Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan
Richard Morris’ Original Story and Screenplay
Original Broadway Production
Marquis Theatre - Opened 18 Apr 2002, closed 20 Jun 2004, 903 performances
Cast: Sutton Foster (Millie), Marc Kudisch (Trevor), Angela Christian (Miss Dorothy), Gavin Creel (Jimmy), Harriet Sansom Harris (Mrs. Meers), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Muzzy Van Hossmere), Ken Leung (Ching Ho), Francis Jue (Bun Foo), Anne L. Nathan (Miss Flannery).
Original London Production
Shaftesbury Theatre - Opened 21 Oct 2003, closed 26 Jun 2004
Cast: Amanda Holden (who missed many performances) and Donna Steele (Millie), Maureen Lipman / Marti Webb / Anita Dobson (Mrs. Meers), Sheila Ferguson (Muzzy Van Hossmere).
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Millie Dillmount arrives in 1922 New York City from a little town in rural Kansas. She hated her humdrum life back home and, deciding she’ll have it all in New York, rips up her return ticket. She adopts a new look in the flapper style that’s all the rage and resolves to be a “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” However, minutes after her makeover, she is mugged on the street. In the ensuing chaos, she accidentally trips Jimmy Smith, who tells her she should just go home because there are all ready plenty of girls in New York who haven’t been successful. Millie decides she’s the exception to the rule, and finds a room at the Hotel Priscilla for Single Women.
The hotel is run by Mrs. Meers, who is secretly engaged in the white slavery trade by shipping orphan girls who stay at her hotel to China, a fate that befalls upon Millie’s hallmate, Ethel Peas. When Millie has not paid the rent after a week, Mrs. Meers confronts her and tells her she has just a few minutes to pack her things and go. Just at that moment, Millie meets Miss Dorothy, a wealthy Californian woman who wants to try living rough to see “How the Other Half Lives.” Millie suggests that she move in with her at the Hotel Priscilla, provided she can pay Millie’s rent, and Dorothy happily agrees. Mrs. Meers informs them that Dorothy can move into Ethel’s room and claims Ethel has taken an acting job in the Far East. Meanwhile, Ching Ho and Bun Foo are helping Mrs. Meers with the slavery ring in order to save enough money to have their mother sent over from Hong Kong for a better life.
Millie begins her job search by looking for company’s where the city’s most eligible bachelors live. She settles on Trevor Graydon III, who runs Sincere Trust, and manages to get a job as a secretary. Mrs. Meers sends Ching Ho to kidnap Dorothy by giving her a poisoned apple, but when Millie walks in, they are forced to abandon the plan. Ching Ho in the meantime has fallen in love with Dorothy at first sight and plans to rescue her. Millie announces to Dorothy that she has found a man to marry and they head to a speakeasy to celebrate, where they run into Jimmy. He slowly becomes enamoured by Millie’s charms (“What Do I Need With Love”).
Jimmy invites Millie to a fashionable party at the home of eccentric singer Muzzy van Hossmere, and Millie reflects the past few whirlwind days could happen “Only in New York.” At the party, she explains to Jimmy her plan to marry Trevor and reprimands him for his womanising ways. He suddenly kisses her before running off, leading her to realise she is actually in love with “Jimmy.” However, she returns to the hotel to find Jimmy apparently sneaking out of Dorothy’s room and vows never to speak to him again.
At work, Millie is still in love with Jimmy despite his actions, but her co-workers encourage her to “Forget About the Boy.” She plans to seduce Trevor until Dorothy arrives at work and immediately gets his attention. Trevor and Dorothy decide to go on a date, and Millie is devastated until Jimmy arrives and convinces her to give him another chance. When she begins to suspect Jimmy is poor, she has second thoughts and asks Muzzy’s opinion when they run into each other at a nightclub. Muzzy instructs her to always choose love over money, and Millie finally agrees.
Millie runs back to tell Jimmy how she feels, but they are interrupted by Trevor, who reveals that Dorothy stood him up for their date. He says he asked Mrs. Meers where she was and was told she had checked out of the hotel. Millie begins to find the number of people mysteriously “checking out” of the hotel suspicious, and they convince Muzzy to pose as an orphan to catch Mrs. Meers in the act. Sure enough, Mrs. Meers attempts the same scam, but this time she is caught by the police. Meanwhile, Ching Ho arrives after having saved Dorothy, and they are both in love.
Jimmy proposes to Millie, and she gladly accepts. He reveals he is actually an heir to a fortune and Dorothy’s brother. They had both gone into hiding to find people who would marry them for love, not money, and this was why he was sneaking out of her hotel room that night. Millie is thrilled that she has the fortune she dreamt of, as well as the love of her life.
- Act I
- Overture — Orchestra
- Not for the Life of Me — Millie
- Thoroughly Modern Millie — Millie and Ensemble (Lyrics by Sammy Cahn, Music byJimmy Van Heusen)
- Not for the Life of Me (Tag) — Millie and the Hotel Girls
- How the Other Half Lives — Millie and Miss Dorothy
- How the Other Half Lives (reprise) – Millie and Miss Dorothy
- Not for the Life of Me (Reprise) — Bun Foo and Ching Ho
- The Speed Test — Trevor Graydon, Millie, Stenographers, Office Singers (music from the patter song ”My Eyes Are Fully Open” from Gilbert and Sullivan’sRuddigore)
- They Don’t Know — Mrs. Meers
- The Nuttycracker Suite (derived from music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)
- What Do I Need with Love? – Jimmy
- Only in New York — Muzzy
- Jimmy — Millie (Lyrics by Jay Thompson (and Scanlan), Music by Thompson (and Tesori))
- Act II
- Entr’acte — Orchestra
- Forget About the Boy — Millie, Miss Flannery, Women Office Singers, Stenographers
- Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life/Falling in Love with Someone — Trevor Graydon and Miss Dorothy (Lyrics by Rida Johnson Young, Music by Victor Herbert from Naughty Marietta)
- I Turned the Corner/Falling in Love with Someone (Reprise) — Millie, Jimmy, Miss Dorothy, Trevor Graydon (“I’m Falling in Love with Someone” from Victor Herbert’s Naughty Marrietta)
- Muqin — Mrs. Meers, Bun Foo, Ching Ho (Lyrics by Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young,Walter Donaldson and Scanlan, Music by Donaldson)
- Long as I’m Here with You — Muzzy and Muzzy’s Boys (Incorporates “Not For the Life of Me”)
- Gimme Gimme — Millie
- The Speed Test (Reprise) — Millie, Trevor Greydon, Jimmy
- Ah! Sweet Mystery (Reprise) — Miss Dorothy and Ching Ho
- Thoroughly Modern Millie (Reprise) — Company
2002 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Featured Actress (Harris), Best Actress (Foster), Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Costume Design.
2002 Drama Desk: Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Foster), Outstanding Director, Outstanding Featured Actress, Outstanding Orchestrations.
UK: Josef Weinberger
USA: Musical Theatre International