The pit band got things off to an upbeat start as the curtains pulled away to reveal a New York City skyline. On March 26th, Centennial High School brought the story of Millie Dillmount to life in their rendition of Thoroughly Modern Millie. This period piece takes place in the height or the rip roaring 1920’s when jazz, flappers, and speakeasies are all the rage. With the “modern” girls raising their hemlines and styling their hair into short bobs, the 2002 Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, enchanted audience members.
Millie Dillmount played by senior Ashley Delaney would not let the daunting city intimidate her, she made it known that she was going to take charge of her life. She sang out with clarity and personality in the first musical number, Not for the Life of Me. Delaney was quick to make friends with Miss Dorothy, played by Sarah Sexton. The two became close friends even though they could not be more opposite. The grace and charm of Sexton was complimentary to Delaney’s charisma and determined state of mind. The two girls were always there for each other the way any two best friends should be, even when things got rough.
Upon landing in the city, Delaney had an unfortunate run in with a “modern” new Yorker, Jimmy Smith played by Patrick Blurr. But do not be fooled, as fate would have it, Delaney encounters him once again while out on the town. It seems to be inevitable and the two fall for each other, even though Delaney insists that her boss, Trevor Graydon, played by Bijan Navid, is the man for her. The chemistry between the characters was undeniable as the audience waited anxiously to see what was to come. Graydon’s performance as flawless and charming that was infectious to the stenographers at his company.
The stenographer had the ability to tap their feet, reflecting the pecking of their typewriters. Not only did this group of dancers charm the audience and bring the scene to life, but the entire ensemble did as well. With choreography to mirror of the 1920’s the ensemble took energy and stage presence to the next level. Their energy for set changes to go unnoticed, never allowing the upbeat tempo to the show to fade.
The love story that took place was enhanced due to the lighting effects that highlighted each scene. From the window sill scene in which Blurr desperately tried to win back the affection of Delaney, to the night club scenes, the lighting set the mood. With the lighting adding to the ambiance, the ensemble bringing the energy, and the named characters adding their personality and charm, Centennial High School took the audience on one rollercoaster of a ride through the streets of New York City. Look out, the modern Millie has arrived with a bang!
The place: New York City. The time: the roaring twenties. World War I had just ended. Jazzy blues melodies drifted across the rooftops, as policemen poured alcohol down the drains following the 18th amendment’s approval. Heels grew and skirts shortened to set
the scene for Centennial High School’s recent production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” a hilarious show detailing the adventures of a young flapper girl in the big city.
One of America’s favorite modern musical comedies, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” opened on Broadway in 2002, sweeping up that year’s Tony Award for best musical. The story centers around the titular character, who travels to New York to live her dream and marry for money instead of love. On her travels she meets a paperclip salesman, a grouchy secretary, a slave trading con artist, two Asian henchmen, a famed singer, and a Californian belle as she struggles to find what she truly wants in life.
Centennial’s cast and crew tackled the material exceptionally well, with memorable dancers and vocalists in the both leading roles and ensemble parts, as well as seamless transitions, stunning costumes, beautiful accompaniment and elaborate sets.
As Millie, Ashley Delaney held the show together very well, commanding tap steps with ease in “Forget About the Boy” and “The Speed Test”, while creating wonderfully tender moments with the singer, Muzzy (Jillian Musonda). Patrick Burr, as her love interest Jimmy Smith, also maintained impressively sharp dance steps in “The Nutty Cracker Suite,” while both his songs showcased his incredibly wide vocal range.
A definite highlight of the show was Bijan Navid’s characterization of Trevor Graydon, Millie’s boss. His vocals and timbre were spot on throughout the show, while he poured his energy forward through his lively facial expressions – his elation during his duet with Miss Dorothy played very well, and his self referential comedy had the audience members laughing their heads off. Matt Ranaudo and Kris Keochinda, as the two Asian henchmen had two of the hardest roles because they both spoke almost solely in Mandarin Chinese – their vocals, too, were incredibly memorable, as was their joint commitment to their ridiculous accents and lines.
