1920s romp 

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” is a fun little Valentine’s confection of a musical, a girl-meets-boy story set amid the whirl of flapper-era Manhattan, with a soundtrack of cleverly written songs and jazzy numbers that pretty much dare you not to tap your foot.

Based on the 1967 movie starring Julie Andrews, the Tony Award-winning show tells the story of Millie Dillmount, a wide-eyed girl from Kansas who arrives in New York with nothing but a suitcase and a ticket home, which she rips in two just before she gets her hair bobbed and her purse stolen. Within a week, though, she has a job, a new best friend, a landlady who’s involved in a secret plot to sell pretty young girls into white slavery in Hong Kong, a rich boss she’s determined to marry, and a handsome-but-poor guy friend she’s equally determined not to fall in love with. It’s a predictable plot, but the dialog’s fun, and not above poking fun at the cliches as it indulges in them, and this production’s Charleston-inspired dance numbers and art deco sets did a great job of evoking the era.

Alex Ellis, a recent college graduate according to her program bio, played Millie creditably. Her voice was strong and expressive, although distinctly nasal, and it’s saying something that I could understand almost every word she said and sang.

That wasn’t the case with perhaps the show’s strongest singer, Kriste Belt, who played the older-and-wiser stage star Muzzy Van Hossmere. Belt has a fantastic voice, but most of what she sang Monday night was at best difficult to understand, as was one entire scene of dialogue. This may have been more a problem with amplification, however; diction seemed to disappear for every performer past a certain volume level.

As Miss Dorothy Brown, Millie’s best friend, Courtney Elise Brown showed off a beautiful soprano, and Adam Zelasko, as Jimmy Smith, had a fine leading-man voice.

The night’s biggest laughs, though, went to Arthur Kwan and Fang Du as the two Chinese brothers who help the evil landlady Mrs. Meers (Elizabeth T. Murff) smuggle her young captives off to Hong Kong.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jennifer Barnett Reed

  • Learning to love North Little Rock in Park Hill

    Any description of North Little Rock's Park Hill neighborhood will eventually, inevitably, include a comparison to Hillcrest, its better-known cousin south of the river.
    • Dec 28, 2011
  • A reason to splash

    Fun rain gear and more at InJoy.
    • Mar 12, 2009
  • Pick up some spice

    And we ain’t talking about tarragon.
    • Feb 26, 2009
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • An uneven 'Macbeth'

    Michael Stewart Allen as Macbeth carries the play.
    • Sep 17, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Theater Reviews

  • Standout acting

    In romantic 'Bridges.'
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Life during wartime

    The Rep updates Homer with 'An Iliad.'
    • Mar 3, 2016
  • A modern Pan

    "Peter and the Starcatcher" adds a modern flair to the Peter Pan story.
    • Jan 28, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Good Weather

    Lakewood pop-up gallery makes a home for art in limbo.
  • Lessons learned

    Picture Bret Bielema pole-vaulting for a minute. Then, once the laughter subsides, hear me out with this absurd analogy.
  • Ken Bonfield comes to The Joint

    Also, Guts Club plays Vino's.
  • White Water hosts a big Mississippi Blues Show

    Also, Red Octopus at the Public Theater, Alcee Chriss III at First Presbyterian Church, Harvestfest in Hillcrest, the Arkansas Times Hog Roast, Wildflower Revue at South on Main and Made By Few in Bentonville.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Lessons learned

    • I think you meant to write, 'Consider for a minute Bret Bielema pole vaulting.' As…

    • on October 20, 2016
  • Re: Good Weather

    • Great article, true words!! Good Weather is an amazing place.

    • on October 20, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation