Modern play at Hale Center Theater
Thoroughly Modern Millie has opened with a bang at the Hale Center Theater in Orem.
The small theater, reminiscent of off-off-Broadway, has packed in show-goers for the company’s 137 production.
The venue provides an intimate setting and showcases a pleasantly surprising montage of local talent.
The cozy scene, complete with exposed brick walls and a painted New York skyline backdrop, leaves the average audience member unfamiliar with the Hale Center charmed, yet expectant of an overall mediocre, high-school-quality performance.
Tight theater seats discourage elbowroom and the crossing of legs, and encourage chewing gum and polite neighborly conversation. The theater company, a hidden gem in the backyard of Orem, immediately delivers beyond the expectations of its dull book cover.
Within minutes of the opening scene, an enthralled audience is captured into the play, while the dusty stage is transformed to 1920s New York City.
Thoroughly Modern Millie is the story of Millie Dillmount, a young woman who moves from Kansas to New York City with the goal of marrying her wealthy boss, whoever he may be.
She embraces the flapper lifestyle, determined to pursue anything "modern," including new clothes, a bobbed haircut, and perhaps a speakeasy or two.
Millie soon finds herself caught in the middle of a white slavery ring based in China, an unexpected love affair and the fortunate acquaintance of a glamorous cabaret-singing heiress.
The play was adapted from the popular 1967 musical film of the same title, starring Julie Andrews.
While Brighton Quinn Hertford, who stars as Millie in HTCO’s production, holds her own on stage and is undeniably cute, no one can blame her for not quite filling Andrews’ shoes.
It is Amanda Crabb, who plays the tycoon Muzzy Van Hossmeere, who really steals the show in the end of the first act with an outstanding solo performance of "Only in New York."
The engaging production includes a dynamic array of characters, each perfectly cast and highly entertaining. The colorful plot is so hilariously woven; boredom during this show is impossible.
Quick comedy, innovative set design, and delightful music propels scenes along, making the three-hour play feel like five minutes and the cramped seating feel like clouds.
Thoroughly Modern Millie shows Monday through Saturday until Nov. 24 at the Hale Center Theater. For more information, visit HaleTheater.com