Saturday, June 8, 2013

Leslie Alexander on Hello, Dolly!

Leslie Alexander and Steve Brady: Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
"Leslie Alexander doesn’t bat her eyes or belt her lyrics with abandon as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the Gateway Playhouse production of Hello, Dolly! at the Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts. She doesn’t invite applause for making an entrance, even when she appears at the top of that red staircase in the title number. She stays in character, a widow trying to make a living as a matchmaker and self-described “meddler.”Ms. Alexander’s attractive voice is warm and burnished, not bold and brassy. Her persona is charming and playful. Her persona is charming and playful, but modest compared with the flamboyant turns of some of her predecessors — notably Carol Channing, who logged more than 5,000 performances in the 1964 Broadway original and numerous tours and revivals thereafter, and Barbra Streisand, who played Dolly in the 1969 movie.
An unpretentious Dolly allows other actors to shine and songs besides the title one to blossom. John Sheridan, the director and choreographer, has made this a graceful ensemble piece, presenting the big numbers, which often continue through scene changes, with cinematic fluidity.
With Ryan Nearhoff: Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
“Hello, Dolly!” @ Gateway Playhouse 2010 – The New York Times Theater Review / Long Island

The director John Sheridan has a long association with the musical, touring in it as a teenager in 1965 with Mary Martin, appearing in the London premiere and staging it many times since. He has kept a fresh attitude, helped in this production by a lush-sounding orchestra, headed by William Foster McDaniel, and an ebullient cast.

Leslie Alexander played Dolly Levi at The Gateway Playhouse in Patchogue, NY in the summer of 2010.
Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
On Broadway, Leslie was in the cast of The Boy From Oz (starring Hugh Jackman) playing Marion and Josie Mann. She was also in the Original Cast of Broadway’s Mamma Mia! as Tanya. Off-Broadway she appeared in the The Transport Group’s Drama Desk Award- winning production of The Audience and the New York Musical Theatre Festival’s Twilight in Manchego.

At the Denver Center Theatre, she joined the company of the new musical, Sense and Sensibility.
Also at Denver Center, she played the Widow in The Taming of the Shrew and Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol.

She visited most of North America in the National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof which starred Topol, Harvey Fierstein, and Theodore Bikel.  Some of her favorite roles have been Maria in Twelfth Night with the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, Sylvia Fowler in The Women at Theatre Three, Rose in Gypsy at Forestburgh Playhouse, Louise in Always, Patsy Cline at Stoneham Theatre and The Depot Theatre, Leslie in The Music of Rodgers  and Hart at Stamford TheatreWorks, and Agnes in I Do! I Do! at Lyric Stage (Rabin Award Nominee for Best Actress in a Musical.) Other theatres at which she has worked include Houston’s TUTS, Kansas City Starlight, The Muny, Dallas Summer Musicals, Atlanta’s Fox, New Denver Civic and Westchester Broadway. Ms. Alexander also headlined the concert The Music of Jerry Herman at the historical Strand Theater. Cast albums include The Boy From Oz, Hats! The Red Hat Society Musical, and The Spirit of River City.

Film work includes SpaceMarines, the Rockstar Video Game Paradise, and Francesco’s Friendly World. She starred in the short films The One O’Clock, Kate and Gerald, and jungLand. Television appearances include Phyllis on One Life To Live, Claire in Siren (a new pilot), As The World Turns, Walker: Texas Ranger, The Tony Awards, and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Leslie has appeared in national commercials for Target, American Express, Quaker Oats, MCI, and Pepcid-AC, among others.
Voice-over work includes McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Move-Free, and Alluna. Ms. Alexander is a native Texan but currently resides in NYC and she is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. Please visit her website at .

Leslie's performance as Dolly Levi was critically acclaimed by the New York Times (see above) in Gateway Playhouse’s production of Hello Dolly! Her Horace Vandergelder was Steve Brady.
Leslie liked Steve and his performance very much and enjoyed working with him.
Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)

Steve has a crusty side which is perfect for Horace; and a great sense of comedy.

