Where the bizarre worlds of 1920s Flapper culture and East Asian human trafficking collide, there you will find Agnes Irwin's thoroughly enjoyable production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Adapted from the 1967 George Roy Hill movie with a score by Elmer Bernstein to a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Millie tells the story of an energetic girl from Kansas, Millie Dilmount, as she attempts to break into the New York high life via marriage to her boss, Trevor Graydon. Along the way, she becomes best friends with aspiring actress Miss Dorothy, falls in love with secret millionaire Jimmy Smith, and helps to bust open a white slavery ring run by the evil Mrs. Meers and her Chinese sidekicks.
Agnes Irwin managed to compensate for its relatively small cast size and performing space by creating a delightful staging of a theatre classic, anchored by the believable chemistry between the leads.
Ginna LeVine effectively took on the title role, displaying an accomplished voice and theatrical skill apt to fill the difficult part. The character of Jimmy was played by Connor Ambrose, who showed off his impressive vocal talent as well as his extraordinary acting ability that made his character particularly realistic. He performed with uncommon grace, showing that he had full comprehension of every emotion that Jimmy was experiencing. The two main leads collaborated on the show's highlight song, "I Turned the Corner," where they epitomized convincing onstage romance. Grace McCarty's Dorothy and Matt Spencer's Trevor worked well together to provide the melodramatic episodes of comedy that were sprinkled throughout the show. Kristen Nehls and Kyle Kocher Sperger showed true dedication to their roles as the Chinese assistants to Mrs. Meers by learning complicated strings of actual Mandarin dialogue, both spoken and sung. However, some of the cast seemed hesitant in their perf ormances, which may have been the reason why many of the actors' lines were spoken softly and without sufficient energetic diction.
The musical was staged on a fairly simple set, neither adding nor subtracting much from the performance, and was lit by a somewhat distracting assortment of lighting cues. The sound crew did manage to handle the microphones with negligible errors.
Imperfections aside, Agnes Irwin's Millie came through with a charmingly cute story of how love conquers all, even in the Big Apple.