Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Mid-week Frolic with Modern Millie

Dust off a forgotten and poorly-timed movie and you can have rousing good time on stage....
Last night I saw "Thoroughly Modern Millie" with my pal Christi, who's a free woman (relieved of parental duties) in New York (at her parents townhouse) for two weeks, and we were both thoroughly entertained by this wry but warm-hearted art-deco blue and purple roaring 20s love story. The public and critics love theater "Millie" much more than its source, the 1967 film comedy, which felt dated and out of place in the Summer Of Love.

That film starred Julie Andrews as the Kansas girl trying to make good in NY, Mary Tyler Moore as a poor orphan, Carol Channing as a singer/socialite/millionairess, and Beatrice Lillie running a white slavery ring disguised as a kindly hotelkeeper. On stage Dixie Carter of "Designing Woman" is venomously hilarious as the slavery entrepreneuse, a faux-dragon lady alternately faking a sweet ridiculous pre-P.C. accent and reverting to the nasty failed American chorus girl-cum-criminal she is. This "Millie" replaces the film's offensive Chinese stereotype henchmen brilliantly with three-dimensional immigrants from Hong Kong whose witty dialogue and musical numbers are presented in Chinese and translated via electronic supra-titles (subtitles above the action). But this is only 1/4 of the plot, which captures the charm and excitement of the 1920s, when, like today, people felt technology racing forward every day, transforming every aspect of their lives. All in all, well worth sleeping only 6 1/2 hours last night. Hope you get to see it sometime. Enjoy these pictures:

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