Palmyra Players to take a stroll through the 1920s with ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.’

The musical will make its debut on Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m.

Next weekend, months of hard work put in by the Palmyra Players Theater Club at Palmyra High School will culminate with its performance of “Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.”

“Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.” is set in 1922 Manhattan at the height of women becoming “modern.”

“They’re basically dropping the Downton Abbey look and moving onto being modern ladies,” producer Lisa Jablonski said. “It’s a little 1920s romp.”

Senior Jessica Goldschmidt will take the lead as Millie Dillmount with James Harris-Wright by her side as Millie’s love interest, Jimmy Smith. Harris-Wright describes his character as an “outgoing individual who looks for a life and not a living.”

Harris-Wright has been participating in the theater program at Palmyra High School since the program was revamped nearly four years ago.

“I love being able to work with everyone in crew and cast who I’ve come to know over the years and the new arrivals this year,” Harris-Wright said. “Our chemistry together is what creates the best possible experience that our audience will receive when they come to see it.”

Goldschmidt agreed.

“This is only my second year as a Palmyra Player, but I have had the opportunity of making so many friends and great memories,” she said.

Goldschmidt describes her character as a “charismatic modern who has just arrived in New York City and is looking to find her place in the world. This character is a lot of fun to play because, like her, I am about to start my life and college and am very excited.”

This year, there are approximately 40 students involved with the Palmyra Players. Many of the crew members also get involved with the cast, and develop a hybrid role Jablonski says they call “crast.”

Theater has just recently erupted at PHS, with the first full blown production of “Music Man Jr.” being held just last year.

“We went from the midwest in the 1900s to Manhattan in the 1920s,” Jablonski said on going from “Music Man” to “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” “We’re looking to move a little more forward next year.”

Jablonski added there are perks to performing older plays and musicals, including less criticism from spectators, as they might not know the performance as well as they would a more recent show.

“They can kind of make it their own and there aren’t as many expectations,” Jablonski said.

The students have been rehearsing on and off since November. With Palmyra being a smaller school, many theater students are involved in other extracurricular activities.

“What our theater program lacks in size, it makes up in heart,” Goldschmidt said.

Superintendent Brian McBride says this is a positive thing that leads to students graduating with diverse portfolios.

“You can be on marching band and on the football team at the same time, you can be in student council and be part of our interact club, and join the theater program,” McBride said.

But according to Jablonski, it can also present a problem when it comes to rehearsals. Despite rehearsing for close to four months, the producer has never seen every student actor on stage simultaneously.

“You can be involved with almost anything you want to be involved in,” Jablonski said. “You have to bend and flex to all the other responsibilities that the kids have between jobs and clubs and sports.”

Last year, the first time all the actors were on stage together was opening night of the play, and it looks as though this year might face the same fate.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.”, which is set to run approximately 90 minutes, will make its debut on Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. at Palmyra High School. Weekend showtimes will be Saturday, March 11 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.