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The house lights dim, signaling the official beginning of the Los Alamos High School musical production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
The LAHS Olions Thespian Club presented the production at Duane Smith Auditorium May 1-4.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” told the story of young Millie Dillmount (Camille Rousculp) who has arrived in 1920s New York City abound with the aspiration to live an independent life.
In an attempt to pursue the identity of the reinvented modern woman, Millie chops her hair short and replaces her floral frocks with skirts that rise above the knee.
She pursues the goal of marrying rich to make it big in the city, living up to her belief that “marriage is a business arrangement.”
Her plans take an altogether different path, however, when she meets Jimmy Smith (Charlie Hermann), a young man who buries his wealthy background behind the identity of a paperclip salesman.
At once, Millie is thrown onto a different track than she expected, characterized by “green glass love,” or plain old-fashioned true love. She becomes involved in stopping the human trafficking of young women.
From a basic level, the plotline of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is unoriginal and cliché. After all, “a fresh face making it big in New York City” is part of the stereotypical American dream.
Nevertheless, the 50 or so members of the cast created a humorous ambience that set the audience at ease and provided for an enjoyable experience.
The facial expressions of chorus members such as Muzzy’s boys (Ethan Clements, Joe Singleton, Cody Maggiore, and Jeremy Goettee) and Mathilde (Hannah Dye) contributed to the casual feel.
However, not all the details were satisfactory or aesthetically appealing.
The performance of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in Act I, Scene I displayed non-uniform dancing which seemed lackadaisical.
Props were used sparingly and did not play an enormous part of the production.
In this case, the economical background was a blessing, bolstering the personalities of the characters and making for a much more interesting show than would have resulted if littered by flashing lights and eye-catching costumes.
A more saturated setting would have given the play a perhaps blatantly inauthentic atmosphere.
From the start, the audience was drawn into New York City by the overture of the orchestra or “pit,” which was seated onstage as opposed to at the breadth of the stage, an unusual, but jazz-enhancing tactic.
Main character Millie Dillmount appeared onstage at once, singing “Not for the Life of Me.”
Though her relationship with musical tone was casual, Rousculp’s vocals were broadway-esque, especially shining through in the musical number “Forget About the Boy.”
Even though Thoroughly Modern Millie was Rousculp’s first theatre performance, she showed proficient skill in the art of tap and developed Millie into a very realistic character.
Devon McCleskey (Muzzy Van Hossmere) and Katie Downing (Mrs. Meers) demonstrated maturity and mastery as well, by performing spot-on portrayals of their difficult roles.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” has no doubt raised expectations for the coming year.
Let us applaud all cast members and hope for another brilliant performance in 2015.