Catching Up with the Leads


Felicity Nolan, Writer

The fantastic Saint Joe performances of Hello Dolly came to a tear-filled conclusion a few weeks ago. A few of the leads had some fascinating input in review of the experience. 

Starting off with our fabulous Dolly, senior, Martha Cleary, explained how the role was so special to her saying, “It was one of my grandma‘s favorite musicals and so she would play it on the piano for me when I was little, and I used to walk down the stairs at my grandparents house with my grandpa in the audience and I would sing “Hello Dolly” while my grandma would play it on the piano. So, it was really sweet to walk down the stairs as Dolly and wear my grandma‘s ring as Dolly‘s wedding ring. It was a really sweet full circle moment.” Cleary was extremely thankful for the role and for “getting to sing and dance and act and have that be something that brings people joy and makes them smile.” 

Cleary explained that it was rather challenging to memorize the role and get “up the confidence to be someone that is so vivacious and out there.” Cleary would advise anyone who might take this role in the future to start memorizing early and to “Make sure you can take a moment to just realize how exciting and special it is, and don’t let the parts that make you nervous get in the way of the things that you love.” 

Junior, Colin MacDonell, had a great time performing as Cornelius Hackle. He reviewed his experience saying, “I thought the character really suited me and I could really develop my skills because it was easier to try to be him since his character traits are more like me.” When asked if which part of performing is his favorite he said, “Definitely the singing because I feel like that’s my strong part. Then probably acting and then dancing, because I’m not that good at dancing.” 

Sophomore, Eliot Mark, described his character, Horace Vandergelder, saying, “His whole deal with the story is that his wife died, and he is looking for a new wife, but he’s very stubborn and a little old fashioned, we’ll say, in some of his views.” Eliot still has a couple years left with Saint Joe Theater, so when asked about his hopes for the future in the program Eliot said, “I hope we can keep the same sense of community, and even though we have a lot of seniors leaving I hope it’s still a fun group to hang out with. And I hope that it grows. More freshmen and sophomore‘s need to come out.”

A representative from the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts came to see the show and awarded several of the cast members scholarships. Lucy Smith, Braeden Troy, Eliot Mark, and Molly Jachim were awarded with a $2,000 scholarship to the Conservatory’s summer program. Martha Cleary, Felicity Nolan, and Colin MacDonell were awarded with a $10,000 scholarship to the Conservatory’s associates program. When asked about how this opportunity made her feel, Cleary said, “It’s really exciting! I definitely wasn’t expecting it so I think that was just kind of a shock. It was good to have the external validation that I was doing a good job. It’s sweet to have that opportunity given so that was really cool.” 

Overall, the leads had a blast with this year’s musical, and they only have hope that each year is going to get better and better.