If you go
What: "Hello Dolly"
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Nov. 2, 3; 2 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 4
Where: Clay Center
Tickets: $15 and $20
Info: www.theclaycenter.or or 304-561-3570
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The first time Debbie Spradling appeared in a Charleston Light Opera Guild production of "Hello Dolly," in 1969, she wasn't nearly old enough to play the title role.
The second time, 28 years later, she landed the role, although she probably was a bit younger than Dolly Levi is intended to be.
This weekend, the Kanawha County lead gifted teacher says she's finally the right age to play the matchmaker who brings love to other couples and herself.
Spradling, 65, laughingly recalled a conversation she had with Nina Denton Pasinetti, who has directed all three productions of the musical, on closing night in 1997.
"I remember telling her, 'I'll be better next time,' " she said.
In fact, Spradling believes that is so.
"I'm older and I feel more like Dolly this time," she said. "I see her as being more my age now."
Spradling is delighted to be able to perform beside longtime friend and veteran actor Tim Harper, who plays Horace Vandergelder, a gentleman Dolly Levi ends up claiming for herself.
"In 1997, he wanted to try out and wasn't able to," she said. "I was so excited when he could do the show this time."