The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Thoroughly Modern Millie
Organization Rocklin Community Theater
Date(s) of show July 13-22, 2012
Reviewer Dick Frantzreb
Review This latest offering from Rocklin Community Theatre is a hands-down winner. The assemblage of local talent is amazing, starting with co-directors, Ryan Adame and Christi Axelson, who is also the choreographer. I don’t know whether they’re compensated for their efforts, but these people are experienced pros who have put together a production that sparkles with creativity.

This is described as a “Teen Theatre Workshop Production.” But forget “teen” and forget “workshop.” These kids are mature performers with outstanding acting, excellent singing, and brilliant dance routines. The story itself of a young woman trying to make it in New York City in the 1920s, hangs together well as an engaging romantic comedy, and the writing is excellent. A few of the songs are familiar, but that doesn’t matter: they all make for good listening, and some are wonderfully funny, like singing in Chinese with English subtitles.

But the writing and songs would fall flat without the talent that brought them out last night, because the stage brimmed over with personality on everyone’s part. This show is double-cast, and I saw the Kansas Cast perform, so I’m hesitant to single out individual performers, especially because so many were so good. That said, Caroline Mixon as Millie was an absolute knock-out, with acting and singing that, to me at least, was star-quality. And Casey Borghesi played Mrs. Meers, the Chinese landlady, with such flair that nearly everything she did made me laugh.

I’ve heard many of the principals in this production sing before, but somehow this seemed like their best work, and no doubt a lot of the credit should go to vocal director, Erin Gabriele. I just wish that they could have had more individual mics, because a couple of ensemble numbers could not be heard well – and I was sitting in the third row. But the principals and all the supporting actors could be easily heard.

One of the most impressive things about this production was the costuming. I began to be amazed at the brilliant array of 1920s-themed costumes and new, dazzling outfits for the women as the show progressed. Even the uniform outfits and hair of the typing pool were noticeably inspired touches by Denise McHugh and her costume team.

I found myself wondering how this small company could afford such quality costumes, but more than that, how could they manage a 13-piece live orchestra? I have to add that these musicians played beautifully, and their coordination with the singers on stage appeared to be seamless.

If this show doesn’t earn multiple Elly Awards, there is something wrong with that award system. I found the production so engaging that I’m going back to see how the New York Cast does. If I can see it twice, you should at least see it once. It’s an entertainment gem.

P.S. I just saw the New York Cast perform, and they pulled off another great show. Whichever cast you see, you won't be disappointed.

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