FORD’S THEATRE SOCIETY AND SIGNATURE THEATRE ANNOUNCE CASTING FOR "HELLO, DOLLY!"

Production features Nancy Opel as Dolly and Edward Gero as Horace Vandergelder

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ford’s Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault and Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer today announced that Tony-nominated actress Nancy Opel (Broadway’s Memphis, Urinetown, Teddy & Alice, Sunday in the Park with George, Anything Goes, others) and Edward Gero (King Lear with Stacey Keach for Goodman and Shakespeare Theatre Company; Ford’s A Christmas Carol; Goodman and Arena Stage's Red) will star in the spring production of Hello, Dolly! at Ford’s Theatre (511 10th Street NW). The production will be directed by Schaeffer and co-produced by Ford’s Theatre and Virginia’s Tony-winning Signature Theatre. The production will play from March 15 through May 18, 2013. Additional casting will be announced in early 2013.

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. Based on Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker, Jerry Herman’s memorable score and charming lyrics place the irresistibly mischievous Dolly center stage, making the role one of the most celebrated and high-spirited in musical theatre.

“We are delighted to present the first professional production of Hello, Dolly! in Washington, D.C., since the 1995 Kennedy Center production featuring Carol Channing,” said Ford’s Theatre Director Paul  R. Tetreault. “We are also excited to have Eric directing at Ford’s for the first time since Meet John Doe in 2007.”

“I’m thrilled to be working with Nancy on this new production of Hello, Dolly!, said Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. “Nancy brings a fresh look and sound to the show which promises to match the rest of this exciting, new production. Both Nancy’s and Ed’s talents, along with those of the terrific cast, will indeed let audiences rediscover this great musical in a brand new way.”

Performances of Hello, Dolly! at Ford’s Theatre will be Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (except April 8); Saturdays at 2 p.m. (except March 16); Weekday 2 p.m. matinees on March 29, April 5, 10, 12, 19, 26 and May 17; and noon weekday matinees May 3 and 10.

Tickets start at $18 and are now available for purchase at www.fords.org or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787. Groups of 15 or more are encouraged to book through the Ford’s Theatre Group Sales department by visiting www.fords.org/groups.

Ford’s Theatre is accessible to persons with disabilities, offering wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, audio-description, sign-interpretation and audio enhancement.

Ford’s Theatre Society
One of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital, Ford’s Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.

The mission of Ford’s Theatre Society is to celebrate the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and explore the American experience through theatre and education. For its accomplishments, the organization was honored in 2008 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the U.S. government to artists, arts institutions and arts patrons.

Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford’s Theatre Society for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith and Necessary Sacrifices, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape.

In 2006, the mission of Ford’s Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. The new Center brings the values and ideals of Lincoln from the past into the present, examining Lincoln’s multi-faceted legacy through exhibits, workshops, seminars and speakers, as well as community outreach programs.

For more information on Ford’s Theatre and the Ford’s Theatre Society, please visit www.fords.org.

Signature Theatre
Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work.  Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 38 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces.

In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such theatre luminaries as Chita Rivera, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally and the company’s signature composer, Stephen Sondheim.  Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 78 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, D.C., region’s professional theater and has been honored with 308 nominations.

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Media Contact: Lauren Beyea at lbeyea@fords.org or 202-434-9543.