“Thoroughly Modern Millie” Spring Stage Preview

Sean Etter, Editor-in-Chief

Shawnee High School’s theater season is almost over after two amazing productions of Auntie Mame by Fall Drama and Sister Act by the All School Musical. However, the season isn’t over yet. The Spring Stage is currently preparing to put on the year’s last big production of Broadway classic Thoroughly Modern Millie. The Renegade Report recently interviewed Shawnee senior Veronica Robertson about Spring Stage, the show, and her job as director of the production.

The Shawnee Spring Stage is a yearly musical production that is entirely student-run. This came about a few years ago when a group of theater-loving students had a great idea to give themselves experience in show production unobtainable in the regular winter musical. “During my freshman year, a group of seniors in the theater department decided that they wanted the chance to learn how to direct, produce, vocal direct, and work the behind-the-scenes jobs of a theater production,” Veronica explains. “After finding the lovely Mr. Rohm and Ms. Hower to donate their time to being faculty advisers, Spring Stage was good to go!”

The production crew is primarily made up of seniors who have spent a large amount of time in theater productions throughout their Shawnee careers. They take upon themselves the huge responsibilities of running the entire show from the first auditions to the final curtain call. “Our advisers check in to make sure that everything is going smoothly,” she adds, “but other than that, it’s up to the students.”

This year, the students are putting on Broadway classic Thoroughly Modern Millie, set in New York City during the ‘roaring’ 1920s. “It is a comedy about a young woman from Salina, Kansas, trying to find her way in New York,” says Veronica. “There’re plenty of big dance numbers, heart-wrenching moments, and hilarity!”

Although Millie will be her final show here at Shawnee, Robertson couldn’t be any happier with how things have turned out. “Getting to direct a musical is a dream come true for me,” she reveals. “Since my freshman year I have been telling anyone who will listen how much I wanted to direct Spring Stage my senior year. Now that it’s finally here, I couldn’t be more happy with how the show is going so far. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such a fantastic cast in my first show.”

For Veronica, finally being able to direct a show is the next step in her lifelong love of theater. “I have been involved in theater since I was eight-years-old, but never before have I done anything behind the scenes. However, through the years I noticed myself questioning the decisions of my directors and re-blocking scenes in my head. After too many scenes that I wanted to change, I figured that, since I had so many ideas, I may as well try my hand at actually directing!”

However, Veronica isn’t running the show by herself. Spring Stage couldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the help of her fellow theater-loving students. “My production team, Vocal Director Annamaria Caputo, Assistant Director Rebecca LaChance, and Choreographers Emily Windl and Megan Conville, are incredible and super-supportive. They challenge me, but we all work really well together.

Spring Stage will be performing Thoroughly Modern Millie on June 1st at 7 pm, June 2nd at 7 pm, and June 3rd at 2 pm and 7 pm. Special thanks to Veronica Robertson for taking the time to answer our questions!