Diana Q & A with Chelsea Cree Groen aka cast name Minnie Fay with "Holly Dolly"

November 15, 2019





                                                            By: Diana Brang-Scott



HELLO, DOLLY!  this blockbuster Broadway hit is back and bursting with humor, romance, dynamic dancing, and some of the greatest songs in musical theater history.


Winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, HELLO, DOLLY! is the universally acclaimed smash that NPR calls “the best show of the year!” and the Los Angeles Times says “distills the mood-elevating properties of the American musical at its giddy best.”  Director Jerry Zaks’ “gorgeous” new production (Vogue) is “making people crazy happy!” (The Washington Post). After breaking box office records week after week and receiving unanimous raves HELLO, DOLLY! on Broadway, this HELLO, DOLLY! is now touring America, paying tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history. Rolling Stone calls it “a must-see event. A musical comedy dream. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket, you’ll be seeing something historic. Wow, wow, wow, indeed!”


The romantic and comic exploits of Dolly Gallagher-Levi, a widow in who has decided to begin her life again. Dolly is a matchmaker, ameddler,an opportunist and a life-loving woman. (Played by Carolee Carmello) This revival is certain to thrill and entertain those that have seen this show before and create new fan of all ages. HELLO, DOLLY! is an irresistible story of the joy of living, bursting with exuberant toe tapping songs, captivating loving scenes, and is brought to life with the personality of one of the most fabulous characters on the musical stage…Dolly Gallagher Levi!


I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Chelsea Cree Groen who is cast as Minnie Fay and is making her Broadway National tour debut. Chelsea is an NYC based actress, singer, and dancer originally from Phoenix, AZ. but she has some Michigan connections. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She reminisced about how her time in Ann Arbor was some of the best years of her life (Thus far) she even met her husband there, and his family has now relocated from out of state to Dearborn MI. Chelsea said, “I feel like my life has now come full circle. I remember vividly going to see national tours of shows playing in Detroit when I was in college, and now I will be on that same stage! This is just so special to me.”


Chelsea plays the role of Minnie Fay, a young, impressionable, naïve and outspoken young lady who works in the local hat shop. I asked her what was the most challenging part of this role for her? She said, “I think the hardest part for me was figuring out how to go back to that place of complete childlike innocence, Minnie is a young 17-year-old girl, and she is terrified of boys. I am 10 years older than the character and have more life experience, so trying to capture those ‘Highschool crush’ moments and channeling what that was like was the hardest part.”


HELLO, DOLLY! The musical originally came out in 1964 based on a book by Michael Stewart. The film with the same name came out in 1969 staring Barba Streisand and won three Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Score of a Musical Picture and Best Sound and was nominated for a further four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. I asked Chelsea what she thinks gives this musical such staying power after all these years? She replied,” HELLO, DOLLY! Is truly the ultimate golden age musical. It has everything you want, unbelievable dancing, unbelievable Tony award winning costumes, and It’s the universal story of love. This fresh and modern take on the original is a perfect show, and it’s just over the top hilarious.”

This show is also filled with memorable songs include “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Elegance,” and “It Only Takes a Moment.”


Chelsea is looking forward to spending some time back in Michigan, she plans on hitting up some of her favorite local restaurants and sharing them with the cast. She is happy to be able to spend Thanksgiving here with family. I concluded our interview by asking her if she thought there was a message for the audience within this show? She said, “Yes, it’s the universal story of love, love is all you need, and truly finding joy in all the moments life offers you.”

So, begin your holiday season with a show that radiates joy and love and come on out and see Chelsea and the entire cast of HELLO, DOLLY! At Detroit’s own Fisher Theatre November 19 – December 1, 2019. Tickets can be purchased online at broadwayindetroit.com or ticketmaster.com, and by phone at 800-982-2787. They can also be purchased in person at The Fisher Theatre Box office.

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