The Staples Players this month will stage five performances of the musical comedy "Thoroughly Modern Millie" -- a production full of dance, songs and old-fashioned fun set in the Jazz Age.
The show opens Friday, Nov. 15, and will run for two weekends. The cast and crew have dedicated the production to the late Craig Matheson, a Staples Players founder who died in August.
A dedication ceremony in the Staples courtyard will follow the Saturday, Nov. 23, matinee performance. The 5 p.m. ceremony will honor teachers Matheson and Steve Gilbert, the acting troupe's founders.
"Thoroughly Modern Millie," was first produced as a movie in 1967 starring a young Julie Andrews as Millie, with James Fox, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Channing. Revived as a stage musical in 2002, the Broadway show won a Tony Award for best musical and the Drama Desk Award for outstanding musical. It ran for two years on Broadway and continues to be performed in regional theater.
Maddy Rozynek, one of two seniors double-cast in the title role of Millie, said the songs and dancing in the show would charm playgoers.
"I think audiences will love `Thoroughly Modern Millie,' not only for its amazing songs, choreography, set design, and costumes, but also because of the immense amount of energy and enthusiasm every cast member brings to the stage as they perform," she said in a news release.
Senior Will Haskell, the president of Staples Players and cast as Ching Ho, agreed.
"I think audience members are going to love the tap dancing in this show," he said in the release. "So many cast members who had never tapped before have been working very hard, and the group tap numbers look amazing."
Luke Rosenberg is the music and vocal director for the show, and Andrea Metchick is the choreographer. Technical directors are Peter Barbieri Jr. and Dave Selzter. Barbieri also designed the sets for the production, and Priscilla Stampa and Marjorie Watt are the wardrobe directors for the cast of 50 students.
The cast and crew of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" are dedicating the entire season of performances to the memory of Matheson. A sculpture, "All the World's a Stage," will be dedicated in Matheson's memory after the Nov. 23 matinee. Former Staples Player Adam Stolpen (class of 1965) is donating the sculpture, attributed to Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), from Stolpen's private collection.
"Not only was Craig Matheson the founder of Players, but he continued to be a sort of grandfather of sorts to the program," Staples Players Director David Roth said. "The students continued to know him and look forward to speaking to him after shows and he never missed a production. ... He was truly a special man and affected so many young lives. We are happy to be able to pay tribute to him this season."
An opening night gala on Friday, Nov. 15, is planned from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50, available online, and include preferred seating, a pre-show reception and light supper.
For more information and double-cast performance schedules, visit www.staplesplayers.com or call 203-341-1310.
"THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE"
Where: Staples High School, main stage theater.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15; Saturday, Nov.16; Friday, Nov. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 23. Matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23.
Tickets: $15, $10 for students. Available online at www.staplesplayers.com and at the door, if available, 30 minutes before show. Cash or checks only at the door. Senior discounts are available for the Nov. 23 matinee.