Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Lakewood Theatre Company
September 7 - October 21, 2007

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

One word. Horrible. I knew the minute Millie walked on stage that this was going to be a train wreck. And it was. She could not hold that show if her life depended on it. Everything from the sets to the costumes to the acting to the choreography was terrible. What a let down after Ragtime and the fabulous Noises Off! I expected so much more! AND... I will say this. The woman who played Millie was PRE CAST! Come on! Are you serious? If you hadn't precasted this role I am sure you would have found someone much better suited to hold this role! What a shame! And I also want to know why every musical I have seen lately at Lakewood, other than Ragtime, 80% of the cast is in High School! What the hell? Are there not enough adult actors auditioning there? So sad...

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's a pretty intense comment. I'll say this. I COMPLETLEY disagree I think Kelly Stewart was faboulous in the role of Millie! She was the one who held the show together along with Meers (Sara Dresser). If you read in small print in the program, it said that the costumes were rented from a high school in Seattle...I know Lakewood had a lot more potential then what this show had to offer. Including the orchastra who was also very off. In regards to the High School cast it didn't say any of the cast members were in high school. However I think people at Lakewood realize that they have had a bad experience with musicals, and the director...and didn't want to audition at all.

Anonymous said...

Well Stewart's performance was not for lack of trying. She just tried way too hard.

I think the young man playing Trevor Grayden held the show together. His performance was at least honest. And with all that shmacting up there he was a welcome relief to watch.

Anonymous said...

Grayden wasn't schmacting? Uh, Schmello?? It was a vaiant effort, given a cast of young, inexperienced kids and an absent director. Many people close to the industry are well aware of the 'issues' surrounding this particular production. Actrs need to know that a company is committed to prodicung fine work and bringing in fine direction - Lakewood is developing a reputation among performers as a place that isn't willing to truly invest in shows - everything feels like it is being done on the cheap, and many of the directors they use are phoning it in, to say the least.

Still, I think Lakewood has the opportunity to right the ship, but it won't take many more stinkers like this before they lose their already tenuous reputation. They seem to prove time and time again that they can fill houses and impress their financial base, even with mediocre shows - but performers are clearly losing interest - this cast is a case in point - this was a high school show with a few adults thrown in - and that is what it played like.

I agree with the poster who said they CAN do better. They definitely can. Ragtime was phenomenal, and Tamblyn is coming back for Monty - perhaps a good sign. More new directors would be a GOOD THING. It's a spiral, though - they had better get with it before they lose control of the reins. . .

Anonymous said...

Hey, now. Let's not tar everything Lakewood does with the same brush. What you say may be true of the musicals -- I wouldn't know; I haven't been in or seen one -- but that's hardly all there is to Lakewood. There were few if any high schoolers in "Arcadia" or "Noises Off" this year, and the same is true for the cast of "The Curate Shakespeare As You Like It," which will open in mid January. The cast has already been chosen, and will start general rehearsals a full 2-12 months before opening, so I expect good things. And no, I'm not associated with the production -- I auditioned and did not get cast. WAAAAAAAH!!!

Anonymous said...

I think Lakewoods rep. with musicals isn't a friendly one. It's gone down hill since Ragtime with Where's Charley and Oklahoma and now Millie following. This show lacked a director that knew what they were doing, for I have worked with her in the past and I feel like that's one of the major flaws of the production. In regards to the high school kids I agree...for the most part. I think by the looks of it only 4 or 5 were actually in High School, but I'm indifferent to such young kids in a show that is primaraly adults. They stuck out like a sore thumb. However, from the looks of the program a couple of the younger chorus girls have had a lot of experience. So it's not experience that lacked it's just a "what was the director thinking" sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to insult ALL of Lakewood's work (especially shows not yet open?) I should have been clearer that I was, indeed referring primarily to musicals.

The point is, why isn't Lakewood getting the cream of the crop in terms of musical theatre talent in Portland? No offense to the youngsters, who are plenty talented, but when one of the only profitable longstaning musical theatre houses in town can't even cast a well-loved classic musical with seasoned professionals, one must ask the question why?

I agree that there seems to be a downturn recently - "Where's Charlie" is a perfect example - very capable cast in a maybe-not-worth-doing show with questionable direction. That won't attract performers. . . is all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

Man of La Mancha was a musical, and it was superb. The artistic director has ultimate responsibilty for shows and directors, do they not. Let's get it together.

Three blind nonny-mice said...

