When I set my goal to support theater in 2021 I knew I wanted to dig deeper than the big name playhouses like the Hale theaters (as much as I love them). I want to find small theaters, youth productions, anything that looks interesting and unique and support it. This is why I got a ticket to the Alpine Community Youth Theater’s production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. This is a production done by teenagers of the Kids in the ACT Youth Theater program and was held at the outdoor American Fork Amphitheater in obviously American Fork.
I love attending outdoor concerts and theater especially now when we don’t have to wear masks outside, which is liberating. This theater looks like an old greco-roman stone theater but it has all the modern lighting and sound that you need to mount a show. However, we were very lucky that we didn’t get rained out because it looked questionable the whole night. If it had rained we would have been out of luck because the sound equipment is too expensive to go forward with rain. I was so glad the teens could show off their hard.
I saw the Emerald cast (they double cast the show) and the amount of work that went into this production was truly incredible. Not only do you have a large teen cast but the attention to detail in the costuming, sets and props was outstanding. I was also very impressed with the choreography throughout the show. It is not easy to get that many teens dancing those routines and they should all be very proud of themselves.
All the leads were excellent especially Haven Tanner as Millie and Bella Thomas as Muzzy. They have the best songs in the show by far and did them extremely well. ‘Gimmie Gimmie’ and ‘Not for the Life of Me’ are the standouts from Millie and ‘Only in New York’ is my favorite from Muzzy. And although I am not a fan of the weird human trafficking subplot in this show the young men playing Ching Ho and Bun Foo did a great job singing full songs in Mandarin. That would not be easy.
The casting does have white students playing Chinese characters but at least they acknowledge this as problematic in the program along with a whole section about the reality of human trafficking. I don’t know how you get around this plotline because it is integral to the story and not just a side plot you could cut out.
As is always the case with youth theater there were some problems with the microphones and sound. Mrs Meers was especially difficult to understand but I didn’t like her character so didn’t really care much. There were times the sound pinged and you couldn’t hear the actors at all but only moments and like I said this is always the case with youth theater (at least every one I’ve ever been to). So no big deal.
I would definitely go to see another show by the Alpine Community Theater. It was a lot of fun and brought back many memories of doing plays with my high school theater and choral departments. What a tremendous thrill to complete a show together and perform with friends. It was great. These teens are wildly talented and like I said I give huge props to all the people behind the scenes would made it happen especially the costumes and choreography. Well done!
7 out of 10 (mostly points docked for the weirdness of the show more than the production by the teens)