By Christine Ehren
25 Sep 2000
Many a journalist will miss the Erin Dilly-Thoroughly Modern Millie rhyme. The young actress, who made a splash in Babes in Arms and Martin Guerre, was set to perform the title role in the La Jolla Playhouse production, but several production meetings later, she and the creative team determined that Dilly would not be able to continue with the show.
Dilly is the second actress to bow out of playing the "modern" flapper - Kristin Chenoweth was originally chosen for the role, but went to Hollywood for a sitcom deal instead.
Replacing Dilly will be actress Sutton Foster. Foster's Broadway credits include Eponine in Les Miserables, Sandy in Grease!, the Star to Be in Annie and The Scarlet Pimpernel. She performed at San Diego's Old Globe in What the World Needs Now, toured in The Will Rogers Follies and was a Star Search '91 teen vocalist winner.
The casting change will not affect performance dates. Thoroughly Modern Millie will begin playing Oct. 3 for its original run through Nov. 12. Opening night remains Oct. 15.
Foster joins Tonya Pinkins as Muzzy. A Tony Award winner for Jelly's Last Jam, Pinkins has starred on Broadway in Play On! (Tony nomination) and The Wild Party.
Pat Carroll will play Mrs. Meers. Carroll last performed on Broadway opposite Zoe Wanamaker in Electra. She is perhaps best known, however, as the voice of the evil sea witch, Ursula, in Disney's "The Little Mermaid."
Joining these leading ladies will be Marc Kudisch (The Wild Party, The Scarlet Pimpernel) as Mr. Trevor Graydon, Jim Stanek (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Indiscretions) as Millie's boyfriend Jimmy Smith, Sarah Uriarte Berry (Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast), Stephen Sable (Privates on Parade) as Ching Ho, Frances Jue (M. Butterfly) as Bun Foo and Anne L. Nathan (Ragtime) as Miss Flannery.
The ensemble features Randl Ask, Kate Baldwin, Joshua Bergasse, Zina Camblin, Julie Connors, David Eggers, Nicole Foret, Matt Gasper, Gregg Goodbrod, Matt Lashey, Joe Langworth, Michael Malone, Yusef Miller, Tina Ou, Noah Racey, Megan Sikora, Chane't Johnson and Leigh-Anne Wencker.
Michael Mayer directs. A Tony nominee for A View from the Bridge and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, he has helmed the recent Broadway productions of Uncle Vanya and Side Man and will head up the Roundabout's 2000-2001 production of Heather McDonald's An Almost Holy Picture.
David Gallo will design the sets; Robert Perdziola, the costumes, Donald Holder, the lighting and Otts Munderloh the sound. Michael Rafter is the musical director, with Tony and Academy Award winner Ralph Burns doing the orchestrations.
Thoroughly Modern Millie 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.
The 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.