From Disney and DreamWorks to a show featuring the taxing choreography of disco music, the performers of the Sweet Home High School Music Department never cease to amaze and entice students and parents alike with their jaw-dropping dance numbers and displays of vocal prowess. This year will be no different as the level of professionalism and commitment won’t waver. This March, the department will ultimately bring to life the light and magic of the Roarin’ Twenties with this year’s musical—Thoroughly Modern Millie.
To set the scene, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a “thoroughly modern” story set at the height of the jazz age in the 1920’s, following the era of progression when tradition was being broken and there was monumental fun to be had. The musical revolves around a flapper, Millie Dillmount, who plans to run from her middle-to-lower-class lifestyle by becoming a wealthy businessman’s stenographer and marry him happily into money; it’s a “thoroughly modern” approach to the challenges brought by being broke.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie is set in 1922,” said Mrs. Ross in an interview with The Panther Eye. “We will see costumes that will reflect that [time period]—flappers and bright colors and short, bobbed hair.” With her own personal expertise in the local theater scene, Ross plans to leave no loose ends when building the atmosphere of the setting. Viewers should prepare to let themselves be transported into the nightlife of the Big-Band, booze-influenced lifestyle of the time period.
The music directors have worked strategically to choose this year’s show. To put out anything close to the cat’s pajamas, let alone the cat’s particulars, Mrs. Ross read the set of cards she was dealt. “I always like to think … when my seniors were freshman, what has their theater experience been since they’ve [attended the high school]. I need to fill in gaps before they leave.” Mrs. Ross, as considerate as she is well versed, took both her possible and definite cast members into account when choosing this show, as to truly bring the script to life and lift the words and notes from the page. “As much as we don’t pick a musical for any particular student or group of students, we have to look at what talent we have… I couldn’t pick a show that requires 25 male leads if I don’t have 25 auditioning male students,” she explains, “Since I have directed the musical at the middle school for seven years, I know this freshman class very well, and in fact, the seniors now were in the musical when they were in middle school. [… I must then] take a look at what show would best fit those particular kids.”
“I know it’s not a show that everybody knows,” admits Ross, “but that’s because it’s hard. Not every school can do this show, and […] it’s not popular only because it’s really hard.”
Millie, as modern as she is, resides in a musical world that is exceedingly challenging due to an aspect that ought to make the viewers’ jaws drop. Listening to the tapping and rhythmic rapping of the performers’ steel-footed tap shoes, the audience needn’t worry about being let down. “There is a lot of dance in the show. Particularly, [that’s] what makes it unique,” Ross smiled, “tap dancing. […] we have a lot of really good tap dancers.”
Whether students of Sweet Home High School think that the musical is complete, lovely berries, or can’t help but think participating in it would be nothing but applesauce, Thoroughly Modern Millie is predicted to be “wildly entertaining. It’s big, it’s bright, it’s fun.” Ross depicts the plot to be full of energy which she’s sure that the audience will love. “The themes are comical! [Millie] moves from a small town to the big city to take on being on Broadway, and the first thing that happens to her when she steps on the street is she gets mugged, then […] she runs into a guy, literally runs into a guy, she trips him and he falls on the ground, and she falls in love with him instantaneously because he’s rich.” Aside from the aspects of watching it as an audience member, Ross tells to those who plan to join to take heed. For the kids who are in it, Mrs. Ross warns that the actors and dancers will need to increase their show stamina “bigtime.” Uncanny levels of energy will be maintained, as the show must and will go on.
Mrs. Ross, as a first year teacher at the high school is destined to lead the Sweet Home High School Music Program into another wonderful show for the ages this 2019-2020 musical season. Thoroughly Modern Millie is sure to be the absolute frog’s eyebrows.
To learn more about the musical, as well as it’s movie counterpart, feel free to listen to the soundtrack for the musical, listen to the soundtrack for the movie or watch the movie for free on the Internet Archive. Also, subscribe to Roar to make sure you get the podcast when it comes out.
This article contains 20’s slang. The implied meanings are accurate.
Luke Schriver is a senior at Sweet Home High School and is an author for The Panther Eye. As a freshman, he aided in getting the Eye off the ground, but then took a 2-year coffee break. Having now returned, Luke, with his connections to the music wing as well as his love for creative writing, plans to employ the aspects of his passions and skills to write articles and short stories in the category of the arts.