Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Thoroughly Modern Millie" - Runaway Stage Productions

Left: Andrea St. Clair as Millie Dillmount.

Great job by Andrea, Scott, Deborah, Dorothy, Karen, and the gang! I was very impressed by Tev Ditter's comedic timing.

I worried a bit about this show's choreography, because of what I had heard prior to seeing it: the necessity of replacing a key dancer during the rehearsal period, the need to replace a dancer due to injury the very night I attended (Sat. May 17th), and some early complaints about the dancing.

Nevertheless, I didn't have any serious issues with the dancing or the choreography. The pace in some dances is very rapid, ruthlessly exposing any flaws in dance timing amongst the dance ensemble. After all, we all hear and react to music slightly differently, and such flaws as there were were being exposed at this 128th note, or so, level. The problems were not isolated to a few but shared by all.

A solution would be problematic: not a longer rehearsal period, or a different choreographer, or even different dancers, but months or years of additional dance education. No live theater has the time for that - you cast the best people you can find and you go with them.

It would be nice to have dancers who never get hurt, of course, or who never have to struggle with hard steps. Maybe professionals, but professionals who never need to get paid, in order to keep ticket prices as low as they are. And young too. And pretty. And charming and well-read. With good teeth and lots of money.


Reading the seeaplay complaints about the dancing, and seeing the show itself, I am reminded of Veruca Salt in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: "Daddy, I want another pony!"

The dancing is great! Ignore the critics!

I had also heard, prior to the show, that Deborah was great (confirmed). I liked Andrea's energy and style. Scott Woodard was a dream too. The lady who played Miss Dorothy Brown (Julia Mosby) was wonderful too. I was most surprised and pleased by how well Tev Ditter played the comic character, Mr. Trevor Graydon, III. Over the years, Tev has shown he plays the tragic characters well, but there are only so many times you can get hammered on the cross. New vistas now open for Tev....

Left: Final bows. Left to right, (list not complete since I left my program at home) Deborah Hammond, Julia Mosby, T. Patrick Van, Scott Woodard, Andrea St. Clair, Kyle Young, Karen Day, Tevye Ditter, xxx, xxx, xxx.

Left: Musical director and set designer Christopher Cook leads the orchestra, as a group of about twenty of his band students at St. Alban's (and die-hard fans) wail and scream in adoring approval!

Left: Charlotte Hartshorne, Karen Day, and Pam Kay Lourentzos. Karen seemed to channel Sacramento's own Dorothea Puente for the role of Mrs. Meers (but focusing on young girls instead of old men). Pam choreographed the show and due to the original dancer's injury, has been co-starring with K. as the 'Lady in Pearls'.

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