Open Forum


  • 1.  Millie

    Posted 05-25-2018 08:23
    I'm considering doing the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, and looking for concerns with the production.  Has anyone had good luck with the show?  Being that it's not a well known title beyond a theatre crowd I would love suggestions.  I have an amazing young lady that I know could handle the lead which is why I'm considering it.  Thanks!

  • 2.  RE: Millie

    Posted 05-25-2018 11:45
    Edited by Derek Friederich 05-25-2018 12:01
    I had a colleague try to produce it a few years ago.  The show had been picked and cast, and then admin stepped in and said they had to find a different show.  They were concerned about the portrayal of the Chinese characters and Mrs. Meers.  Even though she had devised a way to handle that aspect of the show in an appropriate manner, they still said no as they wanted to avoid any controversy whatsoever.

    I did see a community theatre production around the same time that had white actors in "yellowface" as Bun Fu and Ching Ho .  It was uncomfortable to watch, though the rest of the show was great.
    Derek Friederich
    Thespian Troupe 417/Speech Coach/Jr. High Drama/Fine Arts Center Technical Director
    Postville IA

  • 3.  RE: Millie

    Posted 05-26-2018 10:43
    We did Millie about ten years ago, and I must say that I don't think we'll ever do it again.  The Mrs. Meers character was defendable: she's a villain and a despicable person, and she gets her comeuppance in the end.  Sadly, I also must admit that we used two Caucasian actors to portray the authentic Chinese characters.  Not a move that I would ever make again.

    The biggest concern that I have with this show now is with the plot line about drugging young women and shipping them off to Southeast Asia as part of a "white slavery" scheme.  I'm not hypersensitive about a lot of things, and can certainly appreciate the ridiculousness of something like this within a certain context.  However, with the world in the state that it is in at the moment, it seems very, very strange to make light of that particular issue.  I suspect that if we were to do it again, it would fall flat and raise a lot of eyebrows.

    Just my two cents.  Good luck navigating these challenging waters.

    Eric McNaughton
    Theatre Director
    Marist School

  • 4.  RE: Millie

    Posted 05-27-2018 13:31
    I have rarely had good luck with Samuel French for either musicals or plays. They have no respect for educational theatre and what working in an educational setting is all about. We used to avoid choosing SF musicals so as not to have to deal with them.

  • 5.  RE: Millie

    Posted 05-29-2018 14:09

    Awesome show.  Great music.  If you've got the Millie that is half the battle.  Just get your tap shoes out and roar with the twenties.


    Break a leg and may all your theatre seats be filled,


    Kelly M. Thomas

    Department of Theatre

    Dr. Ralph H. Poteet High School

    3300 Poteet Drive

    Mesquite, Texas 75150




  • 6.  RE: Millie

    Posted 06-05-2018 06:48
    Do it!  We had great success. is not a well known title. But if you do it right the audiences will come.  Our opening night was about 75% sold out.  Because of word of mouth, the rest of the shows were sold out.  It's fun. The score is incredible. Just get ready to dance!

    Michael Rozell
    Belle Vernon Area High School
    Belle Vernon, PA

  • 7.  RE: Millie

    Posted 06-05-2018 16:38
    There is a lot of information re: character portrayal for Millie via this podcast with the authors and original cast members. It can be found on MTI's website here: Character Portrayal in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

    Hope this helps! It really is such a great show.

    John Brown


  • 8.  RE: Millie

    Posted 02-13-2020 17:07
    For an upcoming article in Teaching Theatre, I'm wondering if anyone has successfully produced Millie in the past couple of years, and if so, would you be willing to speak with me or another writer (or chat via email) about how you navigated the cultural sensitivities with your students and/or community.

    Please email me at if you'd like to comment.


    Anita Martin
    Managing Editor of Publications
    Educational Theatre Association
    Cincinnati, OH