by Joe Basque, Contributor
Director Todd Uhrmacher has been trying to convince his choreographer, Michelle Garrity, to do “Thoroughly Modern Millie” for years. Every time he suggested it she would reply, “Oh, big show” and shoot it down. As they mulled over a 2015 production, looking over what other theaters were planning for summer productions, Uhrmacher thought there were gaps to fill. “We wanted to do something super dance-y, with lots of roles for women. Out of the blue, Garrity suddenly suggested, “What about Millie?”
Uhrmacher couldn’t have been happier. He has loved the musical ever since first seeing the 1967 movie. He still shows the movie to some of his classes. Now he has a chance to put his own stamp on the show.
“Millie will not disappoint,” he promises.
Set in New York City in 1922, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is the madcap story of young Millie Dillmount, who moves from Kansas to New York determined to find work as a stenographer for a rich businessman that she can then marry. The best laid plans lead to a mugging, a white slavery ring, a speakeasy, and inevitably to true live and a happy ending. The Broadway adaptation of the movie won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2002.
Michelle Garrity is right. It is a big show. And Ralston is definitely going big. Big dance numbers, perfectly suited to Garrity’s talents. Big sound, for which music director Chris Ebke excels, and lots of costumes, a love of Uhrmacher. “We bought the full Broadway package out of Chicago. One hundred forty seven costumes, to be exact.” Millie alone will have twelve costumes. Ralston is planning on six dressers, in addition to the cast, to pull it off.
And then, there’s the set.
“It is a set show from hell,” laughs Uhrmacher. “I still don’t know where it will all fit backstage.”
Tech week may be as madcap as the musical itself.
Still, Uhrmacher can’t wait. He has terrific cast, including Molly McGuire as Millie, Jamie Unger as Miss Dorothy, and David Ebke as Jimmy Smith. He has a wealth of talented actresses in supporting roles as well, including Garrity, Sarah Query, Mary Kay Desjardins, and Julia Gilreath.
“It’s cheesy, it’s campy, it’s fun,” says Uhrmacher. The perfect summer musical.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” by the Ralston Community Theatre will run at Ralston High School, 8969 Park Drive, from July 10th through July 26th. Shows are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and Sundays at 2:00. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for students, seniors and TAG members, and $12 for groups of 10 or more. There will be a TAG Nite Out on Thursday, July 9 at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be ordered on line through the Ralston Community Theatre’s website:
Questions? Call them at (402) 898-3545 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.