Director: Peggy Trecker White
Lead actors: Whitaker Gannon, Jack Dextraze, Kate Herman, Ava Nixon, Blair Bennett and Grayson Lentz
The plot: Set in New York City in 1922, "Thoroughly Modern Millie" tells the story of young Millie Dillmount from Kansas who comes to New York in search of a new life for herself. Her grand plan is to find a job as a secretary for a wealthy man and then marry him. However, her plan goes completely awry. The owner of her dingy hotel kidnaps young girls to sell to the Far East; her wealthy boss is slow in proposing marriage; and the man she actually falls in love with doesn't have a dime to his name -- or so he tells her. Filled with frisky flappers, dashing leading men and a dragon-lady of a villainess audiences will love to hate, "Millie" is a full of madcap merriment -- from explosive tap numbers to a Fred and Ginger routine on a window ledge.
The story behind the show: "We are blessed to have a number of extremely talented dancers at Prep, including Whitaker Gannon," Trecker White said. "Whitaker has been in a number of shows at the Arts Center (of Coastal Carolina), the most recent being '42nd Street.' It turns out this is a perfect piece to show off her talents, as well as those of some of our great comediennes, Ava Nixon, Julia Gigante and Allie Santorum and ingenues, Kate Herman and Shannon Hegerty. Shannon and Julia, as well Hayden Garniewicz, one of our featured dancers, are freshmen. Knowing we have them in line to take over the reins is really exciting. I love the message behind this show and think it applies to our students in a meaningful way. That is, take risks, hold fast to your dreams, work hard, have fun and enjoy life."
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Director's take: "I think everyone should come to see our production of 'Millie' for the fantastic choreography, created by Patti Maurer, and beautiful heartfelt melodies," Trecker White said. "There is a mixture of madcap comedy, whodunnit action and multiple love stories. What's better than that?"
Behind the scenes: "One my favorite parts of rehearsal is watching the growth of the actors. It gives me great satisfaction to watch them get cast, overcome their insecurities, take risks and thrive," Trecker White said. "Blair Bennett is doing just that. Blair came to our school a couple of years ago seemingly very shy. She actually said in my musical theater class a couple of weeks ago, 'If you had asked me to get up and sing a song by myself in front of everyone, I would have told you, "No way." ' But today she is portraying one of the most entertaining cabaret singers of the day, and her voice soars across the stage. She is learning to deal with nerves and figuring out breath support all while maneuvering down a 14 foot staircase, and she's grown so much.
"The same holds true for Jack Dextraze. Jack is a fantastic actor and a really sweet kid. And while I think he'd rather play the villain or comedic sidekick, I've asked him instead to take on the romantic lead. Though he often shakes his head at me, he gets up there and commits. Pushing these kids outside their comfort zones and seeing them fly is one of the great gifts of educational theater."
Run dates: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 and 2 p.m. Nov. 9
Location: Hilton Head Island High School Seahawk Cultural Center, 70 Wilborn Road, Hilton Head Island
Ticket prices: $20 for adults; $15 for 60 and older; and $10 for students
Contact for tickets: www.hhprep.org or 843-715-8510