Friday, June 9, 2017

CT Theater Review: Thoroughly Modern Millie -- Goodspeed

The cast of ’Thoroughly Modern Millie .Photo: Diane Sobolewski

Thoroughly Modern Millie
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan
Lyrics by Dick Scanlan
Directed and Choreographed by Denis Jones

By Lauren Yarger
What's it All About?
The delightful Tony-Award wining stage version of a movie classic about a "modern" girl named Millie Dillmount (Taylor Quick)  who arrives in 1922 New York with one goal in mind: find a rich boss to marry.  She secures a job and zeros in on boss Trevor Graydon (Edward Watts), even if she does kind of find herself liking not-so-well-ff  Jimmy Smith (Dan DeLuca).  Meanwhile, something's not quite right at the Hotel Princess, where Millie and other young girls room. The landlord, Mrs. Meers (Loretta Ables Sayre) particularly likes to house orphans so she can ship them off in a white slavery ring she operates with Ching Ho (James Seol) and Bun Foo (Christopher Shin). Before you think there is a lot going on here, take a step back and know that the book (by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan, who writes the lyrics) is just a silly tale around which to stage a bunch of clever songs written by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home)  and choreographed by Director Denis Jones (who is nominated for Tony for his work on Holiday Inn, which got its start at Goodspeed). Gregory Gale supplies flashy, shimmering costumes and Paul Tate dePoo III designs deco sets to create the flapper-era world.

What Are the Highlights?
It's a fun musical with catchy tunes and big dance numbers. Quick is a charming Millie and there is good rapport between her, DeLuca and the engaging Watts.

What Are The Lowlights?
The pace seems slow at times and some of the comedic edge isn't sharp. Some performers aren't lighted well and appear to be singing in the dark.

More Information:
Millie is thoroughly entertaining at Goodspeed,  6 Main St., East Haddam through July 2. Performances are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 pm, Thursday at 7:30 pm (with select performances at 2 pm), Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm (with select performances at 6:30 pm). Tickets: goodspeed.org; 860-873-8668.

Additional credits:
Lighting Design by Rob Denton, Hair and Wig Design by Mark Adam Rampmeyer, Sound Design by Jay Hilton, Music Direction by Michael O’Flaherty, Assistant Music Direction by William J. Thomas, Orchestrations by Dan DeLange. Original Story and Screenplay by Richard Morris for the 1967 Universal Pictures Film.

Additional cast:
Samantha Sturm (Miss Dorothy), Ramona Keller (Muzzy), Lucia Spina (Miss Flannery). Ensemble:
Darien Crago, Caley Crawford, Patrick Graver, Bryan Thomas Hunt, Emily Kelly, Daniel May, PJ Palmer, Amelia Jo Parish, Sherisse Springer, Sarah Quinn Taylor, Amy Van Norstrand, Darius Wright, Evan Mayer, Elise Mestichelli.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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