Hot on the heels of Mary Poppins and Starlight Express, Tuacahn Theatre continues to offer excellent musical theatre offerings with Thoroughly Modern Millie and Disney’s Mulan, both based on popular motion pictures.
Millie is one of the most entertaining and energetic productions I’ve ever seen at Tuacahn. Based on the classic musical starring Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore, it finds a country girl trying to reinvent herself in 1920’s New York, getting swept up in accidental romance, kidnapping plots, police busts at speakeasies, and more. Laura Taylor is a joy to watch in the title role; she’s got a wonderful singing voice, has charm galore, and impresses in the numerous dance numbers. The cast is loaded with talented performers in the supporting roles, the various love stories crackle, and the catchy songs will stay in your head for days (get the soundtrack). The play even improves on the toe-tapping film version with regards to the Chinese kidnappers; what originally were one-dimensional and stereotyped characters have been humanized and fleshed out in enjoyable fashion. Fast-paced and loads of fun, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a can’t-lose choice.
Mulan is a one act, 75 minute long adaptation of the 1998 Disney film (available on Bluray and DVD). Unlike other Tuacahn plays, which allow children ages five and up to attend, Mulan is designed for families of all ages. Our three year old daughter, obsessed with Disney princesses, was enchanted during the entire production and our seven year old boy enjoyed it as well. Although the play takes place in a smaller, indoor, venue and is not as aggressively ambitious as Tuacahn’s outdoor productions, it was still a wonderful experience, with terrific music and creative stage design. The cast is solid; although a few of the supporting players over-emote, as a whole they deliver when it counts. Jennifer Hubilla is very likable in the lead role, while David Lamarr’s mixes Eddie Murphy with his own sensibilities as Mushu the dragon (the melding of live actor and puppet here is especially effective). As an added bonus, the cast gather after the play for photo ops and to greet patrons. While this is standard at Tuacahn, in this case it is particularly fun, as children fawn over the heroes. Having her picture taken with Mulan was a particular highlight for my daughter.
For more information, including tickets and showtimes, please visit www.tuachan.org.
Jonathan Decker is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in couples’ therapy and singles’ guidance (www.jdeckertherapy.com). He reviews Hollywood films from a LDS perspective at www.mormonmovieguy.com and hosts a segment on classic and overlooked cinema on The KJZZ Movie Show.