‘A Funny, Relatable, Foot-Tapping Show’ in Fairfax

Woodson High presents ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie.’

By Bonnie Hobbs

Monday, April 22, 2019

Featuring a cast and crew of 70, Woodson High will present the boisterous musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” It’s the school’s Cappies show and will run two weekends, beginning April 26.

“The characters really come to life,” said Director Terri Hobson. “It’s a funny, relatable, foot-tapping and enjoyable show, reminiscent of classic, American musicals. The audience will see the actors having fun, so they will too – it’s contagious.”

There’s a 20-piece pit band conducted by Woodson alumni Bao Vo, now a teacher, and the music director is Woodson Choral Director Amy Moir. “Things are going great and the cast is amazing,” said Hobson. “We have both experienced and novice dancers, and several learned tap just for this show.”

Set in 1922, the story is about a woman named Millie who moves to New York, aiming to marry a rich man. Portraying her is junior Hannah Black. “She’s independent and strong-willed,” said Black. “She’s also bold, sassy, sarcastic and not afraid to speak her mind.”

At first, said Black, Millie is “emotionally closed-off; but she eventually becomes more open. She came from Salina, Kansas, and plans to find a rich man to marry. So she wants to get a job and marry her boss. I love playing her. It’s a dance-heavy musical, which I love, since I’ve done all types of dances with the Virginia Ballet Co. for the past 12 years. And since Millie’s so outgoing, I can tap into her fiery spirit – and whenever I do, it’s an adventure.”

BLACK’S FAVORITE SONG is “Forget about the Boy,” her solo with the ensemble and a big, tap number. “It has a lot of energy, and Millie gets so angry and full of passion,” she said. “She and the female ensemble are ranting about how they hate men, so they all bond together.”

She said this show has many layers. “It’s full of comedy, but the audience will also get invested in the characters and their lives,” said Black. “And there are lots of plot twists they won’t see coming. We’re also excited about our set, and our cast is just phenomenal – especially Sara Willcox, who plays [evil] Mrs. Meers, who runs The Hotel Priscilla for actresses. Because Sara’s so good, she really makes you enjoy hating her.”

Black also choreographed all 13 of this show’s dances. “It was tough finding time to choreograph, between school, play rehearsals and dance classes,” she said. “But the cast worked really hard and did an amazing job learning all the moves. I love watching the big, ensemble numbers looking so good; and seeing the end product makes me proud of the entire cast.”

Sophomore Dylan Dipasupil plays Bun Foo, one of Meers’s henchmen. Meers takes in actresses without families, but then drugs them and sells them into white slavery in Hong Kong. “Bun Foo is only helping her so he can make money to bring his mother over from Hong Kong,” said Dipasupil. “He’s hardworking and goal-oriented, unlike his brother, who falls in love with one of the girls.”

He said his character is also headstrong, but compassionate. In fact, he said, “In a song Bun Foo and his brother [played by Gin Choi] sing, called ‘Not for the Life of Me,’ we talk about how there can be more to life than what we’re doing. It’s interesting playing someone who did bad things with good intentions, and he eventually stands up to Meers.”