One reason some actors don't want to work at Lakewood is the fact that they rehearse shows to death (HOW long are they rehearsing Curate Shakespeare???!) They also have very long runs.

Sure, they pay a middling amount - but most of the "cream of the crop" actors could do TWO shows in that amount of time, and probably make equal or more bank.

Why would you rehearse a show for 10 weeks? Why?

Anonymous said...

2.5 months?? Have some faith in your cast! That's pretty obscene... Even if they get a week for Christmas, that's overkill.

Anonymous said...

Lakewood does not rehearse every show for 10 weeks. I have rehearsed 4 weeks for the four shows I have done there in the past years. These include plays and musicals.

And as far as pay goes, it may not work out to as much per show as a two or three week run. But I have had no trouble running a show at Lakewood while rehearsing another.

Anonymous said...

And the cast for Full Monty is tip top. Can't wait.

Anonymous said...

who's in the cast of Monty?

Anonymous said...

> Why would you rehearse a show for 10 weeks? Why?

I'm sure it's not a steady 10 weeks -- there's a holiday break in there. But why? Well, gosh, maybe to have a decent shot at offering the opening night audience a show that is as good as the one folks will see three weeks into the run. I've been in shows that weren't ready for opening weekend, and I'm sure all of you have, too. As a theatergoer, I'm often faced with a choice between going to a show on opening weekend because my friends in the cast need the support with warm, appreciative bodies in the seats, versus going a week or two later when they're apt to be more solid in their roles and more fully engaged with one another. And some shows probably can use more rehearsal than others: having read the script for Curate, which has a lots of fast verbal and physical comedy, I'd say that it may be one of them. Since the director has been acting and directing longer than most of the rest of us, I'd also trust her judgment on the matter.

Kelly Stewart said...

Hello "anonymous." Kelly Stewart here. Yes... the actress who played Millie. I think it's very thoughtless of you to trash someone, especially without putting your name behind it. Care to appologize? The thing that is "so sad" is that you spend your time spouting off unproductive hateful comments.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I thought that the show was amazing. Seriously!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at such hostility towards this show, Kelly, and Lakewood. I've heard mostly very positive things about this show and that Kelly Stewart was fantastic.

God. No, really. said...

Wow. I'm behind Ms. Stewart on this one. While perhaps Willamette Week's use of the term "ramshackle" is a decently accurate description of the production, there is absolutely no reason to tear apart Kelly. She held her part beautifully throughout the show and made Millie someone worth caring about. Constructive criticism is one thing, but what you have going is mindless, hateful blather about anything and everything.

Anonymous said...

Having been in 8 productions at Lakewood, 5 of which were musicals, only 2 of the productions had more than 1 high school student involved (Bye Bye Birdie being the other show besides Millie). 80% huh? One must assume that the only other show seen at Lakewood besides Ragtime (which included 1 high school student and 3 children under 12)would have been Birdie. Also, the most frequent high school youth to grace the Lakewood stage was Bryan Hunt, whose talents have taken him to study at Boston Conservatory. Sorry if your stats discredit you a tad...

Amanda Valley said...

This first posting, dated 10/15, is completely ridiculous. As Kelly's castmate I can tell you that it is SO off base...and I am very critical of shows that I am in. Ask my friends...I am the first to say "save your money" and as far as MILLIE goes...I have told EVERYONE to come and have my family/inlaws flying in to see it! This is a fun, dynamic show and it is due to the talent and leadership of Kelly Stewart. As for "schmacting", perhaps you need to become more familiar with the stylized form that IS the stage musical? Even shows like ASSASSINS or CABARET may require a more naturalistic technique but it is still a heightened reality and a suspension of disbelief. I can't help but think that the person who wrote this post has an ax to grind or is just plain mean. Correct me if I'm wrong...

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's anon 10/16 again...don't know if I'm at liberty to fully comment on the cast list, as I'm not sure if every role is totally cast and set in stone. But I know for sure that the folks I know that have agreed to do it are some of my favorite Portland musical theatre actors. So- that bodes well! Sorry...that was kind of rambly and weird...but you get my drift. (-;

Anonymous said...

I am a huge fan of musicals and I understand that some of them have more of a heightened reality than others. Show like Cabaret and Assassins are indeed more "realistic" (on a certain level) than shows like Thoroughly Modern Millie or Bye Bye Birdie.

