Teen Musical is based on 1967 movie starring Julie Andrews

Published February 28, 2018 online

Photo by Marty Cheek

South Valley Civic Theatre’s teen musical show “Thoroughly Modern Millie” has its roots in the wacky 1967 Oscar-winning movie starring Julie Andrews. It was reworked and juggled around into a sparkling musical that entertains. “Millie” walked off with six Tony Awards in 2002, including Best Musical.

This “Millie” has a talented energetic cast, creative choreography and some musical help from Victor Herbert, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Al Jolson. At least 110 glittering costumes by costume designers Michelle Griffin, Alicia Corso and Adrianne Wilkinson give the production a classy “Roaring ‘20s” look and feel. And let’s not forget the at least 20 detailed scene sets by designer Andrew Cumming. His ingenious eye for design creates a theatrical miracle in the small space that is allowed on the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse stage

Brianna Pember plays Millie, the optimistically, naive hick newly arrived from Kansas who decides to shuck her small town image and immerse herself in the flashy Manhattan ‘20s by bobbing her hair, raising her skirts and marrying her boss. The Live Oak High School senior has the voice and comedic flair and is most enjoyable to watch.  She is unstinting with her energy and belts out the vocals with a solid flair.

The show stealers are Emily Pember, as Chin Ho, and Thanachai Kapinkan, as Bun Foo, who play laundry workers and Mrs. Meers’ henchmen. They belt out old standards in Chinese. Their version of Al Jolsen’s “Mammy” in authentic Cantonese is a hoot and delivered with superb gusto.

Miss Dorothy (Melodie Knappe) and Trevor Graydon (Ben Snook) are hysterical fun with Victor Herbert’s “I’m Falling In Love With Someone” number. Mrs. Meers (Lucy Kaelin) the nefarious, con artist, pseudo dragon lady proprietor of the Priscilla Hotel, takes the most juicy comedy role in the show and mugs her way through with good timing.

Muzzy Van Hossmere (Mia Vetri), the grande dame mentor for Millie, keeps the plot connected with humor and fun. An appealing Roberto Nolasco sings and dances as Millie’s boyfriend, Jimmy Smith.

Director Janell Cummings keeps her actors moving at a fast pace.  Nathan Cummings’ lighting, Christine Carrillo and Liana Kishi’s choreography, and the wonderful teen dancers show some of the brightest spots in this extravaganza. The typewriter number is clever and well done.

Alan Chipman conducts a talented orchestra that becomes the fine glue that holds the show together.

After all is said and done, perhaps “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is just what we need at this time. Something fluffy, fun and a reminder that silly innocence and a good laugh is good for us.


“Thoroughly Modern Millie”

Book By Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan

New Music by Jeanine Tesori

New lyrics by Dick Scanlan.

Where: Morgan Hill Community Playhouse, 5th and Monterey Street -Morgan Hill


Through: March 17

Running time: 2 hours and 50 minutes with one intermission

Details: For tickets and information visit www.svct.org



Camille Bounds