This past weekend, Rockford Christian High School's theatre department presented their production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. For those unfamiliar with the show, Millie follows the title character, a small town girl, as she moves to New York to find her future and a man to marry. Along the way, she embraces the flapper lifestyle, befriends a rich girl trying out a poor girl's way of living, rubs elbows with a famous jazz singer, tries to woo her boss, and even helps break up a human trafficking ring. The RCHS students put on a good show.
As the curtain parts, the show certainly starts off on a very good foot, between the great singing of Bailey Sanderson in the title role and the fantastic looking cityscape backdrop. Sanderson shows a good range and presents the character as an optimistic, spitfire go-getter. She moves with great energy. Her performance is very "big," perhaps a tad too big at a few moments, but entertaining and well performed. Overall, this show benefits from some very talented female performers. Melissa Robyn is an audience favorite as the sinister Mrs. Meers. Claire Perham is a capable Muzzy. She starts her rendition of "Only in New York" strong, but seemed to dial it back toward the end of the number. All is forgiven in act two, however, when she returns to form with "Long as I'm Here with You." Jordan Knapick sings with a good (nay, great!) voice as Miss Dorothy Parker, and her acting is adorable, if a little awkward.
There aren't a ton of male roles, but Peyton Schoenhofer and Cameron Galvez give the ladies a run for their money. Schoenhofer has a good voice and his "I Turned the Corner" is a wow moment. Galvez has moments of true vocal power as Millie's boss, Trevor Graydon.
The look of this production is something special. The costuming is impeccable and perfectly captures the feel of the 1920's. The set decoration is done just right. On the whole, scene transitions were well done as well. The choreography of Michelle Gottfred and Andrew Mahan is (very) solid in concept, although the cast has a wide range of dancing prowess (not that you can fault them for it).
There were a couple technical issues. Mic levels seemed to off at times, and the projections being used jumped the gun multiple times.
Overall, this was definitely a show director Matthew Neylon and the kids of RCHS can be proud of. The leads were talented, the visual style of the show captured the era perfectly, the orchestra was nigh perfect, and the performance was just a lot of fun! On the whole, a job well done.