Indeed, Wilder first wrote it in 1938 as "The Merchant of Yonkers," an adaptation of a German comedy by Johann Nestroy (which was also later adapted for the Royal Shakespeare Company by Tom Stoppard as the farce, "On The Razzle."
Yonkers’ merchant was Horace Vandergelder, a rich man of 60 who ventures into New York City in the 1890s to woo an attractive widow, Mrs. Molloy, at her millinery shop. Vandergelder’s clerks, Cornelius and Barnaby, also sneak into town the same day, encounter their boss and his sweetheart, and complications ensue.
At the Colony, director Todd
Nielsen sets his production within designer John Patrick’s Gay 90s gingerbread
bandstand, which is ingeniously and entertainingly adapted in four choreographed
Don’t take that to mean "The Matchmaker" is without comedy. This is a play in which life — and laughter — are rediscovered. It’s rejuvenating for both its characters and the audience.
In red wig and heavy eye shadow, Jodi Carlisle uncannily resembles Ginger Rogers, as the musical Dolly (in 1965, when she replaced Carol Channing). Carlisle’s rich voice and warmth soften the busyness with which she plays our literature’s best-known busybody.
Nielsen gets some marvelous
work from his supporting cast, notably Jodi Rosenbaum as Ermengarde, Caren
Saiet as the giggly Minnie Fay, Darin Anthony as Barnaby, Kurt Boesen,
Robert Stephan Ryan and Scott Vance entertain in multiple roles.
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