Behind the teeming streets of New York, Centennial’s crew worked diligently to keep the show running smoothly, managing a litany of props while simultaneously heaving massive set pieces on and off stage and suspending others from the ceiling. Each costume was exquisite, with colors matched to the actors and actresses demeanors and an incredible amount of detail.
More modern shows such as “Thoroughly Modern Millie” tend to be more challenging to perform than their predecessors, but Centennial was more than up to the task with their all-around splendid production.
Bobbed hair and shortened hemlines. Prohibition and speakeasies. Tapping stenographers and the secrets of the Orient. With these modernisms in full swing, Centennial High School’s recent production of Thoroughly Modern Millie whisked its audience into the glamorous and sublime world of the Roaring Twenties!
Based on a 1967 film starring Julie Andrews, Thoroughly Modern Millie is set in 1922 New York City and focuses on the titular character Millie Dillmount, a dreamy small-town Kansas girl resolute in her desire to become a thoroughly modern woman by marrying her boss. Her plan is chockfull of comical twists and turns along the way with her discovery of a corrupt white slavery trade and a romantic fling with city-boy Jimmy Smith, a regular New York Casanova.
Ashley Delaney starred as Millie, depicting the quirky and optimistic persona of her character superbly and with a contagious energy. Always in character, Delaney’s performance was uplifting through her poignant solo numbers and ever-present head-in-the-clouds nature. Alongside Delaney was Patrick Burr, who shined as Jimmy Smith. Burr possessed a suave and debonair city flair, complementing Delaney’s earnestness for a sweetly endearing pairing.
Erin Adams was uproarious as the immoral white-slavery mastermind Mrs. Meers. Essentially playing two characters, Adam’s over-exaggerated oriental accent, make-up, and movements, added a comedic sense of dramatic irony to the show as a whole. Kris Keochinda and Matt Ranaudo starred as Mrs. Meers’s helpless partners in crime Bun Foo and Ching Ho, surprisingly entertaining during their convincing Mandarin dialogues. Likewise, Sarah Sexton also provided much amusement by depicting her character Miss Dorothy as a starry-eyed, somewhat dim-witted aspiring actress.
The cast’s bright, colorful costumes were reminiscent of the twenties, giving off a vivid and visually appealing vibe. With clever props, set changes were quick-paced and efficient so that all attention remained on the actors.
Overall, Centennial High School’s rendition of Thoroughly Modern Millie, exuded enthusiasm and an infectious gusto that was not only thoroughly modern, but also thoroughly entertaining.
A fast-paced, rollicking mish-mash of love triangles, outlawed alcohol, white slavery, and tapping typists? “Only in New York” - in 1922, that is. Thoroughly Modern Millie at Centennial High School epitomized the roaring twenties; every person that crossed the stage possessed an infectious energy that filled the auditorium and never ceased for a moment.
The romp that is Thoroughly Modern Millie began in 1967, with the movie version. Much like the protagonist, the story took Broadway by storm in 2002 at the Marquis Theatre, under the direction of Michael Mayer and choreographed by Tony Award winner Rob Ashford. Mille Dillmount is a small town girl yearning to become a modern woman in the big city. Upon arriving, however, she finds herself “all alone in the world,” without a penny to her name, until finding the Hotel Priscilla along with a concealed criminal, an uptight boss, an unlikely fairy godmother, and the love of her life.
As the curtain opens, Millie (Ashley Delaney) stands alone on the stage and sings the first few notes of “Not for the Life Of Me.” Her performance only skyrocketed from here; Mille seemed relatable and real because of Delaney’s honest portrayal of a naïve girl trying to make it big. Her already solid vocals peaked perfectly by “Gimme Gimme,” in which Millie the character, along with Ashley Delaney as a performer, truly came out of her shell. Balancing Millie was her love interest, Jimmy Smith, portrayed by Patrick Burr, whose vocals also demonstrated incredible versatility. Smith should be commended as well for his genuine performance in the role of the mischievous yet earnest Jimmy; these two characters blended as seamlessly as their voices with the chemistry that comes from full immersion of character.
