‘Modern Millie’ starts slow but then hits the high notes at Center | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Modern Millie’ starts slow but then hits the high notes at Center

The musical “Thoroughly Modern Mille,” playing this weekend and next at the Community Center, started off slow on opening night and I feared I was going to have to write my first negative review of a Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company show. But fear not; “Millie” is pure musical pleasure, with Lauren Ashley Durant (who warmed up after the opening scene) a song-belter and sweetheart along with the best of them. Not that she doesn’t have competition; Therse Curatolo has a fine set of pipes as well as abundant looks for her role as Dorothy Brown. And dependable Karen Chandler, who must have a life off-stage but when she finds time for it is a mystery, burlesques as hotel-owner-procuress Mrs. Meers.

That’s not to short change the male side. Domenic Procaccini offers some fine hoofing and singing as Jimmy, Millie’s late-come-to love affair. James McDuffie is a fine stuffed-shirt as Millie’s boss and intended fiancé. Dianne Hale offers fine musical turns as Muzzy and Paul Stufkosky and Tom Fisk as Chinese idiots edge toward parody.

The chorus is colorful and skilled and the costumes are splendid; catch the shoulder braid on Millie’s last-act dazzler sheath.

You may not have heard of “Millie” before, but don’t let that deter you from enjoying another fine outing by director Stephanie Arrigotti and choreographer Gina Kaskie-Davis.

MUSIC

Carson Symphony’s fine “Strings in the Schools” Youth Orchestra joins in an all-day workshop to explore new styles of string playing Saturday at the BAC Performance Hall, 511 W. King St. Guest clinicians Betty Lawrence, Katy Lawrence-Burchett, Jeananne M. Webber and about 30 of their students, all members of the Antioch (California) Strolling Strings, will expose students to strolling violin, jazz improvisation and fiddle music. Catch the results at a free concert at 7 p.m. by the combined groups. Call 883-4154.

Summer is set to begin in North Lake Tahoe Memorial Day Weekend with the North Lake Tahoe region’s first celebration of “Opening Day at the Lake.” The four-day special event begins Friday, May 25 and includes festivities along the West Shore, including deck openings, historical tours, live jazz and a Seaplane Splash-In. See http://www.tahoewestshoreassoc.com.

The Boston Pops is holding POPSearch 07, a talent competition for someone to sing with the Pops on the Fourth of July extravaganza on the Charles River Esplanade – the biggest Independence Day celebration in the nation – about 500,000 people attend and then there’s the television audience. Though they’ve held POPSearch in the past, this year its truly a national competition – folks can post application videos via YouTube (www.youtube.com/group/popsearch07) and when the semi-finalists are selected music lovers everywhere will have a hand in selecting the winner by voting online. The Pops is open to singers of all genres, pop, jazz, opera, rock, you name it.

FROM THE VAULTS

“Touch of Evil” was directed by Orson Welles, who also stars. He’s with Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh in a crime drama taking place along the U.S. and Mexican border. Welles is a corpulent U.S. sheriff and Heston a Mexican police officer due to testify in Mexico City about a drug warlord. The 1958 film got little attention in the U.S. when released after Universal Studios hacked up Welles’ work, which is now reworked to his last memo about the movie. But it was hailed in Europe.

It’s opening is a single three-minute-long shot which follows Heston and Leigh as they walk across the border as well as a couple getting into a car which has just been rigged with a bomb. This alone is worth seeing the movie – it’s a tour de force which the studio ruined by running credits with it.

No need to go into the plot, but Welles is magnificent, Heston wooden, Leigh busty. Others in the cast include Jospeh Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Joanna Moore, Ray Collins and Dennis Weaver. And then there’s Marlene Dietrich, a sultry bar owner who is priceless.

All kinds of other actors are uncredited, appearing as a gesture to Welles. Don’t pass up this one. PG-13, 1 hour 51 minutes.

Contact Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or Sbauman@nevadaappeal.com.




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