Thoroughly Modern Millie | The Taylor Performing Arts Center (Monrovia)

Journey Back to the 1920s!

The concept of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” took root as an Academy Award-winning movie in 1967, which was penned by Richard Morris with Julie Andrews & Mary Tyler Moore as ingénues. It was later revised for the stage, more than ten years back, by Mr. Morris and Dick Scanlan, and there were some additions to the score by Jeanine Tesori. It has been extremely popular on Broadway ever since it made its debut in 2002 with Sutton Foster in the title role, who received numerous accolades including six Tony awards.

The backdrops…
The Taylor Performing Arts Center in Monrovia is all set to host the Paper Mill Playhouse’s new production – “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in July, which has garnered enormous praise on its previous tours. The set design by Michael Schweikardt has been specifically mentioned as resembling art deco style paintings, which heightens the beauty and charisma of the Big Apple. Pastel colors have been used in impressionistic shapes to depict the Manhattan skyline. Since the story is based in the 1920s, the costumes have been fashioned accordingly.

 

A gist of what you can expect!
The lead role of Millie Dillmount is perfectly essayed by Laurie Veldheer, who brings a refreshing honesty to the character. The story picks up from the time when Millie arrives in New York from Salina, Kansas, in search for new adventures and experiences. She checks into the Priscilla Hotel for Women in Manhattan and lands a job at the Secure Trust Insurance. Her boss is the handsome, attractive Trevor Graydon, played by Burke Moses, who values her skills, but doesn’t really consider her to be dating material. There is a hint of a love triangle with Jimmy Smith, portrayed by Jeff Kready, who doesn’t takes jobs seriously and moves on when he is bored. It is not just romance though – the story has its share of drama and crime, with the suspicious hotel owner Mrs. Meers and occupants disappearing without explanations. Millie’s best friend, the orphaned Miss Dorothy Brown might fall prey to Mrs. Meer’s technique of inviting hotel guests who have no family, into her back room for tea – watch to find out the rest.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” shines due to its music, especially the foot tapping title track. Dennis Jones has done an amazing job with the dance moves and the direction by Mark S. Hoebee is just fantastic. Overall, the ensemble performs well – both leads and supporting characters, which is why you should book the tickets right away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirk Arthur’s Wild Illusions Now showing at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas

Illusion or Reality – Can you tell the Difference?

Illusionists have a very difficult job – not only is it nerve-wracking to perform in front of hundreds, but they also need to convince the audience regarding the authenticity of illusions, or else they will be booed off the stage. Magician Dirk Arthur is a renowned illusionist who has been in showbiz for over 2 decades. He has appeared on national television and starred in his own widely acclaimed primetime special “Big Cat Magic” on Animal Planet.

Why is Wild Illusions special?
His show, known as Wild Illusions, at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, consists of some intriguing and unusual cast members – it features grand cats like white, orange and snow-white tigers and African and snow leopards. It also includes a bobcat along with a few birds. Dirk has worked with rabbits, doves, large birds such as emus and ostriches, and exotic cats for a long time, which have helped him to sharpen his skills in this area. People enjoy this show even more as it involves a certain degree of audience participation along with a combination of dance and comic elements.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s a freaking helicopter!

He holds the honor of the infamous “Helicopter Illusion” – Dirk is the first magician to make a helicopter appear out of nowhere. He admits it was (and is) his most challenging trick because conjuring a real, 26-foot-long helicopter out of thin air, on the edge of the stage right next to the audience, is no ordinary feat. It is extremely tough to pull this off as the illusion relies heavily on timing, and a split-second delay can totally spoil the act.

Sharing and caring comes naturally to him…
Dirk is not just an accomplished performer but an avid lover of wildlife. An educational video is screened before every show that covers the subject of preserving wildlife and provides information about endangered species. His goal is to integrate this idea into young minds by working with school kids. All the revenue from merchandise sales at his shows are donated to various animal care and conservation programs, and also used to fund educational programs in schools to create awareness about endangered animals.

To put it in a nutshell, his performance comprises his trademark illusions like escape tricks, levitation of a vehicle, making animals disappear with the aid of sparks and lightening, etc. It is a family-friendly show, so please attend with your kids as they will enjoy it immensely.

Learn more: Dirk Arthur’s Wild Illusions