Other notable performances included Bijan Navid in the role of Trevor Graydon, with his impressive vocals and facial expressions, and the unforgettable Mrs. Meers, the eccentric hotel owner masquerading as a sweet, innocent Asian woman - in fact a failed actress turned conwoman, tricking innocent young girls into white slavery (the prostitution trade of the East). Erin Adams electrified in this role the moment she entered the stage, with her exaggerated, convoluted, yet hysterical physicality. Adams transitioned flawlessly from a high-pitched Chinese accent to the low growl of a criminal, inducing fits of giggles from the spectators. Adding to this hilarity were Mrs. Meers’ two henchmen, Bun Foo (Kris Keochinda) and Ching Ho (Matt Ranaudo). They sent the audience into peals of laughter with their witty dialogue and translated versions of musical numbers.
From the moment they chasséd on, the ensemble was full of vigor, their smiles as bright as their period 1920’s costumes. Every member of the cast was completely engaged in their character and took moments to interact with one another, adding layers to the scene. The basic set of the production was extremely efficient, aided of course by an even more efficient, quiet crew that made every transition happen in nearly the blink of an eye. The lighting, as well, added another facet to the production, enhancing and distinguishing certain settings such as the nightclub, or dramatizing moments with spotlights.
Thanks to the incredible energy and commitment of Centennial High School, the magic of Thoroughly Modern Millie is no more found “Only in New York” - the show was a dazzling, uproarious success.
The cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie at Centennial HS danced to a different tune, a new tune, a modern tune; the ideal of the “modern woman” was a stereotype crafted by the prohibition of the 1920’s as was New York, the city that never sleeps. Speak easies, tall buildings and industrialization served as the background and common elements of the play. The story of Millie Dillmount, a woman who moves to the city prepared to trade her homely appearance and lifestyle for shorter hair, dresses and dollars to become modernized. Within the tale Millie finds adventure, friendship, and “a green glass love”.
Patrick Burr’s (Jimmy Smith) witty conversations to Ashley Delaney (Millie Dillmount) and their sophomoric flirtations blossomed into an adorable romance forcing Millie to question her quest for modernization. Together, the pair had wonderful chemistry with tension between them in intimate scenes leading up to Jimmy’s impulsive kiss that changed their dynamic permanently. Apart the two sang solos such as "What Do I Need with Love" where Burr demonstrated his versatile singing and "Gimmie Gimmie" in which Delaney’s powerful belting was highlighted.
Millie lives at a hotel owned by a shifty Mrs. Meers played by Erin Adams; the character a flop actress donning the guise of a hotel manager to continue her business of selling girls into white slavery; the actress (Adams), a flawless melodramatic comedian left audiences laughing ad nausea. Kris Keochinda and Matt Ranaudo as Bun Foo and Ching Ho were Chinese men working for Meers in return for the transportation of their mother to the US from Hong Kong. The men mostly spoke and sang in traditional Mandarin Chinese allowing them to converse without Mrs. Meers knowledge of what they were saying which induced laughs from an entertained audience.
Keeping with the melodramatic motif, Sarah Sexton’s portrayal of Miss Dorothy channeled Amy Adams as Giselle from Enchanted; her light, walking- on- clouds gait and her serenely beautiful singing justify the comparison as well as her receiving of a poisoned apple. Bijan Navid as Trevor Graydon was the epitome of a business man with his suave voice and looks accompanied by larger than life acting making for a hilarious character.
The most stand out supporting role was Katie Glass as Mrs. Flannery, a woman with big hair, glasses and comedy played by Glass with the most hilarious tapping type-writer-like walk. The ensemble in songs at the office of Sincere Insurance Co. ("Forget about the Boy"), showed its dancing strength with intricate tap choreography that looked faultless. The show itself has many different venues and CHS’s stage was dressed appropriately with an authentic looking hotel lobby, secret lair (for Meers), realistic stenographer desks for Millie’s office and various speak easies and restaurants that fit the era perfectly.
