Thoroughly Modern Millie
by El Camino High School

Makenzie DarisIt was seven years ago that future Tony-winner Sutton Foster broke onto the scene, wowing San Diego audiences as Mille in La Jolla Playhouse’s world premiere of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Now the hit show has started hitting the local high school stages, giving opportunities for others to break out.

This melodramatic musical comedy centers around New York newbie Millie Dilmount fresh out of Kansas and ready to make it big as a modern woman in 1920s NYC. In El Camino High School’s production, Makenzie Daris is modern Millie. And she’s a great one with a rich, full, fun, very Sutton Foster-ish voice that never seems at all close to the limits of her vocal range, shining in her love ballad Jimmy and in her big Gimme Gimme solo. She can act too, showing good comedic skill especially when she tries to seduce her boss Trevor Graydon III.

Kevin Cleary is Graydon, showing a nimble tongue with his speed-dictation My Eyes Are Fully Open number, and some great comedy in the show’s most hilarious scene I’m Falling in Love with Someone in which he gets twitterpated by Millie’s friend Miss Dorothy. Dana Brunstetter is amazing as the naïve debutante Miss Dorothy, using voice, prissy body language, and great facial expressions to hysterical effect, all culminating in her meeting with Graydon and featuring some amusing choreography by Jocelyn Wilson and Theo Ivey.

Bryce Nicastro is Jimmy Smith, the guy who shows Millie the ropes of New York City living and ends up falling for the new girl from Kansas. Bryce does an especially nice job with his What Do I Need with Love song as he debates whether to escape from jail or stay to see Millie (in the adjoining cell) one more time. Laurel Burns is a hit as the evil Mrs. Meers, using Joel Soriano, Laurel Burns, and Michael Montano her voice perfectly to go between the falsely sympathetic apartment manager with a heavy Asian accent, and the burly voice of her alter ego who runs a white slavery ring. Michael Montano and Joel Soriano are her two Chinese assistants who are working for Mrs. Meers in hopes of bringing their Muqin across the sea to live with them in America. And Jessicah Turman dishes out some smooth jazzy vocals as celebrity singer Muzzy Van Hossmere, an acquaintance of Jimmy Smith who encourages Millie to marry for love and green glass rather than money and emeralds.

Director Sharon Strong and her cast and crew do a great job with this ambitious production. Jeff Lehman leads the orchestra successfully through the demanding score. David Draim’s impressive sets include the New York City skyline and a huge ledge outside a skyscraper. And the ensemble, led by some talented dancers such as Ashley Michelson and Jessica Ford, add much energy to the show’s big show-stopping numbers like The Speed Test and the title number that ushers Millie into New York and wraps up the show.

Performed April 27 - May 6, 2007.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Dana Brunstetter and Kevin ClearyMillie Dillmount: Makenzie Daris
Jimmy Smith: Bryce Nicastro
Miss Dorothy: Dana Brunstetter
Miss Dorothy (u/s): Brittany Englert
Miss Flannery: Katie Bueche
Miss Flannery (u/s): Sondra Stephenson
Mrs. Meers: Laurel Burns
Mrs. Meers (u/s): Sarah Jun
Muzzy Van Hossmere: Jessicah Turman
Muzzy Van Hossmere (u/s): Sondra Stephenson
George Gershwin: Sean Burke
Ira Gershwin: Trnt Usher
Trevor Graydon: Kevin Cleary
Trevor Graydon: Jake Tidwell
Ching Ho: Michael Montano
Bun Foo: Joel Soriano

Boarding House Girls:
Arielle Bourgignon
Demi Boyd
Morgan Byrne
Brittany Englert
Sarah Jun
Rosie Mejia
Michelle Molin
Nicole Newsom
Nicole Pruett
Victoria Richards
Sondra Stephenson

Muzzy's Boys:
Sean Burke
Keith Bush
Wesley Fant
Valente Ruiz
Eric Seeley
Anthony Snead
Jake Tidwell

Christine Buccelli
Sean Burke
Keith Bush
Wesley Fant
Katie Howard
Jessika King
Lucas Meza
Jssica Miller
Daniel Prado
Valente Ruiz
Katie Russell
Erick Seeley
Megan Smith
Anthony Snead
Jake Tidwell
Bree'aunna Turman
Trent Usher
Jen Wion
Cristina Zuniga

Featured Dancers:
Kaylee Arnold
April Better
Demi Boyd
Jessica Ford
Brittany Johnson
Jessica Maskowitz
Ashley Michelson
Molly Mulloney
Alisa Wyman

Director: Sharon Strong
Assistant Director: Jessika King
Orchestra Conductor: Jeff Lehman
Vocal Director: Jennifer McCormick
Choreographers: Jocelyn Wilson and Theo Ivey
Technical Director: Michael Hoffman
Stage Manager: Summer Lane
Costumer: Sandy Shay
Sound: Todd Warren and Ryan Aagaard


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