Playing Dolly Levi and doing the show, Leslie says she discovered the magic of Hello Dolly!
Courtesy: Leslie Alexander

As her rehearsal period was extremely short, she would really like to explore Dolly’s past if she was given the opportunity to do it again.
She would also like to have the time and liberty to fine tune her comedy. 
Leslie had auditioned for The Gateway Playhouse in the past.Hello Dolly! was part of their summer 2010 season.
They also had a star lined up.
Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
Unfortunately, she had to drop out at the last minute.
Based on Leslie’s past audition with Gateway they called her at the last minute. The company had already been rehearsing for ten days. When Leslie joined them, they were calling it Who’s Dolly?!?

She had seven days to learn the role - songs, lines, dances – everything!

It was really hard but she worked her proverbial tush off and she was ready by the time they opened, seven days after joining the company. She says they were all so wonderful – supportive, fun, and talented! It was a thrilling experience.

The monologue when Dolly is asking Ephram to give her away is Leslie’s favorite moment of the show. Dolly loved Ephram very much, but finally realizes it’s time to move on; that moves her to sing Before The Parade Passes By, another favorite moment for Leslie.
Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
with Wade Elkins: Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
Put On Your Sunday Clothes: Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
At that first performance, Leslie was terrified, of course, after only seven days of rehearsal. Her script was in that big carpet bag that Dolly always carries the whole run of the show! It became her secret security blanket. By the way – she never had to pull it out during a performance! 

She would have loved a month to prepare for this!

They ran for a month.

Opening night, Leslie was thrilled, scared and glad to finally have it under her belt!
 She loves the fact that she had the opportunity to play Dolly Levi with a terrific theatre, great orchestra, talented cast, beautiful costumes, and wonderful audiences!

The one thing that Leslie learned from her involvement with doing Dolly that she has carried throughout your career is that she can accomplish anything! With hard work, tenacity, and a great attitude -  the world is her oyster!
Leslie’s worst experience with the show was doubting that she could do it.

Leslie also loves the fact that so many different types of women can play Dolly! She’s magical!

Leslie’s thoughts on Jerry Herman?
“I love his music. It’s heart-warming, funny and wonderful! He is a huge talent and I feel blessed to have been able to sing his songs.”

The one major change Leslie has seen in the industry since she first started in this business, Unfortunately, she has seen quite a bit of entitlement among younger performers.
Not always, just sometimes. Many of them don’t know what it means to pay their dues.
Courtesy: Leslie Alexander (photographer: Jeff Bellante)
Thank you Leslie Alexander for the gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Check out my blog tomorrow: Just in time for The Tonys! Celebrating the lives of Broadway Gypsies: Tthe lives of the Broadway dancers and gypsies I have come to know and love!

When it comes to the history of Jerry Herman’s brilliant production, beyond the 5000 plus performances of my own, even I turn to Richard Skipper when I have questions about the remarkable ladies who followed me in the role that the world fell in love with over 50 years ago.-Carol Channing


Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

And Reserve today for
Richard Skipper Celebrates Jackie Joseph: LIVE at The Metropolitan Room in NYC! 
A benefit for Actors and Others For Animals (
Jackie Joseph is an American character actress, voice artist, and writer known for portraying Alan Brady's niece Jackie on the Dick van Dyke Show, as well as the film characters of: Audrey Fulquard in the original The Little Shop of Horrors, Sheila Futterman in both Gremlins films, and the voice of Melody in the animated television series Josie and the Pussycats and Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space
She was a regular on The Doris Day Show portraying Doris' friend, Jackie Parker and also famously played the love interest of Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show as well as Imogene Harris, the eccentric love-interest of Mario (Jaime Farr) in Who's Minding The Mint…THAT’S JUST FOR STARTERS!
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Imagine "Inside the Actor's Studio" but with Richard Skipper's own personal style.
The last fifteen minutes will be comprised of questions from the audience.
Jackie will meet and greet the audience downstairs afterward.
Fifty percent of every cover will benefit Actors and OthersFor Animals
$20.00. Cover ($10.00 of every cover goes to Actors and Others for Animals)/Two drink minimum. Reservations a MUST: 34 W 22nd St  New York, NY 10010
You can purchase your tickets on The Metropolitan Room's website website as it is a direct way to pre-pay the Cover Charge.
(212) 206-0440

Win a chance to win a fabulous gift basket!
Please call with any questions you may have 845-365-0720

TWEET: Richard Skipper Celebrates Jackie Joseph: LIVE at The Metropolitan Room in NYC! For Actors and Others For Animals 7/3 @ 7PM

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This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!                   

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