‘Millie’ returns to David Douglas stage

Here’s a sneak peak of actors and dancers during a rehearsal of ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’, opening on November 9 …

The Music Director of upcoming production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, Jennifer Brooks-Muller, conducts the David Douglas High School Orchestra in the overture to the show, which opens on the evening of November 9, in outer East Portland.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Since the start of school this year, David Douglas High School (DDHS) students involved with the performing arts department have been perfecting their acting, singing, dancing, and musical instrument skills, to prepare for the opening of this year’s musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, the evening of November 9.

The DDHS Performing Arts Department had a smash hit with this show in 2009, and is bringing it back – with an all-new cast, orchestra, and stage crew, of course.

With bags in hand, student actor Sarah Muller (playing the title character, Millie Dillmount) arrives in New York City; but she will be robbed and become penniless in moments.

Even after helping students learn their parts, and holding countless segment rehearsals, comedic lines from the show still make its director, Michael Givler, laugh out loud.

“The story behind ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ is something we need today – that is, of women who are determined to succeed, no matter what, in finding meaningful work, finding love, and conquering the world,” said DDHS’s theater instructor and the show’s director, Michael Givler, at the first full-run-through “technical rehearsal”.

“Although it’s a story set in the 1920s that was made into a movie in the 1960s, it is still a great show that has relevance today – proven by its having toured internationally again this year,” Givler told East Portland News.

Secretaries and managers join in this dazzling dance number.

While this David Douglas production doesn’t end with an exploding fireworks factory – as did the movie – It is filled with sparking songs, lively dance numbers, and intriguing situations.

About the story
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” revolves around Millie Dillmount, who says she’s ecstatic to have fled her dreary hometown of Salina, Kansas, and has just stepped off a train looking forward to excitement under the bright lights of New York City. Millie is determined to marry a wealthy man, and live a life of luxury.

In the lobby of Hotel Priscilla, Millie meets Ms. Dorothy Brown, delightfully played by actor Sasha Selva, who will become one of her good friends.

After a ruffian robs her of all her possessions, Millie literally runs into a poor-but-fun-loving paper clip salesman who offers her some good advice – and, alas, a tip to get a room at the seedy Hotel Priscilla, which is later discovered to be managed by a nefarious kidnapper.

A colorful cast of characters – 55 student actor/singers and dancers in all – make this a lively musical that has “all of New York dancing the Charleston” come alive. It includes big band jazz numbers, played by their 35 member student orchestra with show-stopping songs such as “What Do I Need with Love”, “Forget About the Boy”, “Only New York” – and the title song, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.

Spoiler Alert: DDHS Principal John Bier again takes the stage; be sure to watch for his cameo appearance!

Make plans to enjoy “Millie” at either an evening or matinee show, and see stage-filling dance numbers like these!

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” opens  November 9
The overture begins playing for the DDHS Fall Musical on opening night at 7:30 p.m.

The show also runs the evenings of November 10 and again on November 15, 16, and 17. Or, see a Family Matinee on November 11 or 18 at 2:30 p.m.

Will Millie wed wealthy business manager Trevor Greydon III – played by Trefor Fitchner? Come see “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and find out.

Tickets: $10 for Adults | $8 for Students/Seniors. Reserve your tickets online (they’ll hold them for two weeks) and buy them at the Box Office, open Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 3:00 until 5:30 p.m. on school days.

CLICK HERE for their online reservation form – or – call the Box Office at 503-261-8270. Both the theater and box office are located in the handicapped-accessible David Douglas High School Howard F. Horner Performing Arts Center, located at 1400 SE 130th Avenue, between Stark and Division streets.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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