BWW Review: THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE Makes Magic at Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Nothing less than perfection is expected when theatres like the Maltz Jupiter Theatre and Paper Mill Playhouse team up with the business's best designers and performers to present a large-scale musical. The Maltz enjoys unprecedented season subscriptions and has established itself as the leading professional regional theatre in South Florida for a reason. Their latest production, of course, is no exception. Thoroughly Modern Millie, a classic piece of musical theatre in its own right, brings a prohibition-era energy and crispness to the lively set while keeping focus on a simple story of a small-town girl.
Whether you go to the theatre for the love of music, dance, story or spectacle, it was all there in perfect harmony on opening night March 7th in Jupiter. The shining star in this adaptation proved to be Denis Jones's choreography. While nodding at the original Rob Ashford staging, Jones creates his own quirky and comedic phrases that work perfectly with each character's personalities. Director Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill's Producing Artistic Director, and Jones staged a whirl of a tap number for 'The Speed Test' in the office and, in seemingly direct contrast, a brilliantly tipsy 'Nutty Cracker Suite' when the girls let loose at the speakeasy.
The cohesively strong dance ensemble is led by standouts and true Broadway vets Burke Moses as Trevor Graydon and Brenda Braxton as Muzzy Van Hossmere. Moses brings a lighthearted comedy which softens the businessman and Braxton's strength in both song and dance certainly cannot be matched. Laurie Veldheer is a charming spitfire in the title role, Jeff Kready hits all the right notes in his suave portrayal of Jimmy Smith, and hilarity always ensues when Lenora Nemetz, playing Mrs. Meers, is onstage. Against a fun pop art backdrop of 1920s New York by scenic designer Michael Schweikardt, Gail Baldoni's flapper costumes shimmer perfectly. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie will give any musical theatre lover exactly what they are looking for.
From left to right: Carleigh Bettiol, Amy Van Norstrand, Leslie Donna Flesner, Kelly Skidmore and Colleen Broome in Thoroughly Modern Millie, onstage through March 24 at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Alicia Donelan.