by Avenue & Viola Smith
The North Fork Community Theatre’s Youth on Stage production this summer is “Thoroughly Modern Millie, the story of a small-town girl, Millie Dillmount, who comes to the big city looking for love and adventure in the early 1920s.
The Beacon’s Youth Reporter Corps, Avenue and Viola Smith, took a trip to Mattituck opening night to investigate this new production.
Avenue: This play is the story of a women who moved to New York City and when she gets there people start stealing her stuff. She loses her wallet doesn’t know what to do. She bumps into this guy who says ‘yeah, that’s the city’ and tells her to go to a hotel where actresses stay where they’re used to people not being able to pay.
The hotel is run by a lady who’s pretending to be Chinese who’s been abducting any of the girls who are orphaned because they have no one to miss them, and selling them to Beijing. Millie checks in and is allowed to stay a week, but she can’t pay because she doesn’t have a job.
A woman named Miss Dorothy pays for them both to stay. Miss Dorothy is an orphan, so Miss Meers starts planning to abduct her, with two boys from China who work for her and do what she says because she promises she will let them see their mom again.
Viola: I liked how the actors memorized Chinese. My favorite musical number was “Muquin,” which is Chinese for mother, and they all sing in Chinese.
They get roped into kidnapping Dorothy, but one brother, Ching Ho, falls in love with Dorothy and he has to chose between his mother and her.
Avenue: At that point, he decides it’s probably better if his mom comes over here. The Chinese accents sounded so dead-on. Wow. There was a little screen with a projection with subtitles above them. The Boy Scouts helped them put that together. The director said in a note in the program that the original play was kind of racist. I can see that. But they managed to tread delicately. The cast did make it feel more modern.
Viola: At one point Millie gets a job. She plans to get a job at a fancy office and marry her boss, because that’s a modern idea.
Avenue: She says ‘I don’t have a resume and I’ve never done anything and he says ‘I like that’ and hires her. There’s a great scene where she’s doing a typing test taking dictation of a letter about a floor waxer, while the typists are tap dancing. She has a plan to marry him and he doesn’t know about it. She just kind of hopes that it will work.
Viola: But later on, Miss Dorothy meets the boss and he falls in love with her. There’a another guy, Jimmy, who usually goes out with a lot of girls. One day he starts to fall in love with Millie when they’re in jail because they went to a speakeasy to feel modern. Well, she’s asleep but he falls in love with her.
Avenue: But she’s still in love with her boss.
Viola: Ching Ho, played by Alex Bradley, he ends up rescuing Dorothy and Dorothy forgets about the boss man and falls in love with him. He was my favorite character.
Avenue: Ashley Hilary was spot on as Millie. It was perfect casting for that… she had a lot of energy and spunk. The boss, Gage Bennett as Mr. Trevor Greydon, played it really well. The whole thing was strong, with good singers. The dance numbers were good, and it was a good storyline.
Avenue: I give it two thumbs up, mostly because it’s a lot of fun. It’s crazy and the actors are all really good. The choreography was great.
Viola: I think it was great all around. The moral is don’t let someone kidnap you and don’t tell people you’re an orphan.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” continues through August 6 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling the box office at 631-298-6328 or visiting www.nfct.com.
After “Thoroughly Modern Millie” closes, members of the ensemble are planning two benefit performances of their choice of songs for the NFCT Scholarship Program on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 11 and 12 at 8 p.m.