David Douglas High serves up a big cup of holiday cheer with ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’

One look at this article and you’ll see why folks are already buying tickets to this luxurious production, opening December 3, featuring comedy, song and dance, and a knockout two-story set …

Choreographer Lynette Velásquez runs through steps in a dance routine with the villainous trio in their new musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”: Micah Sullivan (who plays the evil Mrs. Meers) and her henchmen, Ken Tang (playing Ching Ho) and Shelby Trinh (playing Bun Foo).

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Opening December 3, the David Douglas High School Performing Arts Department presents their fall musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.

During a full-cast rehearsal last week, DDHS’s theater instructor and the show’s director, Michael Givler, said the show’s 100 cast members and musicians are looking forward to presenting this stage musical, based on the original 1967 motion picture starring Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Channing, and Julie Andrews.

“This show is both fun and challenging for our cast,” Givler said. “It brings together students as they act, sing, dance, and perform live music for the show.”

The show’s director, Michael Givler, helps the show’s dancers block out a group dance number.

About the story
Thoroughly Modern Millie” – a delightful spoof of the roaring 1920s – is considered to be one of the better musicals produced in the 1960s.

The story revolves around Millie Dillmount, who “escapes” her drab hometown of Salina, Kansas, looking for excitement under the bright lights of New York City. Millie is determined to marry a wealthy man, and live a life of luxury.

“Millie does find excitement,” Givler smiled. “Upon her arrival in NYC, she promptly gets mugged. But, the plucky young lady finds a job, falls in love, and stays in a hotel for young ladies run by the sinister Mrs. Meers. The plot thickens as girls begin disappearing from the hotel.”

Here’s the central cast of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”: Josh McKinley (who plays the wealthy Trevor Graydon), Annie Ralston (Miss Dorothy, Millie’s new friend), Mackenzie Adrian (cabaret singer Muzzy van Hossmere), Marissa Hanson (new-to-town Millie Dillmount), Corey Taylor-Cedarleaf (Jimmy Smith who hopes to win Millie’s heart), Ken Tang (henchman Ching Ho), Micah Sullivan (the creepy and sinister Mrs. Meers) and Shelby Trinh (Bun Foo) gather in the lobby of the Hotel Priscilla.

DDHS instructor and the show’s musical director, Christopher Silva, makes notes during rehearsal.

A colorful cast of characters fills out this lively musical that has “all of New York dancing the Charleston”. It includes big band jazz numbers, and show-stopping songs such as “What Do I Need With Love”, “Forget About The Boy”, and “Only New York”.

  • Will Millie coax her wealthy boss, Trevor Graydon, into marrying her?
  • Does Jimmy Smith, seemingly a poor-but-fun-loving paper-clip salesman, have chance of winning Millie’s heart?
  • Can Millie’s new best girlfriend, Miss Dorothy, escape the clutches of the sinister and mysterious proprietor of the Hotel Priscilla, Mrs. Meers, and her henchmen, Ching Ho and Bun Foo?
  • How can the madcap Manhattan cabaret singer and heiress, Muzzy van Hossmere, help Millie find what she most desires?

Find out, starting, December 3, in this great production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.

DDHS Theater tech instructor, Mark Taylor, shows actors Annie Ralston and Marissa Hanson how to operate the operate the elevator doors.

Broadway-quality sets and lighting make show sparkle
The manager of the Horner Perforating Arts Theater, and theater tech instructor, Mark Taylor, and his student crew have built a magnificently-decorated two-story stage set that includes an ornate, wrought-iron, functional elevator.

Evocative lighting sets the tone for every scene. The theater-tech students operate all functions of the show – sound, lighting, and stage management.

Tickets now available for early December run
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” premieres on December 3 at 7:30 p.m., and continues on 4 and 5; then again on December 10, 11 and 12.

  • There’s a special matinee performance on Sunday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets – on sale right now – are $10 for adults, and $7 for students and seniors. The box office has been open for a week, and this show is sure to sell out quickly. Boxoffice hours are Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 3 until 5:30 p.m. on school days, and an hour before show time.

Or, call (503) 261-8270 for more information. The David Douglas High School Horner Performing Arts Center is located at 1400 SE 130th Avenue.

Miss Dorothy and Millie Dillmount take their first ride in the balky Hotel Priscilla elevator on the two-story set of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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