In Depth: Say Hello to Hello Dolly

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Actors, singers and dancers at Marian put on their Sunday clothes and feathered hats on the weekend of Oct. 26-29 for the Fall musical “Hello Dolly.” Cast and crew began rehearsing and building sets three months prior to opening night. The show received the help of male actors, singers and dancers from schools including Creighton Prep, Millard West and Central. “Hello Dolly” would not have been possible without the dedication of directors Michael McCandless, Michelle Delisi and Lauren Morrissey. The hard work of the cast, crew, set construction crew, theater seminar class and the orchestra appeared to be a success with people giving standing ovations during the final curtain call.



CAST LIST (in order of appearance)

Rachael Brich – Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi
Grace Woltemath – Ernestina
Nate Kielian – Ambrose Kemper*
Caleb Myers – Horace Vandergelder
Jolie Peal – Ermengarde*
P.J. Mooney – Cornelius Hackl
Daniel Noon – Barnaby Tucker
Emma Johnson – Minnie Fay
Megan Doehner – Irene Malloy
Mary Watson – Mrs. Rose*
William Kizer – Coachman*
Matthew Lemar – Rudolph Reinsenweber*
Ben Lane – Stanley*
Diana Elizalde – Judge*
Tyler Harris, Isaac White – Policemen*
Anna Swoboda – Court Clerk*
(* denotes Chorus/Waiters)

Other Chorus/Waiters: Julia Becker, Elaina Carleton, Annie Compton, Sarah Doll, Max Doocy, Cecelia Fuller, Anna Hoffman, Margaret Kelly, Kaci Kirchhoefer, Isha Kishore, Nyanar Kual, Kaji Loro, Will Minihall, Olivia Ramaekers, Patrice Roubidoux, Megan Rutten, Avery Streber, Rebecca Townley, Julia Veik, Chiara Wallen, Cassie Wolf, Eric Woods.

Dancers: Sadie Eggerling, Karly Firmature, Cecilia Fuller, Anna Hoffman, Barraina McCroy, Kayla Munchrath, Megan Rutten, Rebecca Townley, Lauren Zadalis.

Brich makes her way up the ladder, one musical at a time

by Maria Determan

From the creaky brown risers of St. Cecilia Grade School to the velvet curtain draw at her final performance of “Hello Dolly,” senior Rachael Brich has done it all.

She wore the embarrassing mauve, orange and army green pilgrim costumes in “Rags.” She took a shaving cream pie to the face for every performance of “Singin’ in the Rain.” She has even resorted to a marker and erase board to replace her fading voice for “Hello Dolly.”

Through it all, Brich has sported a smile, a song and of course, her black character shoes. “I’m never going to stop doing theater,” Brich said.

What started as role with the Omaha Community Playhouse as a chorus member in fourth grade quickly turned into a full-time gig for Brich. Ever since her middle school music teacher drilled theory and technique into her curly red head, she took that knowledge and ran.

Her mother Tess and sister Bridget ’12 both introduced Brich to theater. Even in her current role as Dolly Levi, the spunky matchmaker, her father Dan helps her run lines for memorization.

Family influence certainly had a role in Brich’s upbringing. Greater, however, was her desire to grow as a person. “I get these awesome life experiences and learn these new things like how to manage my time, how to have better communication skills and get to be friends with people who are younger than me and older than me,” Brich said.

As a freshman, Brich played volleyball instead of participating in Marian theater. She still got her daily dose of musical delight in ninth grade chorus and the occasional voice lesson.

The subsequent fall seasons have been consumed with musical roles in “Rags,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Hello Dolly.”

The characters Brich has embodied have progressively intensified, yet continually increased in reward. To Brich, the benefits outweigh the exhaustion because of her opportunity to “learn all these new things and better myself,” Brich said.

Over the years, her skills have blossomed, though nerves still send butterflies circling in her stomach. By the time performances roll around, Brich said, “Oh I am shaking in my boots, I am so nervous.” Despite the inner quiver, Brich never lets the stress ruin her months of hard work and dedication.

“When we’re going through the show, I calm down a little bit more,” Brich said, “By the Saturday night performance, I am settled down.” Friends aid in her relaxation, along with music, Netflix and “taking time for myself,” Brich said.

She will carry these skills with her to college, and the rest of her theatrical life. Brich currently has her sights set on a psychology major but will undoubtedly take theater classes and take part in community productions, too.


So long dearie Rachael Brich ’18 strikes a pose while singing “So Long Dearie.” On the last weekend in October, Brich starred in “Hello Dolly” playing the role of Dolly Levi. Photo by Grace Sall.