Millie learns that being modern has its advantages, but love is more important than conformity. Thoroughly Modern Millie was a show that audiences won’t be able to forget about, even if they do a tap montage.
The projector screen inches down, the audience perks up, another hilarious scene with the two Chinese hotel workers, Bun Foo (Kris Keochinda) and Ching Ho (Matt Ranaudo) is about to begin. This is only one of the many aspects of Centennial High School’s Thoroughly Modern Millie that envelopes the audience in 1922 America and truly makes them laugh out loud.
Mille Dillmount (Ashley Delaney) is just an ordinary country girl trying to make it in the big city. New York is beginning to get the best of her until she finally lands a job with rich boss Trevor Graydon (Bijan Navid), which she hopes to marry. She meets Miss Dorothy Brown(Sarah Sexton), a California pretty girl trying to see “how the other half lives,” and a charismatic but occasionally rude Jimmy Smith (Patrick Burr). Meanwhile, Ms. Meers (Erin Adams), the manager of the hotel Mille and Dorothy are staying, is prowling around in the back looking for lonely girls to poison and sell to her boss. A failed actress herself, she poses as a Chinese woman, with Bun Foo and Ching Ho as her minions.
On their own, the leads had strong voices, but the group songs and duets were something of a phenomenon. Sexton’s elegant voice contrasted perfectly with Delaney’s more immature and innocent voice in songs like “How the Other Half Lives,” which emphasized the contrast in their characters as well. Sexton played her part well with her arms always slightly curved ballerina style, and a walk as if she was floating. Navid had great stage presence as a business man, and a booming voice and sharp facial expression. Adams milked her role with physical poses similar to that of “The Bowler Hat Guy” in Meet the Robinsons, or any other wannabe villain. Her voice changes from normal to the obnoxiously high pitched screech of her alternate Chinese identity were exaggerated, as many pieces of this farce-like play were. Always by her side were Bun Foo and Ching Ho, speaking solely in Chinese with English subtitles on the projector screen above the stage. The subtitles themselves got a laugh even without the witty remarks of the actors on them. Songs “Not for the Life of Me (reprise)” and “Muqin” were even sung in Chinese with the subtitles.
Not only the leads, but the entire cast displayed great enthusiasm throughout the show. There were smiles on faces and fake conversations continued right up to the second of open curtain. Each member of the ensemble was truly his or her own character. The costumes were beautifully colored and consistent, and the dance numbers were well choreographed and had everyone was in time. Every song was loud and not a word was missed; the ensemble was full of strong voices. If anything, the sound could’ve been turned down a little.
Outstanding in every way, Centennial’s Thoroughly Modern Mille was eye catching, ear pleasing, and a real knee-slapper of a show.
Centennial High School’s “Millie” was Ridiculously Funny
It certainly is sad to be all alone in the world. Fortunately, Centennial High School’s cast and crew came together to perform a hilarious production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. The show, not as well known as some other Broadway musicals, begins with Millie, a girl from rural Kansas, arriving in 1920’s New York City. She thinks she’s a “modern,” and, after securing a job, sets about trying to marry her boss. But she soon finds that she’s falling in love with another man, a native New Yorker named Jimmy. As she and her friend Miss Dorothy struggle with an unglamorously cheap life, they’re unknowingly in danger of being sold into white slavery by their landlord, Mrs. Meers. It is truly a comedy of the absurd.
The cast embraced the absurdity, however, to produce raucous humor. The leads in particular understood how to milk their stereotypical characters. Ashley Delaney brought out Millie’s naïveté about New York life. Delaney also captured Millie’s excitement about being in a big city with the energy she imparted to her solo numbers and dances. Patrick Burr’s vocal abilities were equally impressive, using different singing and body language to depict Jimmy’s divide between a fun life and love in, “What do I Need With Love?” Bijan Navid (Mr. Graydon) and Sarah Sexton (Miss Dorothy) both used dramatic motions and speech to give their characters a comic sense of ridiculousness. Erin Adams (Mrs. Meers), however, took the cake for most absurd acting. Her over-the-top portrayal of the evil landlord was hilarious, and spot on for the role. Kris Keochinda’s (Bun Foo) facial expressions added even more comedy to the Meers scenes.
