SUTTON FOSTER
HARRIET HARRIS    GAVIN CREEL
ANGELA CHRISTIAN    CHEYENNE JACKSON    TERRY BURRELL
KEN LEUNG    FRANCIS JUE    ANNE L. NATHAN

 

Since I saw the Julie Andrews movie, many years ago, that I fell in love with Millie and all its gay (in the old sense of the word) characters. When I heard that a stage version was bound to open on Broadway I got really excited. After listening to the fabulous cast album I hardly could wait to see it live on stage. That finally happened and I was a little bit disappointed.

The story is basically the same. Millie is a small town girl who comes to the big city to marry a millionaire (probably her boss), meanwhile she befriends a lonely rich girl and falls in love with a penniless boy. In the meantime, the owner of the hotel where she lives, Mrs. Meers, kidnaps orphan girls and sells them to China.

My disappointment has nothing to do with the cast. Sutton Foster is a nice Millie, Gavin Creel is convincing as her boyfriend, Angela Christian is perfect as the rich girl, Cheyenne Jackson has the right look and talent to play Millie’s wooden Boss, Harriet Harris is an hilarious Mrs. Meers and Francis Jue and Ken Leung are really funny as Mrs. Meers servants. Only Terry Burrell’s Muzzy (a rich woman who befriends Millie) is a pale shadow of Carol Channing’s original Muzzy and who wouldn’t be? Anyway she has her moments, specially in a terrific scene with Mrs. Meers.

My problem with the show has to do with the staging. The opening is very poor and the first act hardly takes off. Curiously things get much better on the second act and by the end of it I was actually enjoying it. Anyway things happen too quickly and the choreography isn’t very interesting.
The famous “Speed Test” number isn’t as good as I thought, the “Forget About the Boy” number is much more entertaining, but my favorite is the creative “I’m Falling in Love with Someone”. Anyway, none of the numbers has the excitement of the movie’s “Tappioca”; why didn’t they used it on the show?

The terrific score (I confess, I love this kind of music) uses old songs with new ones and the fact that we don’t notice the difference means that composer Jeanine Tesori and lyricist Dick Scanlan did a good job, and let’s hope they will repeat it in the near future.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE isn’t a great Broadway musical, but it’s entertaining and the cast gives their best to make us have a pleasant evening.

 

New Music  by Jeanine Tesori    New Lyrics by Dick Scanlan

Book by Richard Morris & Dick Scanlan

Choreography by Rob Ashford    Directed by Michael Mayer

 

Photos by Joan Marcus

Rated by Jorge: +++