Review

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Thoroughly Modern Millie
by Valhalla High School

It’s 1922, and Millie Dillmount has left the non-existent lights of Salina, Kansas for the glimmering city of New York, eager to become a modern woman like in the magazines and earn her fortune. A bobbed haircut and flapper outfit would make her look modern. Marrying the boss will make her that fortune. But love might just trip up her well-laid plans in this Tony-winning musical comedy that premiered in La Jolla ten years ago.

This rendition is taking place not far away, in El Cajon’s Valhalla High School, located in its unusual, circular main building filled with cool murals painted by students of years past. Therein lies its wide stage and the glimmering lights of NYC represented by glimmering white lights of skyscraper windows against a blue background.

On that stage, Caroline Kvaas is our modern Millie, doing a swell job with the demanding role and capturing a nice personality as she wavers between pragmatism and romance, while shining especially strong when telling all men to get lost in a venomous Forget About the Boy scene performed so well by her and her fellow angry stenographers.

As that boy she’s trying to forget about, Dylan Chouinard portrays Jimmy exceptionally well. And when jealous, he’s not above striking potential rivals with a black boa. Alexys Tiscareno is Millie’s new rich friend, Miss Dorothy, who is less sweet and more sassy and edgy than your typical Miss Dorothy, and who has no trouble immediately capturing the mind and body of Millie’s new boss, Trevor Graydon III (Dylan Jones) in their humorous and well-staged I’m Falling Love With Someone scene that has Trevor getting so excited that he checks his pulse. As Trevor, Dylan also shines in the melodrama of the latter scenes.

And then there’s the dark underbelly of NYC, epitomized by the evil Mrs. Meers. Kiley Giard has strong stage presence as the melodramatically villainous Meers who enjoys the trouble she causes and also does a nimble job of catching a thrown poison apple onto a silver tray. Assisting her is a magnificent duo of Chinese immigrant brothers hoping to earn enough money to get their “mammy” to America. Ashley Joplin is a great natural comedian as the pragmatic Bun Foo, and Nic Zinter easily wins over the hearts of the audience as his character Ching Ho tries to win over the heart of would-be white slavery victim Miss Dorothy with his genuine, heartfelt performance. Of course, all brothers fight now and then, and when they have a brief laundry set problem, they squabble in Chinese-ish adlibs until the problem is resolved.

Director Kirsten Giard and the cast and crew staged an entertaining production of this locally born favorite.

Performed April 23 - May 8, 2010  

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~
 
Millie Dillmount: Caroline Kvaas
Jimmy Smith: Dylan Chouinard
Alice Von Troupe: Bailey Schrader
Gloria Devereaux: Stephanie Stockwell
Cora Ames: Michelle Fox
Ethel Peas: Julie Meram
Lucille Johnson: Caroline Wells
Mrs. Meers: Kiley Giard
Miss Dorothy Brown: Alexys Tiscareno
Ching Ho: Nic Zinter
Bun Foo: Ashley Joplin
Mrs. Flannery: Amanda Baker
Trevor Graydon: Dylan Jones
Muzzy Van Hosmere: Kaylynn Sutton
Ensemble:
Michelle Fox
Lizzie Lavin
Kaylee Magoffin
Julie Meram
Jessica Pelicano
Bailey Schrader
Blake Spethman
Stephanie Stockwell
Caroline Wells

Director: Kirsten Giard
Musical Director: Kathy Barkett
Choreography: Claudia Dyson-Hightower
Music Orchestration: Justin Gray Music, Inc.
Technical Director: Dustin Holum
Assistant Technical Director: Bev Claar
Stage Manager: Evan Hughes
Set Design:
Dylan Chouinard
Ashley Joplin
Alle Mims
John Spetter
Light Design: Evan Hughes
Costume Design: Lena Lollis
Sound Design: Dani DeLeon
Prop and poster Design: Sande Lollis
Dance Captain: Amanda Baker
Assistant Dance Captain: Lizzie Lavin
Assistant Stage Manager: Alle Mims
Deck Crew: Sam Jorgensen, Kevin Hoffman
Light Board Operator: Vicki Linman
Sound Operator: Dani DeLeon
Follow Spots: David Holman, Noor Tozy
Costume Crew: Lena Lollis
Hair & Make-up: Kaylynn Sutton, Laura Sutton

 

   

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