THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE – Now through July 27th at Broadway By The Bay

Celebrate the 43rd Season with Broadway’s Tony Award winning musical

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, produced by, continues until July 27th at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center. BROADWAY BY THE BAY , now in its 43rd season, is the largest theatre organization on the Peninsula. The musical is based on the 1967 comedy film featuring Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore and a rare screen appearance by famed comedienne Beatrice Lillie. Its Broadway adaptation and new songs by Jeanine Tesori make for an upbeat and energetic family show filled with thoroughly modern flappers, thoroughly kissable leading men, and a slew of goodbye-good-goodie-girl dance numbers. Click here to order tickets on-line: THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE.

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THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE – Melissa WolfKlain (as Millie). Photo, Mark Kitaoka.

The story revolves around small-town girl “Millie Dillmount” who arrives in the Big Apple in 1922 to marry for money instead of love. The film version premiered in 1967 and featured three amazing and enduring stars – Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Carol Channing. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. The Broadway adaptation has fifteen songs, including numbers by early Broadway composer Victor Herbert (“Ah! Sweet Mystery of Live” and “I’m Falling In Love With Someone”), standards from the 1920’s, and nine new songs. The show opened at San Diego’s LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE before moving to New York, where it premiered on Broadway April 15, 2002. The show was hugely successful, running 903 performances and winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Actress.

Thoroughly Modern Millie is the story of small-town girl “Millie Dillmount” who arrives in the Big Apple in 1922 to marry for money instead of love. The original film version premiered in 1967 featuring three starlets who remain icons today: Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Carol Channing. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards, and in the early 2000’s was adapted for the stage with updated music and lyrics by Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan. Featuring fifteen songs, including two from the 1967 film, four standards from the 1920’s, and nine new songs, the show opened at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse before moving to New York, where it premiered on Broadway April 15, 2002. The show was hugely successful, running 903 performances and winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Actress.

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WILLIAM GIAMMONA, (as Mr. Graydon), MELISSA WOFLKLAIN (as Millie, left), and HEATHER ORTH (as Miss Flannery, right). Photo, Mark Kitaoka.

Making his directorial debut with Broadway By the Bay is Dennis Lickteig. Musical direction is by Attilio Tribuzi and choreography by Robyn Tribuzi. Melissa WolfKlain – previously seen in Singin’ in the Rain. takes on the title role. As Millie’s pal, “Jimmy Smith”, tenor Ben Jones recently soloed with the SAN FRANCISCO CONCERT CHORALE in a fantastic presentation of Bach’s Mass In B Minor. Familiar to the patrons of Broadway By the Bay in productions of Annie Get Your Gun and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Dominique Bonino plays Millie’s new best friend, “Miss Dorothy”. William Giammona appears as Milie’s wealthy boss “Trevor Graydon”. Mr. Giammona was most recently seen at NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER Thrill Me and in The Lamplighters production of Secret Garden. Mary Gibboney marks her debut with Broadway By the Bay debut in the challenging and hilarious role of “Mrs. Meers”, the faux Asian landlady running a white slave market.

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JEFFREY C. WANG (as Bun Foo), MARY GIBBONEY (as Mrs. Meers), and JOSHUA LAU (as Ching Ho). Photo, Mark Kitaoka.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Brooke Knight, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award-winning BROADWAY BY THE BAY creates full-scale professional musical theatre productions that are family-friendly, accessible to everyone, and affordable to all. Now in its 43rd season, Broadway By the Bay is the largest theatre company on the Peninsula, offering first-rate productions to nearly 6,000 season subscribers and more than 3,000 single show ticket sales per production. The company is praised for their YOUTH THEATRE CONSERVATORY which provides training for kids between the ages of four and seventeen. Their MUSICAL THEATRE CONSERVATORY offers classes to adults of all ages. The San Mateo Performing Arts Center is located at 600 N. Delaware, San Mateo.

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MELISSA WOLFKLAIN (as Millie) looks to BEN JONES (right, as Jimmy Smith). Photo, Mark Kitaoka.

To order tickets on-line: THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
For audition information: AUDITIONS – Broadway By The Bay

Add these recordings to your Theatre Library:
CD – THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. 2002 Original Broadway Cast. In addition to original songs by Jeanine Tesori, the score includes two selections from Victor Herbert’s NAUGHTY MARIETTA: “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life” and “I’m Falling In Love With Someone”.
CD – THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE – 1967 Original Soundtrack featuring the voices of Julie Andrews, Jack Soo, Carol Channing, Ann Dee, and Pat Morita. Songs include Rose Of Washington Square, Poor Butterfly, Baby Face, and Do It Again.
CD – AH! SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE . Anthology of recordings by Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy (1931-1938). Selections include songs by Victor Herbert featured in the 2002 Broadway musical THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE.
VHS – NAUGHTY MARIETTA – 1935 MGM production featuring Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Frank Morgan, and Elsa Lanchester.
DVD – THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE – 1967 film directed by George Roy Hill. Cast includes the immortal Beatrice Lillie along with Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, Jack Soo, and Carol Channing.

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

See Related: FINE ARTS CRITIC SEAN MARTINFIELD

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