by Leslie Donna Flesner
When I was asked to participate in the reunion concert of Thoroughly Modern Millie without hesitation I instantly said yes, for so many reasons!
First of all, it was the first score that I can remember being completely obsessed with. I drove my parents insane, listening to it incessantly and attempting to mimic Sutton’s flawless voice. She truly has my favorite musical theater voice of all time. Sutton paired with Gavin Creel is a duo that truly cannot be beat. Just pure Broadway magic.
Secondly, let’s talk about the dancing. The production numbers in this show may be my favorite of Rob Ashford’s work, which says a lot considering his enormously long list of hit Broadway shows. The original ensemble featured some of my favorite dancers who I aspired to be like including Megan Sikora, the gorgeous JoAnn Hunter (who has been restaging the opening number for the benefit), Joyce Chittick, Jessica Grove’, Casey Nicholaw (and Hello, Dolly!’s own Kate Baldwin!!!!) and many many others.
Tackling the Tony-winning choreography this week has been such a treat and a real challenge! Rob’s attention to detail, story telling, thoughtfulness and impeccable style put the choreography into a category of its own. JoAnn Hunter and Chris Bailey have preserved it beautifully and still remember every detail of what the steps were and why we were doing it. We learned both the opening number and The Speed Test in about six hours. It’s really difficult choreography! Getting to be a teeny teeny tiny part of this legacy by learning these numbers means so much to me.
I cannot wait to celebrate this original company and this incredible show that forever changed me as a young girl in high school. I think my younger self would be blown away to know that one day she would be a part of this special reunion!