Brich has been on all sides of the theatrical spectrum – the nitty gritty primary roles and the high-intensity leads. She has climbed the ladder of Marian performing arts, and proudly finished her high school acting career with a smile on her face and a large feathered hat upon her head.

“I used to be one of those girls as a freshman looking up to the seniors, and as a sophomore getting to participate with seniors in the production. I’m a senior now, seeing how the underclassmen look up to me and how they treat me is so rewarding. I’ve been in their position and they are just glowing – they are going to be bright stars!” Brich said.

Meet the Crew


From top to bottom, left to right: Audrey Hertel (Stage Manager), Courtney Kilroy (Stage Manager), Tayla McWilliams (Costumes), Lily Weindel (Costumes), Emma McClellan (Make-up), Sarah Burnett (Backstage),  Rayna Bartling (Backstage), Allison Ostapowicz (Backstage), Makayla Sedlacek (Sound), Leah Raemakers (Lights) Cori Davis (Costumes), Kavianna Shelton (Assistant Stage Manager), Katie Tiojanco (Lights), Chloe Degan (Backstage), Lily Veylupek (Backstage), Libby Knudsen (Backstage), Ellie Henderson (Backstage), Holly McCutcheon (Backstage), Claudia Archer (Backstage), Maddie McKillip (Sound) and Sydney Schumacher (Backstage). Photo courtesy of Andie Mikuls.

Meet the Directors: an interview with the masterminds behind ‘Hello Dolly’

Mr. McCandless

Q: How long have you been a director?

A: I have been directing since 1985, but I got into theater 45 years ago as an actor.

Q: What was the first production you ever directed??

A: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Roncalli during a summer theater festival that they had.

Q: What is the first production you ever acted in?

A: Hello, Dolly!

Q: When were you first introduced to theater?

A: I was first introduced to theater in the first grade. I was the third shepherd in a nativity play.

Q: What is your favorite part of directing at Marian?

A: The people that I get to direct and work with, the students are just phenomenal.

Q: What was your favorite Marian production?

A: The next one. The reason I say that is because they’re all favorites, and if I pick just one out it would be unfair to the other ones that I really liked doing too. If you say the next one, it kind of gives you hope that there will be a next one.

Q: What is your dream role?

A: There’s a lot of Shakespearian roles that I haven’t played yet. Prospero in The Tempest would be a good one.

Q: To whom do you owe your success as a director?

A: All of the directors that I’ve had.

Q: When a cast member is struggling to fulfill the vision you have for a character, how do you help them do so? Is there a middle ground of what they want and you want?

A: A theater relationship is how the actor wants to portray the role and how I want to see the play and I represent the audience. There has to be a lot of give and take. I don’t think I’m a directator. I love the exchange of ideas. Everybody has creativity and it’s such a gift, I try not to squelch it.

Q: How do you manage to be a professor and a director? Could you walk me through your day?

A: I don’t get any sleep, and I don’t eat. But other than that it’s fine.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration to write from?

A: Mostly from people and situations. History, and not just the history that we all learn in history courses, but the histories that there isn’t time enough to teach us. Individual diaries and things like that are fascinating to me.

Q: What is your favorite song from the show?

A: The favorite song is Sunday Clothes. His favorite quieter song is Ribbons Down My Back because Megan does such a good job.

Mrs. Michelle Delisi

Q: When you are choreographing and you need to fill in, what is your go-to move?

A: My go-to moves are the jazz square/box step, step touch and side-together-side-touch, very simple moves.

Q: How long have you been choreographing?

A: I have been choreographing since my sophomore year of highschool.

Q: What was the first production you worked on?

A: Bye Bye Birdie

Q: What is your favorite part of being the choreographer for the musicals?

A: Seeing the end results is the best part of being a choreographer

Q: You are very close to cast members and they even call you “mama d,” how do you go about making those relationships with them?

A: I personally think that I have the ability to make kids feel like they’re worth something. I feel like I have a way of saying ‘well that’s not quite right, let’s try it this way’ without making them feel dumb or stupid. I’ve always had the ability to make people feel good about themselves, and make them feel like what they’re doing is a huge accomplishment.

Q: What is it like or how do you feel when people you’ve worked with for 4 years graduate?

A: Sad, very sad. By the time you get to be juniors and seniors I feel very connected and then I feel like that time just flies by, and you’re gone.

Q: When did you start dancing?

A: My first dance recital was when I was three

Q: What is your favorite type of song to choreograph?

