Thursday, September 04, 2008

Jenifer Lewis to Star in Hello, Dolly!

Film, Television and Broadway Actress To Fulfill Lifelong Dream of Playing Legendary Role

SEATTLE Film, television and Broadway star Jenifer Lewis will make her Seattle debut in one of musical theater’s greatest leading lady roles in the upcoming musical Hello, Dolly!. Dolly Gallagher Levi is an irrepressible matchmaker who grabs a second chance at life and love. Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong directs the production which plays March 7-29, 2009.

Lewis is one of the most familiar faces in the movies, having appeared in more than 60 feature films, including Meet the Browns, What’s Love Got To Do With It? and The Preacher’s Wife. Her ability to captivate an audience stems from her versatile voice, her bawdy, well-developed sense of humor and her powerful acting performances honed largely on the Broadway stage. She is currently starring as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre .

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the 5th Avenue production of Hello, Dolly!,” Jenifer Lewis says. “I am the luckiest actress in the world to be able to play a role that’s been a lifelong dream of mine – and with such an exceptional company. I’m excited, ready, and very, very grateful.”

Lewis joins a long list of illustrious performers who have played the legendary role, including Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey, Mary Martin, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers, Phyllis Diller and Barbra Streisand.

“I am delighted that Jenifer will star in our production of Hello, Dolly!,” says Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong . “This classic musical demands a star who is a consummate performer. She needs to be a great comedian with a thrilling voice who can captivate and delight an audience. Jenifer is all of that and more. I have always thought of her as being like a legendary vaudeville star reincarnated in a contemporary package.”

An enduring musical theater hit, Hello, Dolly! returns to the 5th Avenue stage for the first time in 27 years. When Dolly Gallagher Levi is hired to arrange a marriage for the miserly half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder, she finds him the perfect mate – herself! But first she must win the heart of her unsuspecting “husband to be” before he gets hitched to somebody else. The original Broadway production won ten 1964 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical (a record that was only surpassed four decades later, when The Producers won 12). Brimming with joyful tunes, from “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” and “It Only Takes a Moment” to the irresistible title song, Hello, Dolly! is a delectable treat for musical theater lovers of all ages.

Full cast to be announced at a later date.

JENIFER LEWIS (Dolly Gallagher Levi) is currently starring on Broadway as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray. Other Broadway credits include Eubie, Comin’ Uptown, “Rock and Roll, 1st 5000 Years” and the original workshop of Dreamgirls with Michael Bennett. Most recently Lewis appeared on stage alongside Meryl Streep in Mother Courage and her Children. Lewis has appeared in more than 60 films including: The Antwon Fisher Story, Corinna Corinna, Sister Act I & II, Dirty Laundry, Dead Presidents, The Brothers, Poetic Justice, Castaway, Meet The Browns, Shark Tales, and Pixar’s Cars. She has received two NAACP Image Award nominations for What’s Love Got to Do With It and The Preacher’s Wife and has appeared in over 120 television shows, including The Temptations, Friends, The Cosby Show, Murphy Brown, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Jackie’s Back! Shark, Girlfriends, and Boston Legal. Lewis resides in Los Angeles with her adopted daughter Charmaine, and is a relentless supporter to find a cure for Breast Cancer and HIV/Aids.

Season tickets including Hello, Dolly! can be ordered now. Package prices range from as little as $85 (4 shows, previews) to $434 (7 shows, weekend). Single tickets to Hello, Dolly! go on sale to the general public on January 9, 2009. Tickets are available over the phone by calling 206-625-1900 (toll free 888-5TH-4TIX), online at or in person at the box office in downtown Seattle .

The 5th Avenue Theatre is Seattle ’s premier musical theater. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater for the cultural enrichment of the Northwest community. The 5th Avenue Theatre maintains a subscription audience of nearly 24,000 and an annual attendance of more than 287,000. It ranks among the nation’s largest and most respected musical theater companies. The Theatre is committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its Educational Outreach Program which includes: The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue High School Musical Theatre Awards, the Student Matinee Program and Spotlight Nights. Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, the exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. Today, under the leadership of Managing Director Marilynn Sheldon and Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong , The 5th Avenue Theatre continues to achieve the highest standards in all aspects of artistic endeavors and facility operations, while preserving its artistic, architectural and historic legacy. Visit

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