New musical is all flappers and fun in Langley

It may be called Thoroughly Modern Millie but the new production by the HDS & LSS Musical Theatre Company whisks people to a bygone era.

Audiences will enjoy the musical tale of Millie Dillmount set in the Roaring ’20s. She has moved to the big city to make a new life for herself. It’s a time when New York is full of intrigue and jazz, an era when women were entering the workforce and social rules were changing. That often earned young women the label modern.

One of the students taking part, Emma Garland is the modern miss in this tale.

“Women were trying to be more independent or ‘modern’ as they called it,” she explained.

The play helps shine a light on some of the topics she’s learned about in school, such as Prohibition. With the U.S. prohibiting alcohol sales, people found ways to get around the law, such as underground bars (speakeasies)

“At one point in the play, we find a speakeasy,” Garland explained.

The period piece features actions by Millie and others that were ‘modern’ for that era but no more, such as going out alone, unaccompanied, or marrying a person in a visible minority.

It also features one of the unusual fixations of the era – the white slave trade, in which young women were kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. This plays out through the unscrupulous Mrs. Meers, who runs the rooming house where Millie stays.

But there is a dashing leading man so the tale does have a fairytale ending.

Garland is no stranger to the school stage, having had roles in Steel Pier, Bye, Bye Birdie, For Old Time Sake, Les Miserable, and Sound of Plaid.

The show features a large cast, made up of about 70 students from Langley Secondary and H.D. Stafford Middle School as well as a couple dozen students performing the live music. Overseeing the show are teachers Brian Leonard, Patti Thorpe and choreographer Erin Mcquistin.

The show is unique in that every student who wants to be in it, gets a part. And they’ve been working on this since the start of the school year.

Tickets cost $12 for adults, and $10 for students and seniors.

All performances are at Langley Secondary School, 21405 56th Ave.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 and 28, and March 1, 6, 7 and 8. The 2 p.m. matinees are on March 1 and 8.

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