A: I love choreographing anything from the 70s the 80s, I love oldies music, but that’s what I grew up with.

Ms. Morrissey

Q: What is your favorite musical to sing along to (or just favorite musical in general)?

A: I’ve got to go back to the classic Sound of Music, that’s always been my favorite.

Q: What is your favorite musical you have been a part of (either as a cast member or as a music director or maybe both…)?

A: I think Rags will always stick out as the most special because it was my first one directing.

Q: What is your favorite part of being the music director for Marian’s musicals?

A: The whole journey from beginning to end is really fun to watch. It’s fun to see the show grow but also the individual students.

Q: How did you first come to love music?

A: I don’t know, I’ve always loved it. It probably stemmed from watching The Sound of Music practically every day when I was a little kid. It was my favorite movie and I watched it all the time. So I always say Julie Andrews taught me how to sing.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a music teacher?

A: In high school I loved choir and I thought about being a music teacher, other people had suggested that to me, I knew I wanted to go into music so I went off to college knowing that I had it narrowed down to at least music by that point. I thought about some other music degrees but it really came down to I just really loved watching people learn.

Q: How has working as an accompanist affected your teaching?

A: I’m really not much of an accompanist. I do play the piano which is very helpful as a musician and a teacher. I love having Mr. DiBlasi here because playing piano and accompanying on the piano are two different beasts and I’m a decent piano player and a terrible accompanist. Mr Diblasi, however, is great at both and I’ve loved having him around the last couple of years.

Q: What are your thoughts when people tell you “I can’t sing,”  and they are in a musical? How do you help them find their “voice?”

A: I hate when people think they can’t sing because singing, it’s a common misconception that singing is a talent you’re born with rather than a skill that you learn, and singing is a skill that you learn. Your brain and your voice are capable of that just by being a human. I would encourage everyone to refine that skill, it’s not like you have to be some great opera star, but everyone is capable of singing in a pleasant, in-tune voice. I don’t believe in tone deafness because in reality if someone called you on the phone and they were angry and you could tell that they were angry just by the tone of their voice, that’s having an ear for tone. I would say give it a shot and a musical is a great way to get into because you have the support of the whole cast.

Q: How do you help people who think they can’t sing to find their voice?

A: I think starting with songs that they like is always a good place to start. Everyone sings in their car or at home when they are alone and that’s kind of where your voice starts for everybody. That’s why the musical is so great, because those songs are so much fun and they have a lot of personality. Just giving someone something that’s simple but it’s something they can feel good about and feel successful with is great too.

Tour de Tech

Take a look behind the scenes of this year’s production of “Hello Dolly” through our Tour de Tech where we show you what it’s like controlling the technical parts of the show!


The light booth is behind the audience and controls all of the light settings. The lights are  programmed cue to cue. Light techs for “Hello Dolly” were Sarah Burnett ’20 and Leah Raemakers ’19.


The sound booth is next to the light booth and controls all of the sound settings and cues. Sound techs for “Hello Dolly” were Makayla Sedlaceck ’18 and Maddie 
McKillip ’18.


The spotlight booth is above the light booth and is used for spotlights when needed. Spotlight is run by the light techs.

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The catwalk is above the spotlight booth and is used by technical crew to go from booth to backstage. It is a caged area with views of the audience.



 The Stage manager station is backstage on left (pictured here) and right wings. The student stage managers control set changes and cues for the show stage managers for “Hello Dolly” were Audrey Hertel ’18 and Courtney Kilroy ’18.

photos by Julia Hingorani

Do you want to work in these spaces? Fill out a crew application next spring or contact Mrs. Michelle Delisi.

Musicals Past: A Flashback to 10 Years of Marian Musicals 

Graphic by Maria Determan and photos courtesy of past yearbooksoctogons


IMG_9788group pit*cropped.jpgOrchestra Members

Orchestra Director: Paul Niedbalski

Violins: Morgan Hodges, Sophie Clark, Jacquie Smith, Shruthi Kumar, Kaylie Ewing, Emily Lamilla, Olivia Mathews, Arianna Seattle. Percussion: Abigail Lager, Isabel Romero. Violas: Madison Hofmeister, Mindy Zimmerman. Trombone: Maddie Genoways, Sean Bell. Woodwinds: Kelly Williams, Liz Young, Emily Saalfield, Hali Hansen, Aby Acevedo. Keyboard (& Rehearsal Accompanist): Tim DiBlasi. Trap Set: Judy Kuo. Trumpet: Roger Dill.

Technical Directors/Set Designers: Jeremy & Lindsay Cisco

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