Thoroughly Modern Millie
Music by Jeanine Trasori
Lyrics by Dick Scanlan
Book by Richard Morris & Dick Scanlan
Thingamajig Theatre Company, 2018
Director: Dennis Elkins
Choreographer: Pia Wyatt
Music Director: Boni McIntyre
Set Designer: John Santangelo
Costume Designer: Adrienne Young
Sound Designer: Hannah Shutt
Props Designer: Tanya Quinn
Scenic Artist: Jill Fives
Prod. Stage Manager: Samantha Rohr
Photography by Elaine Wong and Jeff Laydon.
This production was performed in repertory with a shared lighting plot with three other productions, The Little Shop of Horrors, Legally Blonde, and Pinkalicious.
A comic pastiche that evokes the spirit of classic Golden Era musicals, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of Millie Dillmount, a young country girl who moves to New York City with aspirations of style, modernity, and, of course, to marry rich. When she is immediately seen as a greenhorn and mugged, Millie is forced to live in the Hotel Priscilla, a home for wayward actresses run by the evil Mrs. Meers, a washed-up actress pretending to be a Chinese businesswoman to cover her secret overseas slavery racket. Once settled, Millie starts on her plan of working as a stenographer for one of New York's richest bachelor businessmen so that she can marry her boss. Through a comedy of errors and big tap dance numbers, Millie is able to find true love, foil Meers' plan, and discover her own happy ending.
While the 2002 script aims to humanize its Chinese characters, casting them as the heroes of the story whilst deliberately setting up Mrs. Meers (a white woman pretending to be Chinese) as a transparent villain, there is strong debate about whether the script actually accomplishes its ambition.
In order to support the vibrant feeling of the music, the lighting design featured heavily saturated, upbeat colours used in contrast with a more naturalistic style of lighting in the book scenes. To accent the beautiful art-deco pillars created by the scenic design, about 150 feet of LED tape was used to bring the pillars to life as dynamic light boxes.