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BOST says Hello, Dolly! and goodbye Elsie at the Liverpool Empire

BOST is set to say Hello, Dolly! this month – but also goodbye Elsie.

Much-loved Liverpool actress and director Elsie Kelly is to retire from staging the Birkenhead Operatic Society Trust shows after almost half-a-century.

The award-winning 82-year-old has been at the helm of the Wirral company’s productions since it staged Oliver! back in 1974.

Since then she has gone on to direct more than 90 shows and concerts with the society, including its recent hit Sweeney Todd, as well as professional pantomimes across the north west starring artists including Les Dawson, Windsor Davis, Melvyn Hayes and Norman Vaughan.

Kelly said: “I’m incredibly privileged to have worked with such a responsive company. I feel like we’ve grown together and I’m lucky to have produced such a high standard of shows with them.

Elsie Kelly (centre) with the cast of Oliver! in 1974. Above: Hello, Dolly!

“Hello,Dolly! is a charming musical about a wonderful matchmaker and it’s a super show to go out on a high with.

“I’ve actually directed Hello Dolly three times before for BOST, the first time being only my second show as the company’s director. The production starred Meg Johnson in the title role, who is now well known for playing Pearl Ladderbanks in ITV’s Emmerdale.”

Kelly’s own acting career has embraced stage and screen, including Crossroads, The Famous Five, Skins and, for the past few years, playing Johnny Vegas’ mum Noreen in Benidorm.

The multi award-winning Hello, Dolly! was premiered on Broadway in 1964 with Carol Channing in the title role, and made in to a film starring Barbra Streisand in 1969.

It follows the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a strong-willed matchmaker, as she travels to Yonkers, New York to find a match for the miserly "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder.

Hello, Dolly! is at the Liverpool Empire from May 16-18. Tickets from the website HERE

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