- OnStage Massachusetts Critic
Waltham MA - Thoroughly Modern Millie takes place in New York City during the Jazz Age of the 1920’s. It is the story of a small-town girl who moves to the big city longing to live a thoroughly modern life. The orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Leonard, was entertaining from the overture through the bows; though at times, they overpowered the vocals. Choreography by Susan Chebookjian was overall, well executed by the energetic cast. The tap sections were clear and highly enjoyable to watch. The dance numbers were standout, crowd-pleasers throughout the production.
Gabrielle Carrubba as Millie Dillmount was fresh and fun, delivering solid vocals. Still a college student, (rising Junior at Boston Conservatory) Gabrielle continues to learn and hone her craft, but she has the potential for big things if her performance as Millie is any indication. A number of times during the performance she reminded me of Sutton Foster who originated the role on Broadway in 2002. I look forward to seeing more from Gabrielle in the future. Caitlyn Oenbrink and her lovely soprano vocals were wonderfully showcased as Millie’s friend, Miss Dorothy Brown. The duet between Carrubba and Oenbrink, “How the Other Half Lives”, was a highlight of act one. Their vocals and characterizations balanced each other nicely. Andrew Tighe as Jimmy Smith was likeable and delivered strong vocals and acting throughout. His scenes with Carrubba were charming and believable. “The Speed Test”, performed by Mr. Trevor Graydon (Mark Linehan), Millie Dillmount, Miss Flannery (Molly Keane-Dreyer) and the office workers, was another highlight in act one.
Unfortunately, this opening night performance was not without its’ mishaps. The most jarring technical difficulties of the performance occurred in the sound department as actors’ microphones were left on while they were backstage, thus decreasing what could be heard from those on stage. Additionally, from what I could tell, not everyone was wearing a microphone so the group numbers often consisted of muffled and difficult to understand lyrics.
Overall, this production, directed by Cynthia Thole, was an over the top, fun musical that the audience thoroughly enjoyed. Thoroughly Modern Millie plays from July 7-17, 2016 at the Robinson Theatre (617 Lexington Street, Waltham, MA). For information and tickets visit www.reaglemusictheatre.
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