Using a unique way to audition for stage productions because of the COVID-19, Theatre Memphis invited audio and video submissions via the internet to select its cast for the opening musical for the 100th anniversary season, “Hello, Dolly!.”

The production is scheduled to open Aug. 21 in TM’s renovated and expanded facility at 630 Perkins Extended.

Directed and choreographed by Jordan Nichols and Travis Bradley, the process to cast Hello, Dolly! took place over four weeks of reviewing submissions, scheduling virtual “callbacks” and interviewing potential cast members.

“We had to reinvent our process so everyone had a clear path for us to keep this organized,” said Theatre Memphis’ production stage manager and volunteer coordinator Amy Salerno Hale.

“It is certainly a different dynamic from our usual auditions, but people rose to the occasion and were prepared for their audition and that really showed in the submissions.”

The cast list includes familiar faces to Theatre Memphis including Debbie Litch who has been tapped for the title role of Dolly Gallagher Levi.

As Theatre Memphis’ executive producer, Litch’s decision to audition for the role fulfilled a dream and saluted the late Ann Sharp who, according, to Litch “was the quintessential Dolly” in Theatre Memphis’ in 2003 production. Litch only expected the opportunity to audition and made this clear to the directors.

Nichols said, “Of all the people who submitted extensive video audition materials, Debbie was the best fit for Dolly.”

Also in the cast is Barclay Roberts who returns to the character of Horace Vandergelder, a role he also played opposite Sharp.

As a nod to performers in TM’s 100 year history, cameo roles include past favorites Barry Fuller, Jason Spitzer and more. The cast totals 35, counting the ensemble. The entire cast list can be seen at www.theatrememphis.org/hello-dolly.

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