Erin Dilly will play the lead role in the stage musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, which will play at La Jolla Playhouse in Southern California, a spokesman for Dilly told Playbill On-Line. The Michael Mayer directed stage version of the cult film musical is set for an Oct. 3 first preview at La Jolla's Mandell Weiss Theatre. Millie opens there Oct. 15 and continues through Nov. 12. Dates in September and October were previously announced.
Dilly has been seen Off-Broadway as Billie in the City Center Encores! production of Babes in Arms. Other NYC credits include productions with Manhattan Theatre Club and the Vineyard Theatre and the Off Broadway comedy Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight. She recently concluded a year touring the country as Belle in the National Tour of Beauty and the Beast.
Millie was to have starred Kristin Chenoweth, but she backed out in order work on a TV series. Marc Kudisch, who participated in an earlier reading of the musical, had previously told PBOL that he planned to be involved in the La Jolla production.
The show is based on the 1967 film musical comedy directed by George Roy Hill. The picture, a 1920s spoof, starred Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, Beatrice Lillie, John Gavin, James Fox, Carol Channing, Jack Soo and Pat Morita.
According to Theatrical Index, two of the film's comic pastiche songs ("Jimmy" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie"), in the style of The Boyfriend, are being used in the stage version, with new tunes by composer Jeanine Tesori (Violet and Lincoln Center Theatre's Twelfth Night) and lyricist Dick Scanlan. Libretto is by Richard Morris and Scanlan, based on Morris' original story and screenplay. Screenwriter Morris died in 1997 after completing work on the script with Scanlan.
Producers Fox Theatricals, Michael Leavitt, Hal Luftig, Anita Waxman, Elizabeth Williams, Stewart F. Lane and Whoopi Goldberg are expected to take the show to Broadway this season if it lands big in La Jolla.
A workshop of the musical took place in New York City in fall 1999. Chenoweth, Marc Kudisch and Beatrice Arthur were in the workshop cast.
A previous workshop was held in New York City May 17-June 26, 1999. David Marquez was choreographer, Rafter was musical director.
Elmer Bernstein's score for the film won him an Academy Award, but he contributed only the underscoring, not the songs. He has said in interviews that he thought Academy Award voters were possibly confused about his contribution to the film, and gave him the award.