Dalton School to Stage Revised THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE After Community Complaints
The New York Times reports that Manhattan private school Dalton Middle School announced today that it would be moving forward with a previously cancelled production of the musical THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE with a new, revised version approved by the show's creators.
The musical was originally canceled due to "concerns about the show's use of Asian stereotypes and a subplot involving a white slavery ring in China". The original plan had been to replace 'MILLIE' with a revue of the songs. But now the revised version will "drop references to Asia, change the names of two Chinese characters, and describe incidents of human trafficking as simple kidnappings."
Lyricist and co-book writer for 'MILLIE' Dick Scanlan told the Times: "I have given my blessing because, while I understand angry parents, for me heartbroken kids trump angry parents. The narrative basically remains the same, and Asian girls would play the two roles that were Chinese in the original, though the characters would have common names. What is missing is a deliberate political choice that Michael Mayer, Jeanine [Tesori] and I made years ago to portray Asian stereotypes and then challenge them in order to bust them."
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE features music by Tesori, lyrics by Scanlan and book by Richard Morris and Scanlan. It is based on the 1967 film and follows a a small-town girl, Millie Dillmount, who travels to New York City with the aim of marrying for money instead of love -- a modern idea for 1922. She is forced to face much larger issues, however, after she checks into a hotel owned by the leader of a white slavery ring in China. The show opened on Broadway in 2002 and won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical.