Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women will present “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10-11 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 at Dismas Center for the Performing Arts, 1437 Blossom Road, Rochester.
Based on a book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlon as well as the 1967 film, the musical features new music by Jeanine Tesori and new lyrics by Scanlon.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” will take audience members back to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City when “moderns” were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce and rewriting the rules of love.
Mercy’s production is led by Megan Camacho-Bianchi, artistic director; Elana Gizzi, vocal director/producer; and Amy Marron, instrumental director. Choreography is provided by Pamela Schickler and Brit Shea, of 25 North Dance.
The show stars 40 Mercy students in grades 9-12 as well as performers from Penfield High School and the homeschool community.
Junior Madeline Berl stars as flapper Millie Dillmount. She said she has wanted to play Millie since she was 8 years old.
Penfield junior Reid Burton plays Jimmy Smith, the male romantic lead. He previously acted in Mercy’s production of “The Little Mermaid.”
Senior Isabel Hartzell portrays Miss Dorothy Brown. Hartzell, who starred as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” plans to pursue a career in music theater.
Philip Milligan, a homeschooled senior who performed in six Mercy shows, plays Trevor Graydon.
Junior Julia Leahy is Mrs. Meers, the villainess. Freshman Joy Smith will make her high school stage debut as Muzzy Van Hossmere.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” is a challenging show with demanding dance numbers and vocal moments. The tight harmonies of its jazz score are an aspect of the show the Mercy ensemble enjoys perfecting. The dancers prepared high energy tap numbers, and the crew prepared costume and props for the 1920s setting.
Gizzi said her favorite number is “Forget About the Boy.”
“The song features the cast having a ‘girl power’ moment that is filled with soaring vocal lines that lead into a big tap dance,” Gizzi said. “It makes you feel like a million bucks when you see it, and you can’t help but walk away whistling with a spring in your step.”
Gizzi said the best thing about performing arts at the school is watching 40 young women gain confidence and, ultimately, acquire a better sense of self. For many of Mercy’s students, this is a life changing experience and the reason they continue in the program year after year.
Tickets are available at the door, online and at area Wegmans stores. Visit bit.ly/2xLNERC for information.