Thoroughly Modern Millie impresses audience on opening night

Senior+Musical+Theater+major+Kristen+Hoffman%2C+center%2C+performs+her+introduction+skit+in+the+last+dress+rehearsal+of+Thoroughly+Modern+Millie+Wednesday+Feb.+24%2C+2016.

Senior Musical Theater major Kristen Hoffman, center, performs her introduction skit in the last dress rehearsal of Thoroughly Modern Millie Wednesday Feb. 24, 2016.

Jack Kopanski

Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance opened their production of the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” on Friday night at the E. Turner Stump Theatre in the Performing Arts Center.

The musical was directed by Terri Kent, professor and head of the musical theatre program and choreographed by Mary Ann Black, assistant professor of dance.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” tells the story of Millie, a small-town girl from Kansas, and her adjustment to a ‘modern’ life and world in New York in 1922.

Before the curtain even rose, excitement was building among those who came to see the opening night performance.

“I came to see a show here last semester and it was really good,” said Erin Wheatley, a sophomore fashion merchandising major. “The productions are really good, so I’m really excited to see this one.”

One student in particular was looking forward to the more technical aspects of the show.

“I really like musicals, and then I saw the director and she gave a little insight into it,” said Christina Gilmore, a junior biology major. “I’m really excited to see how all the lighting and all the music are going to pan out.”

The cast of characters for the show, including understudies and the ensemble, is 29 students. An additional 10 serve as members of the pit orchestra, led by Jennifer Korecki, assistant professor of musical theatre.

The musical exemplifies an art form called comic pastiche. Similar to a parody, it imitates another work of art, or in Millie’s case, a time period. Rather than mocking the original, it celebrates it with how it is displayed.

For this reason, the musical left audience members not only applauding, but laughing throughout. Many afterwards had only good things to say about the performance put on by the students.

“I thought it was a great musical,” said Gershon Harrell, a freshman criminology and justice studies major. “At the beginning I was kind of like, ‘what is this?’ but toward the end it was beautiful. It reminded me of a Disney movie. I loved it.”

Gilmore said that overall, the production came together. 

“I really enjoyed it,” Gilmore said. “Everything tied together; the music, the characters (and) the playwright itself.”

Gilmore even went as far as to say she would go to see this musical every night it was running.

“I would come to every single showing. It was really good,” Gilmore said. “I think each show is different in its own way, and you get to see their highs and their lows in each performance.”

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” will run until March 6, with this coming Monday and Tuesday as days off.

All performances take place at the E. Turner Stump Theatre. Tickets can be purchased here.

Jack Kopanski is the performing arts reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]