The Madeira School Thoroughly Modern MillieBy Cappies • Mar 3rd, 2011 • Category: Cappies
With a mad-cap plot involving a white slavery scheme, colorful characters, and a score that epitomizes the roaring twenties, if you’re going to “bet the store” on anything, it’d better be that The Madeira School treated audiences to a delightful afternoon with their production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Thoroughly Modern Millie, based on the 1967 Julie Andrews film of the same title, tells the story of Millie Dillmount, a young girl from Salina, Kansas, who comes to New York in search of the modern lifestyle she’s read about in Vogue. The musical opened on Broadway in 2002, and went on to win numerous awards, including a Tony Award for Best Musical, before closing in 2004 after 903 performances.
Madeira’s production featured several adept leads to anchor their production. As the titular character, Katie Sotos was nothing short of endearing. She captured Millie’s excitement well in “Not for the Life of Me” and was able to demonstrate the higher range of her sweet voice in “The Speed Test.” Kelsi Allison portrayed the street-smart Jimmy very nicely and her talent shone particularly in “What Do I Need With Love.” As Millie’s best friend Miss Dorothy, Kristen Bishof portrayed her character’s naivete well and the chemistry she shared with Sotos was particularly evident in the duet the two shared, “How the Other Half Lives.” Finally, as Trevor Graydon, Millie’s boss and intended fiance, Taylor Eggleston gave an applause-worthy performance. Like Sotos, she breezed through the tongue-twister “The Speed Test,” and was able to incorporate masculine characterizations into her performance naturally. All four combined their vocal prowess for a moving rendition of “Falling in Love Reprise” in the second act.
Jibby Ayo-Ani led the cast of adroit supporting performers as Muzzy Van Hossmere with a nice balance of modern and motherly in her portrayal. Lani Galloway delivered Mrs. Meers’ lines with comedic effect. As Mrs. Meers’ henchmen, Gloria Li and Jackie Schipani (Ching Ho and Bun Foo respectively) employed uproarious physical comedy, and Li’s lovesick performance was particularly endearing. All three were quite entertaining in “Muqin.”
While the ensemble occasionally lacked energy, it was the Stenogs, along with Sotos and Jessica Deal (Miss Flannery) who performed “Forget About The Boy” and tackled a tap routine to boot with the highest energy of any point in the show. The ensemble also provided the production with pleasing vocals, especially in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Finale.”
The cast worked well around a few microphone cut-outs. And although the stage crew often made scene changes under spot lights, they were nevertheless able to make changes quickly and efficiently.
The cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie tackled an endlessly upbeat score, tap routines, and in some cases opposite gender roles with aplomb. Strong numbers like “Forget about the Boy” and “The Speed Test” performed with talented vocals carried the show, and — if the standing ovation they received is any indication — delighted audiences all the while.
by Ashley Adams of South Lakes High School
Photo by C. Stanley Photography.
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