Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Thoroughly Modern Millie"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2009 by Janine de Souza

Thoroughly Marvelous "Millie"

Reviewed by Janine de Souza

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE presented by the Alexander Children’s Theatre at the Turtle Lane Playhouse gave everyone something to smile about on January 18. It might have been brutally cold outside, but this musical was on fire and bursting with young talent in this heart-warming tale set in 1922. Braving another wave of the white stuff proved to be well worth it!

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE begins as Millie Dillmount (Gillian Gordon) ventures to New York, wide-eyed and full of ambition to find her fortune in the Big Apple. Not surprisingly, she is mugged the first day. With no money and only one shoe to boot, she soon finds herself checked into the Hotel Priscilla run by Mrs. Meers (Zoe Stephens-North). Soon, Millie gets a tedious 9-5 job as a stenographer at Sincere Trust Insurance Company. The best bright part of her job is sitting right front of her named Trevor Graydon (Paul Kmiec). Her boss is suave, sexy, successful… everything she wants in a potential husband. Marry your boss? Hey, why not? What’s love got to do with it anyway? Meanwhile, Mrs. Meers has been busy moonlighting…abducting orphaned actresses to the Orient, using Ching Ho (Steven Yu) and Bun Foo (Nathan Yu) to do her dirty work. Millie’s new best friend, Miss Dorothy Brown (Kailey Prior), becomes Mrs. Meers’ latest export. After a few love triangles and some skillful sleuthing, the mystery is solved.

Under the careful guidance of choreography masters, Annita Brockney and Lenni Kmiec, the cast hoofed, shimmied, and sashayed its way to joyful and energetic abandon. Meanwhile, the perfect period songs, under the music direction of Abigail Cordell, let the cast showcase their voices with confidence and power. Especially memorable were Millie Dillmount’s “Gimme Gimme,” the stenographers’ ode to lost loves “Forget About the Boy,” Mrs. Meers’ slimy “They Don’t Know,” Muzzy van Hossmere’s (Jacqui Malis) sultry and sequined “Only in New York,” and the vocal aerobic workout piece, “The Speed Test” featuring Millie and her boss, Trevor Graydon. John MacKenzie’s imaginative projections enhanced the New York ambiance and Kristin Lundin’s costumes effortlessly captured the flavor of the speakeasy era. Keeping it all together and the laughs rolling was James Tallach, who directed this production.

All in all, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE was a huge hit and if I were you, I’d keep my eye on the Alexander Children’s Theatre for any upcoming productions. Be sure to go in any kind of weather!

"Thoroughly Modern Millie" (20 January ONLY)
Turtle Lane Playhouse
283 Melrose Street, NEWTON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide