their talents to jubilant use. The show features lush costumes and colorful sets meant to evoke New York in full bustle at the beginning of the 20th century.
“It will be a couple of hours of pure joy surrounded by some of the best music from Broadway,” Mary Haskell said. “The audience will leave the theater tapping their feet and humming a tune.”
– What: Oxford Shakespeare Festival
– Where: University of Mississippi Ford Center and Meek Hall Auditorium
– When: June 14-July 7
– Tickets: Adult tickets are $18 for “Hello, Dolly!” and $14 for “Macbeth” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” For seniors and students, tickets are $14 for “Hello, Dolly!” and $12 for “Macbeth” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
– Info: (662) 915-7411, shakespeare.olemiss.edu
• “Love’s Labour’s Lost” at Meek Hall Auditorium – 7:30 p.m. June 14-15, 21 and July 5-6; 2 p.m. June 16, 29 and July 7
• “Macbeth” at Ford Center – 7:30 p.m. June 22 and 28; 2 p.m. June 23
• “Hello, Dolly!” at Ford Center – 7:30 p.m. June 27 and 29; 2 p.m. June 28 and 30