Comedy, melodrama, danger, love, glamour, rebellion and hope course through this story about the confident forward thinking Millie Dillmount who arrives from Kansas to make her way in Manhattan.
From the moment Ali Damavanti took the stage and confidently belted out her first song “Not For The Life Of Me” as Millie, I knew that at least the lead was going to deliver a confident, spunky performance. She had us rooting for her and her plan to conquer Manhattan and the modern ideal of the ‘20s, even if she planned on finding a marriage that was more of a business arrangement. I have seen Damavanti perform before and she has always been one of my favorite young actors.
Her romantic counterpart, Aaron Harris who played Jimmie Smith, is also a favorite of mine. And if things seemed to be getting a little too serious he was sure to lighten the mood with his handling of his role as the supposed playboy who falls for the strong-willed Millie.
One of the exciting things about watching high school plays is seeing talent grow. I have watched many of these high school students perform over the past few years and they always bring heart and hours of sacrifice to the stage. The choreography (Tatem Trotter), which included several tap numbers, was fun and energetic and proved that this cast put in hours of practice. Bravo to the specialty dancers who brought the 1920s to life.
There were also moments of ‘20s glamour with the great costumes, parties and “famous performers.” There was an undercurrent of danger telling the story that Manhattan could be a dangerous place. The Priscilla hotel had a heartless villain in Mrs. Meers played by Lexi Davis. Mrs. Meers was at the center of a white slavery operation and when girls started to mysteriously disappear from the hotel, Millie rounds up her new friends to uncover the operation. Davis did a convincing job changing personalities in an instant as she“acted” out the part of a harmless hotel owner one moment and then a dark and vengeful kidnapper the next moment.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” proved once again that the Canyon View drama department with director and teacher Holly Barrick at its head has the heart and the talent to pull off an enjoyable evening of theatre.