While most of you were probably sitting at home wasting your winter vacation days away lounging around, the cast and crew of Thoroughly Modern Millie were hard at work on the set. The second week of break, construction and painting of the set went into full swing. In case you aren’t aware, our very own students create all the sets for the plays and musicals. If you’ve seen a Memorial Theater Production you know that the sets are no small feat. It takes a lot of help from the cast, crew and Mr. Newland to put together a set. Rehearsals resumed in full swing after break. Cast members have rehearsal 2-4 times per week after school depending on their role and times they appear.
The week of January 28th – February 2nd is not just another week for those involved with the musical, quite the opposite actually. It’s the highly anticipated, sometimes dreaded, often stressful, and all together crazy week know as ‘Tech Week’. Tech week is the first time every component of the production comes together: cast, crew and pit orchestra. It’s essentially full dress rehearsals everyday of the week until around 9:30 at night. Yes, that means staying at school for an additional six hours to go along with the already grueling 7 hours or so. But have no fear; there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Tech week is the beginning of the end. The final stretch that makes the months of hard work worthwhile: a moment in the spot light, literally. It takes a lot to be apart of a show like this, but every year more and more participants become involved. The experience is an unforgettable one and a ton of fun. Veterans have cited the musical as one of their most coveted and memorable moments of their entire high school careers. Make their efforts count and come see the show!
So what is Thoroughly Modern Millie all about? I’ve got the inside scoop from the cast and crew. For each Memorial Theater Company production a student director is chosen to work with Hardin. For this show, Heather Slawny, a junior, is taking on the tough job. I asked her a couple of questions about the show.
As described by Heather Slawny, the play is about a young girl named Millie who moves to New York during the 1920 have to start a new life. She aspires to be a stenographer. New York City has many surprises in store for Millie and she meets many interesting characters along her journey for success.
I would think organizing so many people into an orderly production would be an extremely difficult task. According to Heather Slawny however, that’s not the case. “Most of the people in the musical are very responsible so organizing is not all that hard.”
If you’re into plot twists and shocking surprises, Thoroughly Modern Millie has your fill. When asked what parts stood out as shocking, Heather Slawny didn’t hesitate before exclaiming, “The ending! There’s a huge twist that’s not even in the movie.” An old lady that sells sex slaves was somewhat casually mentioned as well… so I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see what that’s all about.
Heather Slawny and Hardin have decided they’d give the show a PG rating for involving some scandalous ideas but that I’m told are approached fairly playfully. Overall they would rate it a cautious PG.
So what makes this show different from other Memorial Theater Company Productions? “The show is fairly unknown and unique. I’m a huge theater fanatic so I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it. It’s nice to do something nobody has heard of though, because then nobody comes in with preconceived ideas, they just come to enjoy the show.”
Apparently Thoroughly Modern Millie is not as unknown as Heather Slawny originally thought. The show achieved a rather large amount of large-audience success before its arrival at Memorial. It first premiered on Broadway in April 2002 and ran for 2 years. In that time it won six Tony Awards and five Drama Desk Awards. They won the highest honor of Best Musical at both ceremonies. Its Broadway success spurred tours in the UK starting in London.
Tickets are $10 and are sold both at the door and during both school lunches. There are a limited number of seats, so buy your tickets ASAP! Show times are February 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th in the Buchhauser Auditorium in Memorial High School, 201 S. Gammon Road. Please arrive early or on time but certainly DO NOT ARRIVE LATE. Failure to comply could result in a strong worded warning by Hardin or being kicked out of the show, most likely you will receive both. If that’s not incentive, I don’t know what is.
Meet The Cast:
The cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie is a diverse group of 44 dedicated and talented individuals. The audition process consisted of individual singing auditions conducted by Mrs. Pitt and group dance auditions. Those interested in having a larger role were also required to attend speaking auditions conducted by Hardin.
Atzie Sobotik (Senior) as Millie
Sachin Dharwadker (Senior) as Jimmy
Andy Gray (Junior) as Trevor Graydon
Sophia Hahn (Senior) as Miss Dorothy Brown
Marlene Jones (Senior) as Mrs. Meers
Brian Luo (Sophomore) as Ching Ho
Leon Pan (Sophomore) as Bun Foo
Marina Awes (Senior) as Muzzy Van Hossmere
Alyssa Ayen (Freshman) as Miss Flannery
“Muzzy’s Boys” – Andrew Turner
“Nutty Cracker Sweet” – Angela Yu
“Dishwasher” – Colin Kohrs
Words about the show from the cast and crew:
“It’s stressful but worth it!” – Samantha Burden
“I like meeting people of all grades.” – Kat Bunke
“Making friends is definitely my favorite part.” – Grace O’Neill
“I like that it’s such a group effort, the pit orchestra, crew, tech and cast all have to work together to make things run smoothly. Everyone is equally useful.” – Nick Smith
By Cassidy Nelson
Photos by Daniel Li