By Miranda Pugh
Take a step back in time with Brigham Playhouse’s production of Thoroughly Modern Millie in Washington, Utah. The colossal talent in such an intimate setting is beyond impressive. At Brigham’s Playhouse, there truly isn’t a bad seat in the house. Thoroughly Modern Millie is the story of a small town girl Mille (Aubree Harper), who ventures off on her own into the big city. Millie has a plan. And like anyone who has a plan, life throws at her many curveballs. She first meets Jimmy (Jadon Webster), a well-dressed, witty gentleman who reluctantly helps her find a place to stay. Meers (Grace Wells), the owner of the hotel, takes Millie in and has you laughing with her facial expressions and her complete embracing of her role. Dorothy (Malory Myers), the girl from California who plays a key role in this delightful adventure, is absolutely darling. I had never seen Thoroughly Modern Millie before so I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns of events, as well as the unexpected ending.
Everyone involved made this production very memorable. Graydon (Nathan Myers) and Flannery (Carmie Golightly) are the bosses you dream of. I kept thinking, wow, I’d work for those two, for sure. Muzzy (Kelly Hicken) made me wish there was a nightclub that showcased her talent on a regular basis. Ching Ho (Porter Christensen) and Bun Foo (Aaron Flores) are the guys you want on your side. And the ensemble, Karissa Young, Sadie Brinkeehoff, Courtney Chalmers, Kelli Christensen, Samantha Cummings, Gloria Morin, Abbey Searle, Derek Robinson, Easton Watts, and Ben Wouden brilliantly brought it all together. Directors Jamie Young and Dale Hoopes certainly created a sensational production. They have harnessed a great cast for a Thoroughly Modern Millie.
I had the joy of being accompanied by my 9-year-old daughter who had surprisingly already seen the show. She was quick to tell me that it was okay for her to see it again because it’s simply “awesome.” And boy, was she right. Being a swing dancer myself, I love that this play takes place in the 1920s. Not only did the performers have incredible voices and acting skills, their dancing ability made me wish I could join them. Choreographer Dale Hoopes should be proud. The production is filled with great dance numbers, my favorite being the dance number in the club scene. As for costumes, Tina Forsyth, Costume Designer, and the costume crew, Grace Wells and Marilyn Wells, successfully transport us back in time to the1920s era. Grace Wells, who plays Meers superbly, is also the talent behind the hair and makeup. Talk about multi-talented.
Although those onstage are the ones we remember most, we can’t forget the other individuals who are behind the scenes making this production of Thoroughly Modern Millie worthy of being on Broadway. Set designers Tonya Christensen and Doug Knapp fully utilize the charming theater and take us flawlessly from scene to scene. Porter Christensen, Marinda Young, Kelli Christensen, Aaron Flores, Vanessa Knapp, Craig Golightly, and Dallin Suman, all part of the paint/build crew, did an astonishing job with the scenery. Annick Tolman, Stage Manager/ Props/Sound Board Operator did an exceptional job. Because what would a play be without quality sound? Music Director/Sound Designer Taylor Williams brings us music that is phenomenal. My personal favorite was Harper and Myers singing “The Speed Test.” Very impressive and my daughter and I were laughing at its exuberance. The mood of the entire production is felt not only through the music, but also through the lighting. Jamie Young, Light Designer, Marinda Young, Aaron Justvig, Sabrina Wayt, Elizabeth Mackey, and Steve Mohan, Light Board and Spotlight Operators, all add so much to this production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Brigham’s Playhouse is such a quaint theater–a rare gem in Southern Utah for sure. I love how we were greeted by the actors and actresses before the play even began. It’s even more fun after the show when we were been able to see what these talented people gave to us with their great production. My daughter loves being able to tell those involved what a fabulous job they did. And I can’t forget the desserts—they were to die for. You just can’t go wrong. House manager Rebecca Monson knows exactly how to treat her guests. Parking is very accessible. And the prices are affordable. We look forward to seeing many more productions here in the future.
Overall, I would highly recommend Brigham Playhouse’s production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. It would make for a perfect date night for couples as well as families with older children. My 9-year-old daughter absolutely loved it, so I would recommend this for tweens and up. The production ran right around three hours with one intermission, which seemed perfect, but could be a little too long for younger children. Thanks to all involved for the quality entertainment.
Brigham’s Playhouse presents Thoroughly Modern Millie by Richard Morris, Dick Scanlan, and Jeanine Tesori
Brigham’s Playhouse, 25 N 300 W, Washington, UT 84780
August 17-23 Thurs-Sat 7:00 PM, Sat 2:00 PM
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