“Thoroughly Modern Millie” Delivers Old Fashioned Fun
By Eugenia Moskowitz
The Washingtonville High School auditorium was packed last weekend for its three showings of the Masque & Mine Society’s spring musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
Kansas girl Millie Dillmount comes to New York in the Jazz Age to escape small-town life, reinvent herself as a stenographer, and marry her employer for money. In this musical comedy based on the 1967 film, Millie is instantly mugged during her first moments on the pavement, meets Jimmy, the “penniless” fellow she will fall in love with (though she doesn’t know it yet), and checks into the Hotel Priscilla, a dingy rooming house for unmarried young ladies run by the deceptive Mrs. Meers, who makes a living selling wayward girls into white-slavery in the Orient with the help of Ching Ho and Bun Foo (who sing in Mandarin). In classic comic style, and much like actual life, lovers get crisscrossed and the best-laid plans are fooled with to the tune of uproarious laughter, shocking cliffhangers, and madcap Prohibition Era escapades, until the end of the story when everything gets straightened out and what’s important in life is made clear — namely that “green glass love” always wins.
Directed by long-time drama teacher Jodi Davis and with the live orchestra’s swinging score conducted by music teacher Paul Davis, the actors and actresses with bobbed hair, cloche hats, flapper costumes, and dapper suits brought a Charleston-inspired vibe to the high school auditorium. Aside from the fine sense of timing in song, speech, and body movement shown by the actors, the particularly inventive special effects — like the tap-dancing staccato sound of the typewriters, and the simplicity of the elevator going up — were exceptionally nice touches. Also appreciated by parents was the sign on the speakeasy door which read: Prohibited or Legal, Alcohol is Poison.
While many in the cast and crew will be graduating this year with multiple seasons of both intense drama and high musicals under their belts, an equal number have just started their stage careers at the high school. As the torch gets handed over, ever true to its reputation, the Masque & Mime Society has added another fine performance to its theatrical repertoire.
CAPTION 1: The opening number to “Thoroughly Modern Millie” was an extravaganza of period choreography, costuming, music, song, and set design by the cast and crew of Washingtonville High School’s Masque & Mime Society. (Photos by Eugenia Moskowitz)
CAPTION: Millie transforms herself.