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PEMCo to present ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie ’

| Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCo) is set to perform “Throughly Modern Millie” starting Thursday and running through Saturday on the Washington Hall Main Stage.

Producer senior Meg Gegick said the energy of the 1920s permeates the entire production.

“Set in 1922 in New York City, a young Millie Dilmount arrives with big dreams of the big Apple …  She arrives to a much less idyllic New York than she expected, and immediately begins to ‘modernize’ herself by changing her looks and her goals,” Gegick said in an email. “It is an exciting, fun, fast-paced show with a great mix of both tap and non-tap dancing. Our entire cast knows how to tap dance. This show actually is funny and energetic.”

Senior Rose Urankar stars in the production as Millie, the tap-dancing heroine. She said she looks forward to performing the show in front of an audience.

“The best part about my role is that I get to enter into Millie’s world for two and a half hours every night, and her world is full of singing, dancing and tapping,” Urankar said. “The show is a musical comedy, so I am eager to hear what the audience will find funny. There’s so much more energy when we have an audience.”

Senior Joel Ostdiek, who portrays Millie’s love interest Jimmy, said he is continually surprised that the entire show is created by students.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to see a group of students doing what they love, and audiences will appreciate the dedication that PEMCo has put into making this a night of joyful entertainment,” Ostdiek said. “It’s a fun show, and it showcases so many different talents. We’ve been rehearsing for months and I still am finding new moments in the show that I find hilarious. The energy of this cast is infectious, and I feel lucky to be a part of it.”

Senior Evie Bauman, a producer of the show alongside Gegick and seniors Jon Olansen and Lesley Stevenson, said she began work on the show with the other producers and the director last spring. (Editor’s note: Stevenson is a copyeditor for The Observer.)

“We began preparing for our main stage show at the end of spring semester last year. We had to hire a director, choose a show, and then gather production team members to choreograph, music direct, design and build the set, design the lighting, do sound, make props, etc.,” Bauman said. “This all took place before auditions happened in November, so it’s been almost a year-long process.”

Olansen will also appear onstage, playing the role of David Crumpler/Mrs. Meers, an experience he described as “interesting.”

“I play Mrs. Meers, the caricature put on by a washed up actor named David Crumpler, who is tired of being beaten out on Broadway by all of his competition,” Olansen said. “This role has been very interesting, as it is the first time I will be performing in drag. It also addresses the stereotypes present in the 1920s regarding Chinese culture. The role presents a man pretending to adapt a new persona as a Chinese woman, but obviously failing in front of the audience, hence the comedy in the role.”

Sophomore Katie Mackin, “Millie’s” director, described her role as the “creative vision” behind the show.

“As director, it is so gratifying to see things that have been only in my head for so long come to life on stage,” Mackin said. “The cast and I have put so much work into this production that seeing it all come together, often in better ways than I could have imagined, is rewarding.”

To couples looking for a way to celebrate this weekend, Mackin said the musical would make an excellent Valentine’s Day date.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie is such a fun show. Who doesn’t love a good tap number,” she said. “We also have the good fortune to be playing on Valentine’s Day weekend, and I think that [“Millie”] would make the perfect date night for couples looking to do something out of the ordinary.”

But aside from its entertainment value, Mackin said the story of Millie Dilmount might resonate with audience more than attendees would anticipate.

“Millie’s story resonates with any college student who has left home to pursue their dreams and found that, while life wasn’t always as shiny as New York City’s skyline, or a certain Golden Dome, it was better than anything they could have planned,” she said.

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About Rachel O'Grady

Rachel O'Grady is a senior Political Science major living in Ryan Hall and is currently serving as an Assistant Managing Editor. Hailing from Chicago (actual Chicago, not the suburbs) she's been a Cubs fan since birth.

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