Meet Analisa Leaming From Hello Dolly! (At The Orpheum Right Now!)
Over those made-for-TV holiday rom coms? Get out of the house and get to the Orpheum for Hello, Dolly! on stage now through Sunday, December 22. It’s not holiday-themed, but it has all the joy, cheer, dancing, music, and romance you require.
Today (Wednesday) is actually the Student/Teacher/Hero ticket rush, where the Orpheum offers limited $20-$25 cash-only tickets to 18+ students, educators, military, first responders, nurses, and their families. The tickets go on sale in-person at the Orpheum Box Office two hours before showtime (5:30 p.m. today!) Check out this page for all the details.
Now back to the show…
Today I met up with Hello, Dolly! starring actor Analisa Leaming, who portrays the independent, sassy widow Irene Molloy. When I heard she attended The University of Memphis, and then I heard that Muddy’s Midtown is featuring their delicious Hello Dolly bars all week in honor of the show, I just had to meet up with her to chat and maintain my holiday sugar intake.
Here’s my Q&A with Analisa.
Holly: How did you get into musicals? What’s your tie to Memphis?
Analisa: I’m from Murfreesboro, and I have always wanted to do this musical theater thing, my whole life. I went to The University of Memphis for two years and got my start here. My first production in Memphis was the school’s production of Into The Woods: I played Cinderella. I just had my sights set on New York, so I did transfer there and finished school at Eastman School of Music. I’ve spent the last 13 years performing in shows, including four Broadway Productions. Now I’m on this national tour of Hello, Dolly! for the last 14 months. I’m “living the dream”.
Holly: When you were in school here, what were you go-to Memphis spots?
Analisa: As a poor, broke college student, Huey’s was my spot. I’m looking forward to actually going places while I’m here! I’m heading to the James Lee House for tea and scones, and I want to take my husband to the Peabody lobby and Starry Nights if we have time.
Holly: What’s Hello, Dolly! about?
Analisa: The show centers around Dolly Levi, who’s a matchmaker and a widow. She’s setting up Horace Vandergelder and another young widow Irene Molloy, but very quickly she realizes there might be other plans for herself and Mr. Vandergelder.
It’s all about a long day in New York City. Hilarity ensues. It’s a farce, with sweeping scores, beautiful dancing–a quintessential Broadway musical.
Holly: Tell us about your character in the show.
Analisa: Irene Molloy is a widow who she owns a hat shop, which in that time (in the 1880s-90s) it was not socially acceptable to be a working woman. It was a little bit scandalous. At the beginning of the show, she’s decided to marry a very wealthy older gentleman — but right from the get-go, you realize she’s not your typical ingénue. Irene is worldly, very playful and sassy, which is really fun.
Holly: What’s your favorite number that you get to perform?
Analisa: The song “Ribbons Down My Back”, which I sing early on in the show is so fun and such a beautiful song. I look forward to singing that every night.
Holly: And what’s your favorite number that you’re not as involved in?
Analisa: “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” is one of my favorite numbers, and the costumes are out of this world, they’re Tony Award winning. It’s an iconic number and it makes you feel like you’re seeing one of those old Broadway musicals. As far as dancing, the waiters in Act 2 are a particular standup, they’re incredible and thrilling to watch.
Holly: This year, the Orpheum has had a mix of classic musicals and newer shows. It’s go great to have that variety. Why should Memphians see the show?
Analisa: I’ve had so many young people, including teenagers, say that they’ve never seen the show before, and they love it. When these kinds of musicals come back through, it’s fun and exciting. Memphians should see the show because it is so much fun and pure and joy. And who doesn’t need two hours out of life to laugh and smile and feel good?
Hello, Dolly! is at the Orpheum through this Sunday, so grab your tickets right away.
Also, check out Analisa’s podcast A Balancing Act, which is all about how to balance the ups and downs of the creative lifestyle, whether you’re a theatre person or not. She’s actually had Rob McClure as a podcast guest, which you may remember from this interview from Something Rotten. You can find A Balancing Act wherever you get your podcasts.
Hello, Dolly! Broadway Musical
through Sunday, December 22, 2019
$25 – $125