But as a performer, your job is to live realistically and honestly within the world of the play. In this production, I felt that most actors were indicating their emotions. Personally, I didn't see a lot of honesty or truth in the scenes from most of the characters.

I agree with Anonymous 10/16 3:51 that the young man playing Trevor Grayden was the MOST believable. He lived within the convention of musical theater the most effectively.

I also agree that the behavior exhibited by Anonymous 10/15 was uncalled for and immature. However, you must be willing to hear criticisms about your work IF you come on followspot and read the thread about your show. Especially if your show is still running! (is Millie still running? I don't know...)

Amanda Valley said...

Yes..agreed.If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen, HOWEVER there is a fine line between public critique and personal attack. Anonymous 10/15 stepped over that line and I am glad to see that you agree with that.I have no problem with people posting their opinions on Followspot. Maybe I don't agree with them but I will fight to the death for you to have them! My intention in posting is to defend a woman who is a wonderful performer, a good person and deserves better than that type of posting.

Anonymous said...

I think that if anything is to be criticized, its the lack of direction for this show. That's really all it comes down to.

Anonymous said...

Is the overall argument not about whether or not the show sucked, but how you go about saying that the show sucked? Or about which parts of the show sucked the worst? Just wanting to be clear here.

Jay Emmingham said...

Hello. I am also in the cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie. There are actually several comments I'd like to comment on. As far as the post above mine. No actor has ever agreed to be criticized... Only critiqued. I can't help but notice the first comment on this page is lacking way too much general knowledge about Lakewood to be a credited critic. 80% of our cast is in high school? By the way no need to capitalize "high school". There are over 20 cast members in this production and only 4 are in high school. As far as the comment regarding "inexperienced younger actors"... There are several "younger" actors in this production. But inexperienced they are not. Did any of you take the time to read the bios? Now as far as the direction of this show. Anyone who has worked with this director in the past knows nothing about this production. We have a dance captain who co-choreographed the entire show and the entire cast has worked together to make this a really great production. As far as the "Many people close to the industry are well aware of the 'issues' surrounding this particular production" comment. If you are not in this cast or production you have no right or need to comment on things you know nothing about. Theatre gossip is just that and writing it down as fact does nothing but discredit you. We've heard from audience members and family members and board members as well as other directors around Portland. And they have all told us this is wonderful show! These people would not lie to us. They are our biggest supporters and heaviest critics! So the next time someone wants to write a blabbering personal vendetta against Kelly Stewart or any other actor in this town and make it personal... Think about who is going to read it. Thanks. And thank you to all the supporters of this production! I know I'm going to miss it when it's gone!!

Kelly Stewart said...

Please! By all means, voice your opinions, whatever they may be. All I am asking is that you use a little consideration and tact, when putting it out there for all to see.

I for one, would choose class over talent any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10/18 - sound like issue is taking potshots @ actors on this page. Totally uncool...mean people suck!

Anonymous said...

I've often wished there was a blog that had a team of moderators who would demand proper critique. Once people (often neophytes) start ranting and hurling thoughtless insults - well, this site gets reduced to the level of E! Entertainment Television or other gossip-based 'arts' news.

True artists who care about their craft don't hurl such insults. They take the time to ask questions, consider, and offer ideas - not attacks - for public consideration. And the best form of critique is the 'question'. WHY did an actor (or designer or writer or director) choose to make the choices he/she did...as opposed to, 'That choice was AWFUL. It SUCKED." A 'question' opens up the opportunity for mulling over, for counter ideas, for revelation of some sort. "It SUCKED" offers nothing at all.

Blogs such as this have the potential to breed laziness, because they allow for people to exercise some frustrated need for power...instead of for critique. Of course there are also some very cool posters here who always seem to want to elevate the dialogue. Keep trying!

That all being said...to the team of Millie I offer, "Ignore this site. Enjoy your run. I'm sure you worked very hard. Keep offering joy to your audiences. THAT is what matters. Break a leg for the rest of the run."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I agree that there seems to be a downturn recently - "Where's Charlie" is a perfect example - very capable cast in a maybe-not-worth-doing show with questionable direction. "
10/16/2007 05:36:00 PM

OK maybe Where's Charley? was not the best show ever written but the "very capable cast" (including the talented Ms Stewart)were cast by a very capable and passionate director who honestly cared about his show and his cast members. Does a director like Millie's make it more difficult to get quality people out to audition for the musicals at Lakewood? Absolutely! That's what Mr Daum had to deal with when casting Charley. As stated Mr Tamblyn is bringing in the Full Monty cast intact from a prior production so there will be no auditions. I'm interested to see what Mr Daum get's at the auditions for Drood.