But the excellence of the show was not in the individuals, but in their interactions. Ashley Delaney’s innocence against Patrick Burr’s callousness created a humorous first scene. Sarah Sexton’s song with Bijan Navid (Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life) was performed with ridiculous over-delicacy and melodrama, making it one of the funniest numbers in the show. The number immediately following that, a song in four-part harmony (I’m Falling in Love With Someone) exposed an impressive less funny vocal interaction between Millie, Jimmy, Dorothy, and Graydon. Even during the large ensemble scenes, every member of the cast was, at any given time, interacting with another. This led to dynamic, convincing, and entertaining large numbers, as in “The Nutty Cracker Suite” and “The Speed Test.”
The technical aspects of the play were almost entirely student-run. Costumes by Olivia Tabackman fit the time period well. The set design, by the Production Company Class, showed maturity in its relatively simple New York skyline frame behind the actors. Lighting, designed by Heather Monglio, nicely accented the songs themselves. As Millie sang of being sad and blue, the stage was bathed in melancholy, blue light. And the pit orchestra dealt impressively with the difficult jazz rhythms in the show, all the while staying locked in with the vocalists.
While the technical aspects were sensible, the production as a whole was absurd, ridiculous, and over the top. But that’s just what the show calls for. So Centennial High School’s performance was absurd, but it was also mature, fitting, and utterly hilarious.
Typically, Mandarin Chinese, broken elevators, and white slavery don’t invoke images of the Roaring Twenties, but Centennial High School impeccably united them in the name of speakeasies and scintillating flapper dresses in their recent production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Based on the 1967 Oscar-nominated movie, the stage production of Thoroughly Modern Millie was born in 2002 musically by Jeanine Tesori, lyrically by Dick Scanlan, and was written Richard Morris and Scanlan. The musical follows former country gal Millie Dillmount take on New York City with big ambition and even bigger dreams as she raises her skirts, bobs her hair, and attempts to craft her own future the “modern” way by marrying her boss.
Centennial’s cast, crew, and orchestra united to create a seamless production, laced with good laughs, upbeat music, and sharp choreography. Every detail was attended to by the cast and crew to ensure the production ran smoothly with perfectly executed lighting and sound effects.
As thoroughly modern Millie herself, Ashley Delaney played the part with conviction, employing the classic triple threat of great acting, striking vocals, and sharp dancing. Delaney wowed the audience with her rendition of monologue-esque “Gimme Gimme” and invoked many laughs with her determination to “Forget About the Boy.” Her dancing abilities were showcased in tap number “How the Other Half Lives” and the fluid, provocative “Nutty Cracker Suite.” Patrick Burr as Jimmy Smith countered Delaney’s initial farm-girl innocence with his supposed street smarts, and captivated the audience with his vocal talents in indignant “What Do I Need with Love” and wistful “Falling in Love Reprise.” Burr was equally competent as a dancer and actor, seemingly effortlessly capturing the transformation Jimmy undergoes from arrogant bachelor to swooning fiancée.
Sarah Sexton’s pristine vocals and evident acting abilities made her performance as Miss Dorothy truly stand out, invoking many laughs with her wide-eyed innocence and penchant for posing. Bijan Navid as Trevor Grayden successfully communicated Grayden’s position of authority with his commanding voice and booming vocals. Navid and Sexton humorously capture the love interest developing between the two characters while flawlessly adhering to intricate choreography in “Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life/ I’m Falling in Love With Someone.” Erin Adams was positively hilarious as failed actress Mrs. Meers, switching fluidly and farcically between her identity as the clueless, Chinese-speaking Mrs. Meers and the jaded, malicious, failed chorus member Daisy Crumpler. Kris Keochinda and Matt Ranaudo formed a dynamic duo as Ching Ho and Bun Foo, and showed vocal and Chinese-speaking abilities in the “Not for the Life of Me Reprise.” As the wealthy yet suprisingly down-to-earth Muzzy van Hossmere, Jillian Musonda wowed with “Only in New York” and exercised her acting abilities at the conclusion of the show, posing as an innocent country girl to reveal Mrs. Meers’ mordacity. The ensemble shone in group number “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, taking stage with huge smiles and choreographically staying together.
