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Thoroughly Modern Millie
a Musical Comedy
by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan (book), Jeanine Tesori (new music), Dick Scanlon (new lyrics)

COMPANY : Agape Players, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Gwinnett Civic & Cultural Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 5105

SHOWING : July 29, 2017 - July 30, 2017



Set in 1922, "Thoroughly Modern Millie" takes you back to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City, when "moderns" were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce and rewriting the rules of love. We follow the story of young Millie Dillmount from Kansas, who comes to New York to find a job as a secretary for a wealthy man and then marry him. However, her plan goes completely awry. This high-spirited musical romp is filled with frisky flappers, explosive tap numbers and a dragon lady of a villainess that audiences will love to hate.

Miss Dorothy Brown Alisha Boley
Rita Nicole Convis
Ruth Christin Curtis
Zelda Fitzgerald Laura Henry
Dorothy Parker Jennifer Hutcheson
George Gershwin Justtyn Hutcheson
Miss Flannery Mary Beth Morrison
Cora Katie O'Neill
Millie Dillmount Caitlin Roe
Rodney Matthew Thornton
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Thoroughly Thrilling Millie
by playgoer
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Agape Players has produced a "Thoroughly Modern Millie" that does the show proud. The large orchestra, under the direction of John Glover, sounds magnificent from start to finish. The costumes, by JoyMichelle Green, Simon Fowler, and Kathie Williams, set the time period of the Roaring 20’s. The choreography, by Mary Beth Stinson, keeps things moving and tapping along. But most of all the actors, under the direction of Barbara Hall, bring the story to life with verve and energy and terrific vocals.

The set isn’t all that impressive. There are a few rented backdrops that help fill out the enormous upstage area of the theatre, but mostly scenes are set by a few movable pieces. Most work well, with an array of typists’ desks playing delightfully into the choreography, but there are a couple of missteps. The elevator at the Hotel Priscilla appears to be more of a Juliet balcony, and the LED light effect of the elevator rising is marred by the presence of two stationary potted plants at either side. The window ledge in the second act is too wide to be believable, although I’m sure that added some safety to the choreography.

While I noted community theatre-level line readings in one isolated scene, the cast as a whole comes awfully close to professional quality. Mary Beth Morrison taps like a pro as Miss Flannery while also projecting authority as Millie’s supervisor. Michael Swearingen and Blake Bumgardner, as two Chinese workers, navigate their Chinese dialogue with aplomb. Alisha Boley is a sweet-voiced delight as Miss Dorothy, and Erika Bowman blows off the roof as chanteuse Muzzy. Tommy Heaton may be more stolidly middle-aged as Trevor Graydon than the role is usually played, but the pleasures of his vocals outweigh any objections to his casting. Robbin Fowler is a comic delight as Mrs. Meers, and Alex Fowler (as Jimmy Smith) and Caitlin Roe (as Millie Dillmount) prove to be the definition of triple-threat musical comedy leads. The ensemble take on minor roles with assurance, handling vocals and choreography with well-rehearsed ease.

As in almost any miked show, sound levels can be problematic at times, although there was little electronic squeaking and squawking at the performance I attended. The balance of sound tended to favor the orchestra, making deciphering lyrics occasionally difficult. Luckily, the main performers have powerful voices that are more than up to the task of making themselves heard in a large auditorium. And what a delight they are to hear! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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