The Hello Girls – Musical – Taproot Theatre

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): The Hello Girls musical by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel at Taproot Theatre. Starring Cassi Q Kohl & Rico Lastrapes. Direction by Karen Lund and musical direction by Michael Nutting. Story about the unsung American female switchboard operators in WWI. #helloGirls #girlPower #war #theatre

Synopsis from the Theatre: “Imagine a time when the world was divided. … A world where freedom is under assault … A world where nationalism is on the rise… We’re talking about the year 1918, of course.” Helmet, check. Gas Mask, check… Lipstick, check. In this new musical, Grace Banker and her fellow switchboard operators are answering the call when the Bell Battalion Telephonic Ladies’ Switchboard Unit #1 makes history as America’s first female soldiers.

Reviewed Performance: 7/14/23 – Opening Night

Type: Musical

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: Several

Several or Few Settings/Locations: Several

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: No, but you might appreciate this more if you’re a little familiar with World War I.

Defined Plot/Storyline: Yes

Live Band/Orchestra: Yes

Recommendation: See it if you enjoy the specific genre of shows Taproot Theatre tends to produce like A Civil War Christmas, Bright Star, and The Spitfire Grill. You might also enjoy this show if you like women’s choral music like Seattle Women’s Chorus since there was a lot of female harmonies.

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show: Yes

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now: I’d consider another professional production

Rating Compared to Other Shows with the Same Production Value:
4 stars (Out of 5 Stars)

Equity Actors: 2

Total Number of Actors: 10

Perceived Pace of the Show: Medium speed

Length (Including Any Intermission): 2.75 hours

Intermission: Yes

Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned in Elevator Thoughts

  • Cassi Q Kohl: I didn’t even recognize Cassi compared to her recent roles in Cinderella and Miss Step! It goes to show her versatility as an actress.

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • Actor Musicians: Some actors in the show also were part of the band. I saw Jeremy Steckler on the bass and Rebecca Cort on the guitar. But I didn’t see the other actor musicians listed in the program like Rico Lastrapes on the clarinet, Jeremy Steckler on the guitar, Lauren Engstrom on the keyboard, and Casey Raiha on the keyboard. I wish I could also see these additional actors play their instruments. They were probably hidden in the back due to Taproot Theatre’s stage space constraints.
  • Uniform Purchase Requirement: Did (does) the army really not pay for uniforms? If you’re putting yourself in harm’s way and contributing a specialized skill to the war effort, the least the government can do is pay for your uniform.
  • Switchboard: This production would have greatly benefitted from a switchboard prop.
  • Costume Legs: I’ve never seen such weird leggings on American military uniforms that resembled culottes or knee breeches. But I guess they’re historically accurate since they resembled the pictures Google showed for “World War I American Uniform.”
    In background: Miranda Antoinette. Left to right: Fune Tautala, Jeremy Steckler, and Casey Raiha in The Hello Girls at Taproot Theatre. Photo by John Ulman.

Theatre Company: Taproot Theatre

Venue: Jewell Mainstage at Taproot Theatre

Venue Physical Address: 204 N 85th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Price: Medium

Ticket Affordability Options: Pay what you can days, GoldStar, and TodayTix.

Dates: July 12 – August 12, 2023

Seating: Assigned Seating

Parking: Paid lot or usually-free street parking. I always find free street parking on Greenwood Ave just South of the theatre.

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Other Video +/- Pictures: See pictures in video and under video by John Ulman.

Cast and Production Team: See after pictures and video below

@showsiveseen "The Hello Girls" #musical by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel at @TaprootTheatre. Starring @Cassi Q Kohl & Rico Lastrapes. Direction by Karen Lund & musical direction by Michael Nutting. Story about the unsung American #female #switchboard operators in #WWI. Photos by John Ulman. Review: #helloGirls #girlPower #war #theatre ♬ original sound – Shows I've Seen
Left to right: Rebecca Cort, Miranda Antoinette, Cassi Q Kohl, Lauren Engstrom, and Jessica Ziegelbauer in The Hello Girls at Taproot Theatre. Photo by John Ulman.
Cassi Q Kohl in The Hello Girls at Taproot Theatre. Photo by John Ulman.
Lauren Engstrom in The Hello Girls at Taproot Theatre. Photo by John Ulman.
Cassi Q Kohl in The Hello Girls at Taproot Theatre. Photo by John Ulman.
Suzanne PrevotRebecca Cort
Helen HillLauren Engstrom
Bertha HuntJessica Ziegelbauer
Louise LebretonMiranda Antoinette
Grace BankerCassi Q Kohl *
Man 2/PVT Eugen MattersonJeremy Steckler
Man 3/Dempsey/Morris/German SoldierCasey Raiha
Man 1/Wessen/Ackerman/BeaumontFune Tautala
Gen. John PershingJeff Church
Cpt. Joseph RiserRico Lastrapes *
Bertha Hunt / Suzanne Prevot (u/s)Jacqueline Tardanico
Grace Banker / Louise Lebreton (u/s)Keola Kapulani Holt
Helen Hill (u/s)Abigail Brittle
Riser / Pershing (u/s)Brandon Riel
Plano ConductorMichael Nutting, David Taylor Gomes
ViolinJeremy Lynch
CelloMatthew Tevenan
DrumsScot Sexton
BassJeremy Steckler
ClarinetRico Lastrapes *
Additional GuitarRebecca Cort, Jeremy Steckler
Additional KeyboardLauren Engstrom, Casey Raiha
DirectorKaren Lund **
Composer and LyricistPeter Mills
PlaywrightPeter Mills, Cara Reichel
Music DirectorMichael Nutting
Associate DirectorBretteney Beverly
Assistant DirectorNik Nolan
Scenic/Sound DesignerMark Lund
Costume DesignerNanette Acosta
Lighting DesignerAhren Buhmann
ChoreographerKaty Tabb **
Stage ManagerRachel Victoria Miller *
DramaturgRowan Gallagher
Dialect CoachMarianna de Fazio
*Appearing through on agreement between Taproot Theatre and Actors’ Equity Association.
**Members of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

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