Concealed by a unique backdrop of the New York skyline, the crew navigated the many props, several scene changes, and sound deftly. The lighting only aided the performance, at times illuminating the entire set or focusing on a single performer, altering color and brightness to adequately reflect the mood.
Overall, Centennial tackled Thoroughly Modern Millie with relish, showing the school’s true “flair for the dramatic.”
Only a show like Thoroughly Modern Millie could bring together soy sauce, “White slavery!” and George Gershwin all together in harmony, literally and figuratively. The musical, based on the book by Richard Morris, originally a 1967 film starring Julie Andrews, opened on Broadway in 2002. Centennial High School added their own artistic flair to the show as it opened on their stage.
Country mouse Millie Dillmount, determined to make it in the real world, leaves her home of Salina, Kansas to survive in New York City. Once arriving with no real idea of what she wants to do, Millie sets up shop at the Hotel Priscilla, and focuses her attention on marrying her wealthy boss, Trevor Graydon. Along her quest for marriage, “which has NOTHING to do with love!” Millie wrestles with her growing attraction to Jimmy, all the while unknowingly avoiding being sold into white slavery by the dastardly Mrs. Meers and her Chinese henchmen.
Millie Dillmount (Ashley Delaney), from her first strides downstage center, brimming with scintillating anticipation, captured the audience’s attention with her strong yet sweet soprano and unmistakable enthusiasm. Jimmy Smith (Patrick Burr)’s strong tenor and worldly demeanor complemented Millie’s effervescence. Millie’s boss and original love interest, Trevor Graydon (Bijan Navid) used a pitch perfect vibrato to emphasize his dramatic fall into devotion to Miss Dorothy (Sarah Sexton). Miss Dorothy’s demure delicacy was most defined by her dramatic, ever present pose, in which her arms hovered in the air like a ballerina as she spoke. Mrs. Meers (Erin Adams) commanded the stage with a hilarious physicality that included crawling on the floor, leaping over a reception desk, and attempting to translate phrases like “Room service to Mrs. Dorothy” into Mandarin Chinese.
The group numbers such as “The Nutty Cracker Suite” “Forget About the Boy” and the title song reverberated with a strong and consistent sound from the ensemble as well as extremely talented and enthusiastic dancers. The entire stage was utilized and although the choreography showed great complexity, it was always executed flawlessly. The costume aspect of the show displayed an exceedingly well-thought out array of bright flapper dresses and uniform grey stenographer dresses. The set, beginning with a contemporary green metal background of New York’s skyline, was impressive, including a tap-activated elevator and Muzzy’s performing stage. All of the set changes were admirably quick.
Centennial High School took the theme of Thoroughly Modern Millie, that of breaking boundaries and expressing oneself, and expounded upon it with energy and fun.
Welcome to the 1920’s! Hemlines are rising, hair is getting shorter, and women are going in search of “new” ways to live their life. Centennial High School’s production of Thoroughly Modern Millie was full of dancing, color, and extreme amounts of energy.
Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of an ambitious, highly-motivated woman named Millie Dillmount who moves to New York in the hopes of becoming the definition of a successful “New Woman”. Upon Her arrival, Millie realizes that her dream will not be an easy one to achieve, as she is sent on a journey of scandal, kidnapping, and love.
Ashley Delaney Played the role of Millie Dillmount with just the right amount of confidence, enthusiasm and spunk required to make this character really pop. Her high energy and skillful dancing tended to all aspects of the character, whether she was excitedly tapping in her new job, or singing through her confusion over her feelings for Jimmy. Patrick Burr’s performance as Jimmy Smith was fantastic. He kept a great personality throughout the show, and his smooth voice sounded beautiful both on its own, or while singing with other characters. Delaney and Burr created chemistry between their characters that showed through all stages of the lovers’ relationship.
