Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 23, 2011

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Exit 7 Players, Ludlow, MA
through May 8, 2011
by Eric Johnson

Perhaps this show should be called "Thoroughly Timeless Millie" because
that is exactly what the story line is, timeless. Small town girl hits
the big city lights with a plan and a dream, both of which are
compromised right from the start. It is a story that has been told many
times before, and will continue to be told in various settings and with a
plethora of characters. Everyone loves a story about triumph over
adversity, and good defeating evil.

The beginning of the opening number showcases Dylan Rae Brown as Millie,
the aforementioned small town girl seeking out her fortune in New York
City circa 1922. Brown captivates and charms the audience right from the
start -- her remarkable voice and stage presence are most entertaining.
The chemistry between Millie and Jimmy, the fast talking, street wise
city boy (adeptly played by PJ Adzima) is delightful. The characters are
real and believable throughout.

The skilled and talented ensemble complements the production
wonderfully. A few standouts include Katie Clark as Miss Dorothy, Jeff
Clayton's Graydon, and Dawn Rendell's Miss Flannery. The "scenery
chewing" award for this production is a tie between Pat Haynes as Mrs.
Meers and Kathy Renaud as Muzzy. Each actress takes a turn stealing the
scene in the first act, and when they have a scene together in the
second act it is pure, over the top hilarity.

Director Kim Lynch has done an exemplary job of casting and directing a
show which could lend itself to being too "cutesy" in the wrong hands.
Musical Director Christina Climo and the orchestra do a very nice job
with the score which includes a brief homage to the patter songs of
Gilbert and Sullivan. The choreography by Amy Bouchard works
beautifully -- it is tight and deftly executed.

A combination of built pieces and projections (courtesy of Technical
Director Frank Disco) comprise the set design which also works very
nicely. Exit 7 Players upholds its reputation for high production values
with this show, as evidenced by the standing ovation from the
enthusiastic opening night audience.

"Thoroughly Modern Millie" is an entertaining and skillfully executed
production, thoroughly.