Staples Players Tap Into “Thoroughly Modern Millie”

Last year, Staples Players wowed audiences with fantastic choreography in “A Chorus Line.” The year before, the Jets and Sharks danced their way through Players’ “West Side Story.”

This fall’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” takes dance to a new level: tap.

The show is unique. Set in the Roaring Twenties, it’s based on a 1967 movie. Opening on Broadway in 2002, “Millie” won 6 Tonys — including Best Musical.

Amanda Horowitz as Millie Dillmount. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Amanda Horowitz as Millie Dillmount. (Photo/Kerry Long)

“It’s the best of both worlds,” says director David Roth. “It’s got crazy, madcap ’20s and ’60s sensibilities, but it’s a modern musical. It’s not dated at all. It’s very contemporary and accessible to modern audiences. And it’s a great show for families.”

It’s also very funny. And the huge amount of tap dancing is a first for former Players actor — now director — Roth.

He hired Abigail Root — a young dance teacher — to join regular choreographer Andrea Metchick.

“It’s been exciting to watch boys and girls learn tap,” Roth says. “That’s a very different style of dance. It’s like playing a percussion instrument — there are lots of different rhythms. But they love it.”

“Millie” also includes plenty of Charleston and flapper dances.

And it’s a huge costume show. Roth estimates at least 200 are displayed throughout the show.

Nick Ribolla as Jimmy  Smith, surrounded by the ladies of the Hotel Priscilla. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Nick Ribolla as Jimmy Smith, surrounded by the ladies of the Hotel Priscilla. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Audiences will see several new faces in leading roles. Ryder Chasin, Nick Ribolla and Jack Baylis are among the first-time stars. The 2 Millies — Amanda Horowitz and Maddy Rozynek — are more familiar to Players fans.

“A Chorus Line” and “West Side Story” showcased Players’ dance talents to thousands of Westporters. “Thoroughly Modern Millie” will tap that choreographic mother lode once again.

(“Thoroughly Modern Millie” opens Friday, November 15. Performances follow on November 16, 22 and 23 — all at 7:30 p.m. — with 2 p.m. matinees on Sunday, November 17 and Saturday, November 23. For ticket information, click here.)
Cara McNiff as Muzzy Van Hossmere. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Cara McNiff as Muzzy Van Hossmere. (Photo/Kerry Long)

One response to “Staples Players Tap Into “Thoroughly Modern Millie”

  1. For Current Staples Players, Past Players and their friends: David Roth writes:


    Please join us at 5:00 PM on Saturday, Nov. 23 (immediately following the matinee) in the theatre courtyard for a special ceremony to honor the dearly loved and departed Co-Founders of Staples Players,
    Mr. Craig Matheson and Mr. Steve Gilbert.

    This ceremony will serve to pay respect to and recognize these two special men and to formally dedicate and install in the SHS courtyard a gift of art in their honor, donated by a former Staples Player/SHS graduate and Westport resident.

    Cake and punch will follow this brief ceremony.