Thoroughly Modern Millie at Piedmont

Piedmont’s spring musical is Thoroughly Modern Millie, a main stage musical full of choreography. The cast have all been working on tap and 1920’s period style dance.

Last spring Piedmont submitted a small ensemble play for the Blumenthal Art’s High School Blumey contest.  It was their first year participating in the Blumey Awards, which recognizes, rewards and encourages talent and achievement in musical theater among high school students.  When the Piedmont drama team attended their first Blumey Award ceremony, the two lead actors, Josh Carper and Bianca Moten were selected to be in the top 20 performers. They auditioned for the Blumey judges individually for a chance to be in the top 6. The Piedmont students were inspired to think big, especially dance teacher Angie Paul.

Mrs. Paul began envisioning big dance numbers, like she saw at the Blumey Awards. As soon as the school year started students began practicing by working on big numbers such as Mary Poppin’s, “Step in Time.”  Mrs. Paul says, “Millie is full of dancing. It has everything from the Charleston to ballroom to tap. I have loved how excited the kids are about learning something new.”  A mere 12% of secondary schools offer dance according to the US Department of Education reports in “A Snapshot of Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 2009–10.″

Under the guidance of drama teacher, Tiffany Perry and Mrs. Paul, the musical theater program at Piedmont has bloomed. While the cast of Blumey entries can only be 30% middle school, there is no limit on the make-up of the production crew.  The majority of the production team is comprised of middle schoolers.  Middle schoolers are doing the sound, helping with lighting, set and costumes.  The high school drama team has been in the top three plays at the regional NC Theater Conference for the past three years and competed at state two of those years.

“It is exciting to develop strong skills and broad theatre knowledge in our middle schoolers before they even get to high school.”  Currently, one of Mrs. Perry’s high school students, Dylan Medlin makes appearances in her middle school classes to teach topics such as lighting. Mrs. Perry, said, “This show is full of history. The 1920’s creates a fun spirit.  Many topics that were relevant in the 1920’s are surprisingly relevant today.”

Thoroughly Modern Millie, will be offered at 7:30 p.m. in Piedmont Community Charter School’s elementary auditorium April 6th through the 8th.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students.

Modern Millie 1