Ever met Millie? The Millie from “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” the Broadway musical? Now’s your chance.
The Ballard High School fall musical will be presenting the story about Millie, a small town girl from Kansas who decides to go to New York City. The musical was named the best musical at the 2002 Tony Awards.
Not wanting to spoil the production for those who decide to attend, let me introduce you to the Ballard students who will singing and dancing for your enjoyment.
Meet Madelyn Connell, a senior at Ballard High School. Madelyn plays the part of Millie.
“At first I thought — it will be easy to play the character of Millie,” said Connell. “I realized how excited she is as a person and I figured that I was up to the challenge. I had to adapt to being the part of Millie as she was always ready for the next thing that came her way. Now I can see myself as Millie and I am loving the part. I did have to relearn how to tap dance and there is just so much going on in my part as Millie. We, in the production, are not just here to read lines, I have developed real feelings about my part. I hope that everyone seeing it enjoys it as much as we are putting it all together.”
Acting the part of Jimmy Smith is sophomore Ryan Carlin. Jimmy apparently is considered the main love interest in the musical, or a playboy, as Carlin explains it.
“Jimmy is pretty much a cocky fashion guy in the musical,” tells Carlin. “I really enjoy the part and will be singing a solo. As Jimmy, I am not wanting to be in love with the main character, I want to remain single my entire life and enjoy it. I hope the audience enjoys; it appears to be coming off really good.”
Senior Evan Heggen, who plays the part of Ching Ho, was born in China, and brought to the United States in the white slavery ring. He is working in a laundry in a hotel in hopes of bringing his mother to the United States.
“I fall in love with another character in the musical,” Said Heggen. “I am enjoying the part, but it’s been a difficult part to learn. Ching Ho doesn’t speak English, so I had to learn how to speak Mandarin, and not just speak it, but sing it too. I was introduced to a new language and learned how to speak it. I hope that the audience enjoys it, it’s really a fun musical.”
Junior Emma Clinton plays Miss Dorothy.
“It’s a part where there are several others in the cast that are all related,” she explained. “We are out on our own in New York City, with people who are after us, and we see the poor side of the city. But I meet Millie and we become best friends. Lots of romance takes place and eventually the audience will love the ending. I hope that our audience has fun watching it and will go away thinking it was a very impressive production and realize all the hard work we put into it.”
Sophomore Zach Harvey is the business connection playing the insurance man Trevor Graydon.
“Graydon is the head of an insurance company, he’s the businessman,” tells Harvey. “His part is super fun to play. He is robust and loud and thinks that Millie is the best thing he has ever seen. I think that I am suited well for this part; it’s very different and I love the role I play. I believe that the audience will feel that it is something worth seeing and that they enjoy it. We have put in so much work; I really want as many people to see it that can.”
Another Ballard sophomore, Aubrey Schafbuch, plays the part of Flannery.
“Flannery is a very mean secretary,” commented Schafbuch. “But it’s my favorite part of the musical. I had to learn how to do a nasal voice, and she really is very light-hearted. I feel that this is a good part for me, I, too, am open and a funny person, much like she is. I hope that our audience has as much fun watching this as we did making it.”
Emma Welter, a junior, plays the part of Muzzy Van Hossenere.
“Muzzy is this famous night club singer,” explains Welter. “I get to sing and dance playing her. She is a good person and kind of like a mother to everyone, a very caring person. I think that I fit the part pretty well. She is older than I am and at first it went over my head, but now I think that I fit it well. I hope that the audience can tell that we put a lot of hard work and dedication into the musical. This has been the first musical that I have ever been in and it’s the best thing I have done. I love it; it’s a large production.”
Nicholas Palmer plays Bun Foo, who is the brother of Ching Ho.
“I also work at the hotel,” he tells. “The reason that I am working for Mrs. Meers is strictly in hopes of seeing my mother, who lives in China. I think that I fit well into this part. There are many comic moments and it has been a lot of fun and stressful, as I had to learn two different languages. I think that the audience will look at the production and see all the work we have put into it.”
Senior Ashley Wargo plays the part of Mrs. Meers.
“She is kind of the villain in this musical,” she explains. “She is two characters in one person. She pretends to be Asian, but is a two-faced person. It was a lot of work to play the part of someone who is two-faced, because I am not that way. I had to learn an Asian accent. But it was a blast pretending to be someone that you are not. I want the audience to see the humor behind it all.”
Teresa Hannach is a senior tech crew member.
“My job is pretty much to make sure everything runs smoothly and to not be seen,” Hannach tells. “I like being behind the scenes. This musical was a lot of fun, with lots going on in the wings and back stage. It’s also a lot of work and a very unique experience and made all of us a community of close people.”
Now that you have a taste of what it’s all about and who is playing the leads, pick a performance and take in Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Ballard High School Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 10 or Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. or on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m. Tickets are available to purchase at the door.