Thoroughly Modern Millie

Previewed 11 October 2003, opened 21 October 2003, closed 26 June 2004 at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London

Based on the 1967 Oscar winning film, Thoroughly Modern Millie is the story of Millie, a young girl from Kansas who comes to New York in search of a new life for herself in the 'Roaring 20's'. She has a plan - to get a good job as a secretary to a very rich man, and then marry him. Of course nothing quite goes according to plan - the owner of her dingy hotel kidnaps young girls to sell to the Far East, her very rich boss is slow in proposing marriage, and the guy she actually falls in love with is as poor as a church mouse.

The cast features Amanda Holden as 'Millie Dillmount', Maureen Lipman as 'Mrs Meers', with Marti Webb as 'Mrs Meers' at certain performances, and Sheila Ferguson as 'Muzzy' with Craig Urbani as 'Trevor Graydon', Mark McGee as 'Jimmy Smith', Helen Baker as 'Miss Dorothy Brown', Rachel Izen as 'Miss Flannery', Unku as 'Bun Foo' and Yo Santhaveesuk as 'Ching Ho' along with Chris Bailey, Rachel Barrell, Timothy Beaumont, Adam Brooks, Selina Chilton, Vikki Coote, Mike Denman, Hayley Flaherty, Matt Flint, Johnnie Fiori, Nancy Wei George, Christian Gibson, Roberto Giuffrida, Zoe Hardman, Pip Jordan, Gabriella Khan, Mike Scott, Donna Steele, Phong Truong, Tobias Walbom and Jayde Westaby.

Directed by Michael Mayer with choreography by Rob Ashford, sets by David Gallo, costumes by Martin Pakledinaz, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Jon Weston. Musical by Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan, based on the Universal Pictures film, with book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan.

Great show stopping numbers and fabulous dance routines, together with hilarious kidnap sequences makes this a great night out at the theatre. Millie is suitable for all ages. The New York Broadway producion of Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Marquis Theatre won 6 'Tony' Awards including 'Best Musical' for 2002!

Sheila Ferguson's West End credits include the role of 'Analise L'Avender' in Frank Hauser's production of Always the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1997.

Maureen Lipman's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Aunt Eller' in Trevor Nunn's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! at the Lyceum Theatre in 1999; and the title role of 'Joyce Grenfell' in Alan Strachan's production of Re:Joyce, adapted from the works of Joyce Grenfell by Maureen Lipman and James Roose-Evans, at the Fortune Theatre in 1988 and Vaudeville Theatre in 1989 and 1991.

"Amanda Holden's American accent is passable and she sings adequately but her somewhat perfunctory voice hardly filled the auditorium. Her vocal shortcomings were exposed by co-stars Craig Urbany and Three Degrees diva Sheila Ferguson. As friendly older woman Muzzy, Ferguson's fabulous throaty tones stole the evening. And playing Millie's lovelorn boss Trevor Graydon, Urbany was a comical sensation. But the real concern in this production must centre on Holden's Millie. There is nothing wrong with her performance. But there is definitely nothing great about it either. This is a tap dancing spectacular that began life in the 1967 movie starring Julie Andrews - playing the small town Kansas girl Millie Dillmount who arrives in 1920s New York determined to marry a rich man. But she ends up with poverty-stricken Jimmy Smith (Mark McGee), having learnt that true love is far more important than money and the trappings of success." The Daily Mirror

"Amanda Holden is nothing if not game. She kicks the hell out of this staging - tapping, flapping and displaying plenty of leg as the Kansas gal who is desperately trying to be 'modern'. Her eyes are a bit dead but you can't help but mutter 'good on yer' as she bursts her lungs in this musical nonsense. She's up against Maureen Lipman who supplies a generous portion of Chinese ham as the fake-oriental hotelier who sells white orphan girls such as Millie into slavery in the show's chief subplot... However, Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan's dialogue is cheesy and corny without enough sour to alleviate the teeth-itching sweetness. The same goes for the added songs - 11 of them - by Jeanine Tesori, not one of which you ever want to hear again. As for the girlie chorus of shrill, over-milked Twenties' flappers, you'll want to slap the lot of them. In the end, director Michael Mayer doesn't convince you that this re-hashed musical is really necessary. Still, look on the plus side. The two Chinese laundry boys are a laugh and the best thing in the production. The tap-dancing number in the typing pool is terrific and the art deco Manhattan sets and flapper costumes spare no expense. As for Ms Holden, she holds her end up in every sense - and she looks lovely." The Daily Express

"Thoroughly Modern Millie comes into the West End from Broadway garnered with laurels, having scooped six Tony Awards in 2002, including the coveted Best Musical. With its half a million quid's worth of absolutely fabulous frocks, it evokes Manhattan at the height of the Jazz Age, but, sadly, with barely a memorable tune but for the title number. Pity you can't sing the costumes. Amanda Holden makes her West End debut, tapping and flapping with a low-key sweetness into the title role... Her very pretty smile never slips, nor does she blind us, Broadway-style, with teeth and cheesy cheeriness, but she projects little personality and her voice, though competent, lacks any flavour except for something vaguely synthetic... Maureen Lipman, however, really motors in the part of weird Mrs Meers, who runs a hotel for young ladies which is really a front for the white slave trade. 'Just give me the right wig and I can play anything,' she says. And she can, slipping hilariously from a preposterous Chinese accent into rasping New York." The Mail on Sunday

"Broadway never ceases to amaze. Last year Thoroughly Modern Millie, a stage adaptation of the old Julie Andrews movie, won a fistful of awards, including the Tony for Best Musical. Now audiences at the Shaftesbury Theatre can sit back and try to work out why. It's not that the show is without merit. It is amiable enough; in a number of departments it offers undoubted displays of skill. But it completely lacks magic, or whatever ingredient it is that transforms simple nonsense into delicious nonsense... Much the best performances of the evening come from Helen Baker as Millie's goody-goody friend, sporting a big straw hat and Mary Pickford curls, and Craig Urbani as Millie's rugged, clean-cut boss. They both plainly revel in the absurdity of their roles... Also on the credit side, there are some good dance-numbers, attractive costumes by Martin Pakledinaz and agreeable sets by David Gallo." The Sunday Telegraph

Thoroughly Modern Millie in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre previewed from 11 October 2003, opened on 21 October 2003 and closed on 26 June 2004.

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