This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Love conquers all for Thoroughly Modern Millie

Tonight (Friday) is the second and last performance of Thoroughly Modern Millie by the Fendig Summer Children's Theater at the High School Auditorium. The Children's Summer Theater has been putting on plays for 33 years. During some of those years, my kids participated, learning that they had limited theatrical ability. As the pictures of the kids in the hallway showed, there are a lot of roles for the crowd scenes.
Though it was not a full-house on Thursday night, the audience was large.
There are always more girls than boys in the summer play.
The scenery and costuming were really well done. I think the highest grade any of the children are in is eighth grade, and considering that Rensselaer is not that large, the Summer Theater puts on a impressive performance.
The story, set in the Roaring 20s, follows Millie from Kansas who has come to New York to marry a rich man. She plans to do this by finding a job with a boss who is single. The desks in the office scenes (above and below) had wheels, which made for some interesting choreography.
One little hitch on Thursday was that Millie could not find her number for the mug shot when she was arrested at the speakeasy. She played through it very well.

Millie's plans, of course, do not work out as she expects them to. Below she is falling in love with a man whom she thinks is poor.
There are a couple of subplots, one a second love story and the other with a villain using her position running a hotel catering to girls newly arrived in New York to sell girls without relatives into white slavery. (In this children's production that means working in a factory in Hong Kong.) Millie, the heroine, and Mrs. Mears, the villainess, are identical twin sisters, and both did a great job, as did reMark's daughter in the secondary love-story plot line. (There were some other excellent performances, but I do not know if their parents ever read this blog so I do not have to mention them.) The Pott's girls will also be in the Carnegie Players production of South Pacific in two weeks.

Since the story is not real life, you can be sure that everything works out pretty well in the end. The evil Mrs. Mears is brought to justice and love conquers all.

You will enjoy it even if you do not know the kids who are in it, and if you do know the kids, you will enjoy it even more.

(One of the things you will notice if you go is that the ceilings in the high school are ripped up and under construction.)


30-year-refugee said...

I was in two of the children's summer theater productions. I think the first one was The Hobbit, although I can't swear to it...I remember very little about my first one. The second one I remember more vividly, it was The King and I. I was one of the children. I had a line in the play: "What is that green up there?" And the teacher responds "That is Norway." I don't remember much about the story any more. I did see a high school production of it a few years after I moved to Minnesota, but it has been more than 25 years since then, and naturally the details of the play are a bit fuzzy. I wish I would have gotten involved in high school theater.

Ed said...

Hey, I had excellent theatrical talent! Wait, no, no I didn't. Fendig was a lot of fun though.

flatbow said...

I had a few [botched] lines in my time with summer theater. The good thing about always being an extra is that while the real thespians were hard at practicing their lines and lyrics, you got to fool around!

I remember I came back to contribute later on when I played in the pit band for a couple of plays. Well, now that I think of it, I'm not sure if those plays were summer theater plays or Carnegie Players plays.

Desert Survivor said...

One thing I've come to appreciate over the years and seeing many other schools is what a nice auditorium RCHS has.

Dessert Survivor said...

I remember The Hobbit--it was the first production I saw and it was awful. They rewrote the script to take out all the violence, and without the violence, the story made no sense. That was back in the days when Pat Collins was in charge. The children's summer theater emerged out of Saint Augustine's school, as did the summer swim team. I suspect few people realize that anymore.

30-year-refugee said...

yes, mr. pat as we called him at St. A's, was the director. i don't know how or why this happened, but when i was in 1st and 2nd grade, the 2nd and 3rd grades at St. A's were combined. each classroom had half 2nd graders and half 3rd graders, and we had times where we moved back and forth between the 2 classrooms. mr. pat was a third teacher for those two classrooms. after i finished second grade that ended for whatever reason, and mr. pat wasn't around any more. so my whole 3rd grade class was together for my final year at St. A's.

mr. pat had a director's chair with his name on it, as i recall, and he had this ritual where he wouldn't sit down in it at the end of the night unless we had a better performance than the previous one. i remember him always sitting down in the chair, and we'd all clap and cheer when he did.

Sheila said...

Thanks to all for the memories! I, too, participated in many of the Summer Theater plays. I was in the hobbit (I don't remember what I was, but I wore pink tights and had a cut out plastic milk jug on my head as a helmut...I think I carried a "sword", too). My sister played Gollum... I was also stage crew a couple of years. Much fun! I wish I could have seen this year's play!

30-year-refugee said...

that's one thing i remember about the hobbit, a lot of the youngsters in the play were parts of large groups of characters, and the costumes were highly colorful for each group. my costume must have been some sort of green, although i still can't recall...and i cannot remember a thing about my character/group in that play.