Last week my husband and I trekked to Marietta to see Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Strand Theater where the Atlanta Lyric was producing the show. I have a lot of fondness for the Lyric, having been around at the founding of the Southeastern Savoyards, and I thought that in most areas they did a fine job with Millie.
Everyone in the show was in great form to do justice to a really fun show. I was so happy to see Andy Dahn, whom I remember as a Shorter student at the NATS State Student Auditions. The dancing was particularly brilliant, and the staging and sets made a teeny-tiny stage look very impressive and full without being crowded.
Far and away the best singing in the show was heard from the spectacular Marsha Dupree as Muzzy. Hers is a real voice, and I hope we'll get to hear her again with the Lyric. There were other good voices in the show, but most of them were drowned out by a way-too-loud orchestra. Since no conductor or players were visible, I guess the orchestra was recorded, which makes volume issues even more ridiculous. During the whole first act singing and dialog were buried under too much orchestra. In the second act the tech staff coped with the problem by turning the mics on the performers up, rather than the band down, and that made for some physically uncomfortable sound levels.
All in all it was a good show, and having Marsha Dupree onstage is a step in the direction that I'd like to see many musical theater productions go. So few young singers have even heard good models of real voices that have not been "produced" in the studio, that it's no wonder they have such limited vocal aspirations.