A number of local high school students are going out with a bang by being part of the latest Broadway production. Sam Wagter plays the lead in Thoroughly Modern Millie, David Murphy is Jimmy and Sophie Hicks co-ordinates the show in her role as stage manager. Residents are invited to check out the production next week in the Lord Dorchester secondary school gym.
The romantic comedy is set in 1920s New York. Drama teacher Michelle Murphy explains that it’s about a girl who decides to chase her dream of marrying her boss but finds some surprises along the way. Students had performed some of the numbers from Thoroughly Modern Millie previously during a Back to Broadway show. “They were really fun and engaging, so we thought the entire musical would be a good choice.”
Students started working on the production as soon as school started in September. Sam describes Millie, the character she plays, as a ditz in the sense that she’s going to New York to marry for money. Things go over her head. “She’s really passionate about all she does.” Sam adds that she’s also energetic and excitable. “I love playing Millie. She’s very close to me in the way I like to think. I’m just smarter than her. When I marry someone, it’s not for money, it will be for love.” Sam likes the costumes she gets to wear, some of which have flapper fringe. “They’re super fun.” She enjoys getting transformed in the beginning of the play. It’s taken months of work. “I’ve put so much time and energy into this play. I’m acting and singing.” Sam was part of the cast of the Back to the ‘80s Broadway show last year. The 18-year-old Grade 12 student will be studying art at Western University with the goal of becoming a teacher.
David, a fifth-year student who is also 18, plays the high energy, flirty and brutally honest Jimmy. He says his character is in his early 20s, the same age as Millie. “He’s more about having fun.” When he meets Millie, things change. David says he’s a fun character, with a bit of a flaw. “He’s kind of a jerk.”
He prepared for the role by reading the script and looked up what men were like in the 1920s. David is a veteran of the stage at LDSS. Millie is his seventh show at LDSS. He has joined the cast of every production possible since he was in Grade 9. David is feeling a bit of nervous excitement in anticipation of the show’s run and hopes to see lots of family members, friends and fans in the audience. The 18-year-old is looking to get into film production as a career. Mel Brooks is his favourite movie maker.
Stage manager Sophie Hicks is involved in her third production. “The shows are really fun to work on”, the 18-year-old Grade 12 student says. She’s in charge of making sure the show goes according to plan behind the scenes, which includes taking care of the stage lights, timing and music.
“I’m kind of an organization freak. I like that aspect.” From her work on the school shows, she’s learned how to organize and has improved her leadership skills. Sophie refers to her method as “quietly efficient.” She will be attending university with the goal of becoming a history librarian.
LDSS music teacher James Callowhill taught vocals for the productions. Former student Rachel Wohlgemut will be making a guest appearance on piano. “She’s amazing.” Murphy said
Thoroughly Modern Millie runs Wednesday, May 3 through Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.