A desperate woman's full-proof plan to sponge off a rich bachelor might not be as invincible as she thinks in the musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie," presented by Appoquinimink High School next Thursday through Saturday.
The year is 1922 in New York at the Priscilla Hotel for Single Young Ladies. Millie Dillmount, a downhome-girl from Kansas, is trading in her slow way of life for a fast-paced scheme: she aims to get a job as a stenographer for the Sincere Trust Insurance Company and marry the company's prosperous boss, Trevor Graydon, to ensure a comfy future for herself. Make no bones about it, Dillmount isn't striving to marry for love; it's strictly about the dollar-dollar bills. But little does she know her charm won't be an easy sale to Mr. Moneybags.
"She's completely the opposite of me. She's very bossy," said senior Darby McLaughlin, 17, cast as Dillmount. "I'm kind of dorky in a way and I'm just really happy all the time. But [Dillmount] goes through this windmill of emotions."
Though audiences will get a kick out of seeing Dillmount's relentless attempts to bag Graydon, McLaughlin said the real star of the show is the ensemble's stylish footwork. "The show stands out because, first of all, there's tap dancing, which is crazy in its own sense," she said. "But you can also tell the cast has blended well, and the casting is great. The show is a must-see because it's high energy."
The senior got a little emotional when asked how she feels about performing in her final Appo High production, which is the show's finale next Saturday. "It's scary to think this is my last one, especially with all the friends I made here," McLaughlin said with a lump in her throat. "It's going to be a rough last show."
Meet the new technical director
The person in charge of the musical's set design, creation of the lead's costumes and stage lighting is senior Casey Schweiger. Prior to "Thoroughly Modern Millie," Schweiger served as the drama department's stage manager – a role she held since freshman year.
This show marks her new role as technical director, a position rarely granted to students at Appo High, Schweiger said. However, director Nicole Fox recognized Schweiger would be a hand-in-glove fit after the position became vacant.
"This is what I want to do and it's what I'm going to college for: theater design and management," beamed Schweiger, 18, who's considering Washington College or Wagner College. She added her long-term goal is to work for a "Broadway-ish" theater company or in film: designing sets and costuming.
What Schweiger likes about selecting costumes for the leads in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" is she knows the performers like the back of her hand, since she has classes with most of them. This makes it easier for her to decide on the perfect costumes that'll complement each performer's personality, skin tone and such.
Page 2 of 2 - "I have the advantage, I guess, over people who do this professionally," Schweiger said. "I know the actors [in the show] well enough that I know their personalities, as well as how their personalities will translate into their characters." For instance, she said, "Millie is traditionally [dressed] in warm colors for her costumes, so I wanted to stay with red, especially with Darby because red looks wonderful on her."
IF YOU GO
WHAT 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' musical
WHEN 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21; 7 p.m. Friday, March 22; 7 p.m. Saturday, March 23
WHERE Appoquinimink High School, 1080 Bunker Hill Road, Middletown
INFO appohigh.org or 449-3840