Review: Thoroughly Modern Millie — WHHS Spartan Players

Spartan Players deliver a toe-tapping, show stopping, thoroughly modern time!!

by Jody Key – Managing Editor — May 4, 2019

Audiences have two more chances to see West Hall High School’s production of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. Speakeysie recommends this fun, frolicking show about Millie, a 1920s Kansas gal who takes on the big bad streets of New York to find a rich husband. Along the way she finds friendship, mayhem, and the unexpected love of her life. Based on the 1967 film starring Julie Andrews, his production hit the Broadway stage in 2002 with the incomparable Sutton Foster at the helm and took the world by storm, winning 6 Tony Awards including best musical. It has since become a favorite of audiences with a book by Richard Morris, Music by Jeanine Tesori, and lyrics by Dick Scanlon. It’s a show full of big New York numbers, and the Spartan Players don’t disappoint.

Makenna Bryan owns the stage as Millie from start to finish. Her perfectly coiffed bob is her own natural hair, and her vocals are full of spunk and rich textures. She’s also got good comedic timing, and carries the show expertly.

Along with Makenna is Millie’s Love interestet, Jimmy Smith, played by Joseph Taylor. Audiences can’t help but fall in love with Joseph’s boyish charm. He shines in the number “I Turned the Corner”, and wins Millie’s and the audience’s heart.

The duo of Jacob Gault and Sydney Hunt as Trevor Graydon and Miss Dorothy Brown complement Bryan and Taylor’s Millie and Jimmy. Trevor is a delight to watch, especially in the fast-paced “The Speed Test”. Sydney’s sweet soprano matches her demeanor as Dorothy, and she’s a delight.

Abby Wetzel’s Mrs. Meers, the sly, washed up actress turned boarding house matron, who disguises herself in Chinese Geisha garb to sell poor white orphan girls off to slavery in the orient, is well played. While she doesn’t go as big as other Mrs. Meers I’ve seen, Abby puts her own spin on the role reminiscent of the Lion King’s Scar. Her sly, saucy performance is enhanced by stellar vocals.

Other key-noteworthy performances go to Melena Appling as Miss Flannery, Zoe Parker as Muzzy Van Hossmere, and Manny Chacon as Ching Ho, and Leonel Castillo as Bun Foo. The entire ensemble is strong both in both dance and vocals, and compliments the leads nicely.

Hats off to director Emily Taylor and choreographer Precious West for putting together a delightfully entertaining show!

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE plays at West Hall High School tonight at 7 PM and tomorrow at 2:30 PM. Tickets are available at the door, but arrive early as this is the most intimate theater in Hall County with 165 seats, and there’s not a bad seat in the house!

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