There's no shortage of talent in 'Millie'

Millie may be a modern, but good old-fashioned tap dancing and comedic character acting carry "Thoroughly Modern Millie," the Omaha Community Playhouse's mainstage season opener that previewed Thursday.

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Jill Anderson stars in "Thoroughly Modern Millie."
Jill Anderson, as irrepressible 1920s flapper Millie, has the fast feet, the vocal chops and the larger-than-life comedic skills to lead with polish and flair as the small-town Kansas girl determined to snag a rich husband in New York City.

And director Carl Beck's cast is deep with talent, from featured roles to bit parts, to back her up.

Kim Jubenville nearly steals the show as malignant Mrs. Meers, who runs a cheap hotel for young ladies. Posing as a Chinese woman in a frightfully funny wig, she's a hoot and a half scheming to kidnap orphan girls and sell them into white slavery.

When she's not busy with chloroform and poison apples, she's heaping abuse on a pair of Chinese laundry men who bundle away the hostages. Diminutive Logan Vimosi and, especially, tall Ben Beck score huge laughs with physical comedy and a running gag in which their Chinese comments are subtitled on an overhead screen.

Tiffany White nearly stopped the show as wealthy socialite Muzzy Van Hossmere, belting out the jazzy crooner "Only in New York" to crown Act 1. She's just as good a comedian, persuading Millie late in Act 2 that when it comes to marriage, love trumps money.

Thoroughly Modern Millie
What: Stage musical  

Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.  

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 14.  

Tickets: $38, adults; $24, students  

Information: 553-0800
The crowd also went crazy for Angela Jenson-Frey as Dorothy, Millie's genteel new friend at the hotel, and Ryan Pivonka as true blue Trevor, who hires Millie as his stenographer. It's love at first sight for Dorothy and Trevor, who break into a hilariously operatic duet a la Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy.

Millie has her husband-hunting sights on Trevor but finds herself falling for Jimmy (Seth Fox, in fine voice as usual), who seems as poor as she is. Their duet on a skyscraper ledge is a highlight.

Just when you wonder if the less-than-standout score has anything to hum on the way home, a dozen secretaries tap and sing their way through "Forget About the Boy," led by Millie and strict office manager Miss Flannery (a delightful turn by Connie Lee).

In between you have color and style to feast on in the form of Georgiann Regan's costumes (flapper outfits, snazzy suits and hats galore) and Jim Othuse's sets, including a beautifully detailed hotel lobby backed by a 1920s New York skyline.

A dapper quartet and all those office girls/flappers almost — almost — had Roxanne Nielsen's fancy choreography nailed at the preview, and Jim Boggess' 12-piece orchestra started things right with a hot overture.

Typical early-run problems with singer-dancers getting together with the musicians on entrances and tempos soon will shake out. Pacing could nip-tuck a bit to keep the show under 2˝ hours, including intermission.

Millie isn't the only thorough one. Check out a scene in which a dozen or so arrested in a speakeasy raid must pose for mug shots, each a comically unique background bit. It's that kind of attention to detail that sparks "Millie," a credit to director Beck and company.

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