When Marina Prior was cast as the leading lady for Hello Dolly!, by The Production Company, there was only one choice for the actor to play opposite as her leading man: her husband, Grant Piro.
When I suggested they should expect the reviews to declare a wonderful chemistry between the two, Piro laughed, “Well, we hope so!”
Dolly Levi is an iconic musical theatre character, made famous by Barbra Streisand in the movie version of Hello Dolly!. Australia’s original Dolly Levi was played by Jill Perryman. The role is currently being played by Bette Midler in the Broadway production. Barbra, Jill, Bette and now Marina.
“It’s always been one of those roles that I’ve thought I’ll play one day when I’m grown up – and then I realised, when they asked me to do it this year, that I must grown up!” said Prior.
“It’s come up at the right time. I’m at the right age. I think I’m at the right stage of my career and … I just feel really honoured to do it. It’s just such a great opportunity and it’s a gift of a role.”
In learning the material for the role, Marina Prior said she realised the richness of this character.
“She has great depth, she’s got pathos, she’s got comedy and she’s got sass!” exclaimed Prior.
Grant Piro says Hello Dolly! is one of the great classic musicals.
“There’s so few musicals in this category. Marina did The Sound of Music last year, which is one, and previously Mary Poppins, which is another one and this is in that same iconic category. It’s bigger and grander than a lot of musicals,” explained Piro.
He considers Dolly Levi to be a classic role.
“This is truly iconic and I keep thinking how marvellous it is that my wife is playing this particular role. It’s a comic role, it’s a beautiful role and she’s funny and beautiful,” said Piro, looking at his wife.
“Awwww …” said Prior with a smile.
“It’s true!” added Piro.
Indeed, the chemistry is there.
Hello Dolly! is playing at the Arts Centre until June 11th.
For more information and tickets: http://www.theproductioncompany.com.au/hellodolly/