Anonymous said...

I think Kelly Stewart is an amazing actor! Anon 1 sounds like sour grapes to me!

Anonymous said...

I like diapers

Tony Bohn said...

Having worked with Kelly twice before and having seen her in two additional productions, I can assure you that the original poster of this blog is mistaken. Kelly Stewart is a very talented and amazing performer and she along with the rest of the strong cast help hold this show together. I actually remember seeing a performance of Kelly's in high school that was fabulous which actually got me interested in theater in the first place.

As a cast member of this show I do welcome critiques but this blog was just hateful and the original poster seems to have an ax to grind. I welcome anyone reading this to come to the show and judge for yourself. I think we have come together as a cast and turned out a fairly decent show.

Anonymous said...

The Spring production of The Full Monty does have almost all of the cast members who performed it in the nearly sold out run at the World Trade Center a little over a year ago. The cast will include Susannah Mars, Leif Norby, Pam Mahon, and Jim Caputo, among others. So, it's a sure bet. These are those "top notch" performers we all love to see. But, my understanding is that they were all lined up over a year in advance. That's what it sometimes takes to get really great musical talent -- they're all booked that far ahead. I just can't wait to see "Monty" again, and will probably go more than once... if I can get tickets!

Joe Theissen said...

I second all the kudos for Kelly Stewart - AND for Ron Daum. Let's be sure to evaluate everyone based on their merit, as opposed to lumping entire casts or "all Lakewood directors" . . . As someone who has worked with BOTH of the people listed above, I can tell you that they are incredible artists, who give themselves to their work with head, heart and soul.

The comments about Kelly's performance are as mean-spirited as they are off-base. She glowed in this show, and left everything on stage - that is a joy to see in an industry where so much phoning in and apathy can tend to creep in.

Point well tken about Tamblyn's cast for "Monty" it's a stellar cast, and a bit of an 'asterisk' as far as the "does lakewood still attract good talent" argument, since it is a pre-set cast from another production.

I also can't wait for Drood!

Anonymous said...

While I agree that hostile attacks on a certain actor are unwarranted, i also believe that it is not inappropriate for cast members to comment on a show that they are in.

Anonymous said...

Not inappropriate? Double negative? Did you mean to say that you don't think it is appropriate for people to comment on shows that they are in? Just claifying.

Anonymous said...

could not never? a double negative!!

Anonymous said...

Well . . . hardly never. . . .

Anonymous said...

Yes, sorry I did mean not appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I love how much attention my original post has gotten (I am the first post.) I am sorry if it was rude, or uncalled for, but it is how I see it. I am tired of paying $28 to see something I can pay $8 and see at a high school. Sorry.. its just how I see it.

Anonymous said...

Why do you all sit at the computer and argue all day? Do you just want to get attention by criticizing a truly amazing and
entertaining show, which causes people to argue because they are trying to save the integrity of the show. I honestly think it is very rude to purposly try to hurt the cast members reading followspot.

If you are reading this, Kelly, I would like to say how amazing you were as Millie. Don't listen to these people, YOU'RE A FANTASTIC ACTOR!!!

It's okay to constuctively criticize a few things about a show... But to totally make fun of an actor who is actually AMAZING... is so horrible, I can't describe it.

And don't do this again, okay?

I didn't know adults acted this childish. And I know about acting childish, because I'm a kid and almost everyone at my elementary school is more mature than this.

Why don't you tell us what you like about about some of the wonderful shows in Portland! You criticize almost every show posted on followspot.

I think you just don't like shows that you are not in!

Good job cast of "Millie!!"

Anonymous said...

Wow. Since when did kids get on here?!? Makes me frustrated--now we really gotta watch what we say.

Though, the kid MIGHT have a point. Some of us are kind of critical of shows we aren't in. But that's the nature of theater, ain't it. Kid, the point of this blog IS to criticize shows, give opinions of them, and people on here don't necessarily see it fit to be "nice" and feed egos, if they really don't think a show was good. I, personally, thought the effort of this show was mentionable, but the actual quality was not something I was impressed or pleased with. This is simply my OPINION, and you can get yourself all up in a hissy-fit that I'm so "mean" or whatever. On the contrary. I am contributing to the different opinions that are SUPPOSED to be expressed on here. Just so ya know, kiddo.