'Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr.'

It's 1922, and Millie Dillmount has just arrived in New York City. The young Kansas girl has her heart set on two things: a job and a wealthy husband.

"Millie is a go-getter," says Rebecca Campbell, who is directing Camelot Theatre Conservatory's production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr." "She has a goal and wants it. She's ambitious and has a lot of spunk and tenacity to stand up to whomever gets in her way."

The Tony Award-winning musical, with music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by Dick Scanlan and book written by Richard Morris and Scanlan, premiered on Broadway in 2002. The musical was based on the 1967 film "Thoroughly Modern Millie," featuring Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore.

While the junior version retains the essence of the original full-length production, it has fewer numbers and the subplot is less predominate, says Campbell.

The show will open at 7 p.m. Friday, July 30, and run at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 31, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, at Camelot Theatre in Talent.

The show will then move to the Crater Performing Arts Center in Central Point for performances at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8.

The Camelot Theatre Conservatory production features 30 students ages 7 to 17. The annual summer conservatory is a "toolbox" for young actors, offering students voice, dance and acting lessons, as well as the opportunity to participate in a production, says Campbell.

The production, set in the Roaring '20s, emphasizes Millie's role as a flapper — a modern woman longing to be free from the corset of society. Millie, sporting a shorter-than-the-norm skirt and hairstyle, finds a job as a stenographer for a wealthy bachelor, Mr. Trevor Graydon, for whom she pines. She also makes two new friends, a paperclip salesman named Jimmy and an orphan girl named Dorothy, who is living with her at the Hotel Priscilla for Women.

Amid the drama of the plot is a dirty subplot in which the evil Mrs. Meers, the hotel proprietress, secretly works for a white slavery ring and is kidnapping unsuspecting orphans with the help of Ching Ho and Bun Foo.

"It's a fun upbeat show with a good story line, some kooky characters and lots of comedy," says Campbell.

"Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr." features about 20 songs from the original score, including "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "Forget About the Boy" and "Not for the Life of Me." Campbell says she selected this particular production for its tap-dance numbers and vibrant music from bluesy jazz to upbeat ragtime.

Key players in the Camelot production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr." include Julia Holden-Hunkins, 14, as Millie; Spencer Funk, 15, as Jimmy; Alexa Neinhaus as Dorothy; Max Heine as Mr. Graydon; Shay Astor as Mrs. Meers; Reese Rush as Ching Ho; and Aubrey Campbell as Bun Foo.

Besides directing, Campbell also is the choreographer. Musical direction is by Aaron Blenkush, set design is by Don Zastoupil and costumes by Barbara Rains. Student designers Tatiana Watkins and Lisa-Marie Werfel, under the direction of Camelot designers Bart Grady and Brian O'Connor, helped with lighting, sound and video. Assistant director Renee Hewitt also is the vocal coach, and Laura Derocher, Michael Maissonneuve and Justin Samuel Cowan are acting coaches.

Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for students and children. Reserved seating is available for an additional $2 per ticket. Tickets are available at the Camelot Theatre box office or by calling 541-535-5250. For more information, see www.camelottheatre.org.

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