The trio of Mrs. Meers (Erin Adams), and her two bellhops, Bun Foo (Kris Keochinda) and Ching Ho (Matt Ranaudo), was definitely a crowd favorite. Erin Adams’ ability to switch from a hilarious impression of an Asian hotel manager to and overdramatic ex-con was absolutely fantastic. She kept her character consistent throughout the entire show, and every choice she made with her facial expression or body movement commanded attention from the audience. Keochinda and Ranaudo had to spend the entire show speaking in Chinese, a skill that most likely hard to master, but that was greatly appreciated and enjoyed by the audience. The trio’s conversations that switched between English and Chinese with English subtitles added an entire new level of comedy to the show.
The ensemble of the show worked well together. All of the dance numbers were perfectly in sync. One of the especially enjoyable group numbers was the group tap number that consisted of an entire office worth of characters singing and tapping together. The energy brought to the show by the entirety of those involved in the production kept the show running smoothly, without any lulls in enthusiasm or awkwardness between scenes.
The technical aspects of the show were well done as well. The set, designed by the students, was fitting for each scene, without being too difficult to maneuver between scene changes. The wheeled set pieces could create hotel rooms, an office, a front desk, and a club contributed to the believability of the show. Although there were some slight issues with sound levels, the actors and tech crew did not allow them to steal focus from the rest of the show.
Centennial High Schools production of Thoroughly Modern Millie was incredible combination of liveliness and excitement that was sure to leave all of those who watched it wishing they could travel back in time to the 20’s.
“White slavery” was never all that funny, and neither Thoroughly Modern Millie, nor the students on the production team at Centennial High School, dare make it so. But it does make for a terrible consequence of seeking success in showbiz in New York City, but coming unprepared.
Millie, a girl from an inconsequential town in Kansas, sets off for 1920’s New York to make it big and make it quick, but is knocked to the ground as she throws her arms skyward upon arrival. Things further deteriorate from there as Millie checks in to a hotel where the proprietor secretly engages in human trafficking and the man Millie throws herself after – her financially-endowed boss once she settles for the work of a stenographer – seems to be uninterested.
Of course, the star of the show is young, naïve Millie Dillmount, portrayed by an impressive Ashley Delaney. Most remarkable was her singing voice, which seemed to grow stronger over the course of the play even after powering through boisterous songs like “Not For the Life of Me” and “Gimme Gimme”. Millie’s ambivalent lover, Jimmy Smith, was made almost lovable by Patrick Burr. While he was not singing in a smooth tenor, he took care to make his interactions with Millie seem genuine, which allowed his love for Millie peek through just enough for the audience to embrace him. Erin Adams (Mrs. Meers) was hysterical with her squealing, faux-Chinese accent, sinister grins and slithering walk.
The ensemble cast shined almost as brightly as the principal actors as they brought the bustle of 1920’s New York back to life. Massive tap numbers, whether performed by festively costumed flappers or by the downtrodden workers at the Sincere Trust Company (“The Nutty Cracker Suite” and “Forget About the Boy”), got the audience tapping their feet in time with the delightful camp. Additionally, their collective energy and enjoyment of being in the show were evident as they carried on in the background with apt facial expressions and hand gestures, which made the experience even more realistic.
Their lively performance was complemented by the efficiency of the stage crew. The crew made seamless transitions between scenes and was very precise with its placement of the many movable parts of Mrs. Meers’s seedy hotel. The accuracy of the spotlights was incredible, appearing on cue with the music and keeping stride with characters as they moved along building ledges or through the halls of the hotel Priscilla. The quality of the sound was very clear, but at times the mixing of high and low notes seemed to be uneven. Still, the orchestra and the volume of the singers’ voices were very much in balance and never overpowered one another.
As modern as people consider themselves to be, love and adventure always seem to draw them away from the business that supposedly keeps the world turning. Centennial High School’s production of Thoroughly Modern Millie is guaranteed to cast aside previous engagements and be the subject of a thoroughly enjoyable evening.