2012-02-10 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

A ‘Thoroughly Mindblowing’ Opening Weekend For ‘Millie’!

A Wave Review

Audiences at the Post Theater were transported to the colorful “Jazz Age” of the 1920s in New York City as the Rockaway Theatre Company kicked off its 2012 season with the opening of the Teen Theatre Workshop’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr.” The show is the culmination of the RTC’s five month long Saturday morning Theatre Workshop Program in which students were supervised by director Frank Caiati, musical directors Jodie Timpone and Rich Louis-Pierre and choreographer Michelle Micale. Beginning in September this team of professionals has worked with members of the Teen Theater Workshop, helping them to improve their acting, movement and vocal skills.

This excellent production has certainly proven all the hard work to be worthwhile. As Peggy Page, program director for both RTC Young People’s Theatre Workshops, indicated, “Our teenagers have done an amazing job. They have set the bar very high for the youngsters of the Children’s Workshop who will take to the RTC stage in March for six performances of ‘Beauty and the Beast, Jr.’ I am pleased to say that our theater programs continue to grow each season. This year our registration was so large that we felt compelled to divide the students in half. This is the first season during which we have mounted two separate productions. It has been a lot of work, but we are extremely proud of both groups as are their parents as you can tell by looking at all the smiling faces in the audience.

The title character, Millie, whose incredible vocal skills, stage presence and poise belie her youth, is played by an amazingly talented young lady named Caitlin Byrne. Her poor but handsome love interest, Jimmy, is played by the “velvet throated” Nicholas Tsatsis who started in the RTC workshop when he was a small boy. The wealthy boss, Trevor, on whom Millie originally sets her sights, is played by tall, dark, handsome and equally velvet throated Antonio Oliveri, while the poor little rich girl, Miss Dorothy, is portrayed, with great vivacity by Stephanie Cochrane. Rounding out the principal cast is the villainous Mrs Meers, played to perfection by the hilarious Marina Cregan, whose vocal skills are equally impressive. Well deserved kudos go to the all the members of the cast, each of whom is well deserving of individual mention. However, with a cast of 35+ performers this is simply not possible.

The design of the fabulous New York backdrop is the brainchild of the play’s very creative director, Frank Caiati, and constructed by the always amazing stage tech supervisor, Tony Homsey. While the set alone is worth the price of admission, you won’t want to miss the fabulous Far Eastern and period costumes designed and constructed by RTC costumiers Matt Smilardi and Naomi Seitz. Another extremely impressive element of the show is the phenomenal choreography (teen-aged boys tapping – WOW) courtesy of the lovely RTC dancer/choreographer, Michelle Micale.

This is the story of a small town girl who comes to the big city to make her fortune, or in the case of a thoroughly modern young lady, like Millie, to marry it. Needless to say, the young heroine’s plan is thwarted with various complications such as falling for a poor boy and being ensnared in a white slavery ring. Will she overcome the obstacles she faces or end as a forlorn flapper dancing the Charleston in the sordid speakeasies of southeast Asia? You still have a chance to see this spectacular production and find out. There will be three final performances this weekend. Curtain goes up on Friday and Saturday evening performances at 7 p.m. There will also be a matinee performance on Sunday at 2 p.m. As many audience members agreed, the quality of the production is so amazing and the talent displayed so professional, it is hard to believe that the cast is composed solely of teenaged actors. Make reservations by calling the RTC hotline at 718-374- 6400 or going to the RTC website at www.rockawaytheatrecompany.org. At an admission price of only $10, this is the best theatrical bargain, ever!

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