Delighting audiences this week in Hartford at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts is the award-winning "Thoroughly Modern Millie," a musical comedy that has one purpose: to entertain. This it does with a cast endowed with seemingly unlimited energy, creative choreography, story twists that slide the show in and out of melodrama, farce, even high camp by suddenly morphing the usual brassy show tunes with the sweet sentimentality of Victor Herbert and the dramatic lyricism of Tchaikovsky.
The show is just plain fun. One is not expected to think. What you see is what you get.
And that's a lot.
The flapper era is evoked, hot jazz and speakeasies, young women theoretically emancipating themselves by bobbing their hair and donning silky chemises. In spite of sophisticated trappings and misunderstandings, love and capitalism triumph.
As Millie, the vivacious Darcie Roberts glows, sparkles, effervesces. She warbles with the heart of a naive girl or belts reality as a young woman becoming wise. She interacts with the full company, dancing, emoting, beguiling. In a routine worthy of Carol Burnett, her long legs become entangled in an office chair; every attempt to free herself creates a new problem. Alone on the stage, with or without props, she owns it.
There's even some ridiculous humor generated by two Chinese brothers (Darren Lee and Andrew Pang). English translations flash on a narrow screen. The constrictions of political correctness are pushed to the edge. The audience howls.
As Muzzy Van Hossmere, Pamela Isaacs almost stops the show when she wraps her powerful, throaty voice around an okay sound and transforms it into a throbbing paean to New York.
The reasons why "Thoroughly Modern Millie" won the 2002 Tony and Drama Desk awards for Best Musical are self- evident. This road company production does the original proud.
W. PALM BEACH
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