Irony is on display in Durant High School—one of the premiere state-of-the-art academic institutions in the state—as the Durant ISD Choir Department presents a feel-good, laugh-out-loud homage to Broadway’s “Golden Age” of the 1920s with Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr. (“Jr” denotes a condensed version of the show intended for performance in high schools).
Thoroughly Modern Millie looks, sounds, and feels like a classic musical comedy from the early part of the twentieth century—except that it isn’t. Although set in New York in 1922, the story is based on the 1967 film starring Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore.
Millie premiered on Broadway only ten years ago, where it won the Tony Award for Best New Musical and went on to a successful two-year run before closing in 2004.
Incidentally, the original Broadway production made a “star” out of an unknown performer named Sutton Foster, who has since gone on to win two Tony Awards (for Millie and last year’s revival of Anything Goes).
The Jazz-Age sounds of the chorus numbers, sung extremely well by a cast of 50+ actors, singers, and dancers, fill the DHS Auditorium and whisk audiences away to a bygone era, where small-town girl Millie Dillmount comes to the big city to find adventure and true love. Along the way she stumbles into the man of her dreams (whom she despises), makes a friend (and later rival) with a sexy but sweet roommate, and through sheer determination and a little help from the musical theatre fates manages to make her dreams come true just in time for the show’s memorable finale.
The show’s songs are both hummable and unforgettable, including “Forget About the Boy,” “What Do I Need with Love,” and “Gimme, Gimme.”
Inspired by the Ziegfeld Follies, Vaudeville, and Buzby Berkeley, Millie is a throwback to the more traditional “song and dance” shows that made theatre a joy to experience. In this production the staging and musical direction, shared by Deborah Clements and Aprill Raines are absolutely terrific. The set is minimal but fluid, and scene changes are executed with lightning-fast precision by the technical crew to avoid slowing down the pace of the show. The leads—including Tobi Harrison in the title role, Ian Duffey as her would-be-beau Jimmy, Jenna McWilliams, Matthew Gregg, and Kassie Forbis—sing with lyrical qualities far beyond their teenaged years. Their voices, along with those of the chorus, make the show worth the price of admission. But when you add the outstanding true-to-form choreography—including tap numbers that far exceed expectation—you’ll feel guilty for not having paid more for your ticket! Choreographer Jodi McWilliams has done the impossible with not only the solos and duets, but most especially with the large group numbers that make every performer look like he or she was born to dance.
Thoroughly Modern Millie opened November 3 and runs through November 5 at 7:00 pm with a matinee on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Durant High School Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at the door at each of the performances.
You may pre-order your tickets for $5.00 by emailing Mrs. Clements at Deborah.email@example.com<span class='neIDcs' style='display:none;' data-neidcs="!~IDlt~!mailto:Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org\!~IDgt~!"> . Be sure and email your name, how many tickets, the day, and the time. The tickets will be at the “Will Call” table. You may pay for them when you pick them up.