Bette Midler is bringing down the house with the Tony-winning revival of "Hello, Dolly!" on but you don't have to venture down the Great White Way to enjoy the matchmaker's tale. Stars Theatre Restaurant is putting on its Sunday clothes for its take on the classic musical.

Director Bruce Saathoff said the show has legs.

"I think it’s because of the humor, the songs ... Great Jerry Herman songs."

"Every revival that happens is a hit."

"Hello, Dolly!" has thrived since its 1964 Broadway debut for which it won a record-tying 10 Tony Awards (shared with "South Pacific"), a honor it held for 37 years. The 1969 Oscar-winning film, starring Barbra Streisand also helped cement its place in musical theater canon.

In the local production, Lori LaMacchia stars as Dolly Gallagher Levi, a determined matchmaker, who has agreed to find a match for the "well-known, unmarried half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder (Bob Anderson). She travels to New York City with Horace's clerks (Kyle Ball and Lucas Shearson), his niece Ermengarde (Britta Lowry) and Ambrose (Alex Sandoval) the artist who wants to marry the girl where excitement ensues.

The show also features Caitlin Wolfenstein, Melinda Mejia and Kenneth Whitchard.

Saathoff said he wasn't originally intended to direct it but was happy to be on board. His history with "Dolly" started in high school, when he played Vandergelder, then continued when he performed as Cornelius in a later production.

This is my show just because I've always loved it. ... It's had a special place in my heart."

He's also excited to bring some new blood to the Stars stage, with some newer performers in the ensemble and secondary roles. That includes Ball and actress Amanda Locke, who play Cornelius and Irene, a pair of regular folks who find love with Dolly's help.

"This is their first time stepping into a lead role."

With hummable tunes and plenty of laughs, the musical provides some escapist entertainment, Saathoff said.

"This isn’t a message show. Forget your troubles, have a good time and leave feeling good about everything."

"Hello, Dolly!" runs 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at Stars, 1931 Chester Ave. Performances continue through Oct. 21. Admission is $44-$63 for adults, $25-$40 for those 18 and under. Tickets are available at bmtstars.com, or by calling 325-6100 or visiting the box office between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Art After Dark

The Bakersfield Museum of Art is again hosting its latest Art After Dark event on Thursday.

The theme is "Poetry & Cocktails," with poems solicited from students and faculty of Cal State Bakersfield based on the fall exhibition. Works include wooden sculptures by Gwynn Murrill, paintings by Astrid Preston ("Poetics of Nature") and paintings and linocuts by Javier Carrillo ("Nuestros Ojos").

The poets will perform their works in front of attendees in the gallery space housing the inspiring works. Guests can get into the spirit with hand-crafted cocktails sold by The Spirit Guild. The Los Angeles-based distillery is known for spirits packed with flavors and aromas from California farms and orchards. California clementines are highlighted in the Guild's Astral Pacific Gin and Vapid Vodka.

The event will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at the museum, 1930 R St. Admission is $5, free for members and includes a poetry booklet for guests to follow along.

And for those already planning their Halloween activities, mark Oct. 26 on your calendar when the museum will host a Surrealist Masquerade as part of Art After Dark.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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