Millie thoroughly accepts the challenge


Caroline Cohen

Claire Smith ’15 practices to perfect a Chinese accent for her role of Mrs. Meer’s, a mysterious and evil character for the upcoming player’s production of “thoroughly modern millie.” Opening night is Friday, Nov. 15

For “West Side Story,” Staples Players had to perfect Hispanic accents to portray the saucy sass f characters like Anita and Bernardo

Throughout “A Chorus Line,” performers had to fine-tune dance skills that they had just acquired.

During “Into the Woods,” underclassmen like Claire Smith ’15 stepped up into the spotlight in lead roles.Imagine all of these challenges blown into a whirlwind of a show: “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Even better, imagine that Players doesn’t seem phased by it.

In the show, often referred to as “Mille,” Nick Massoud ’15, Joe Badion ’15, Will Haskell ’14, Wellington Baumann ’16 and Josh Popkin ’14 have each been cast as Chinese men. They are required by this role to dabble in Cantonese Chinese, a language most had never spoken before. (Though Baumann has been studying Mandarin Chinese, a language differentiated from Cantonese by dialectal changes.)

“They have to learn Chinese and use a Chinese accent which I think is really difficult,” Maddy Rozynek ’14, who is cast as Millie Dillmount said.

However, the boys seem to have handled it all right.

“Its actually incredibly easy because we just repeat what we hear on the tape and commit that to memory by putting it to a song,” Badion said.

“Yeah, we beatbox,” Massoud interrupted.

The rest of the five seemed to generally agree. Even their student director Vig Namasivayam ’16 confirmed that they were meeting the challenge with open arms.

“Working with these guys I’ve seen that, even though it may not be the most difficult thing for them, they have put in 100 percent…okay they’ve put in like 50 percent,” Namasivayam joked.

Second challenge: the quite numerous and quite difficult tap routines sprinkled throughout “Millie.”

Yet similarly, it still seems like pretty smooth sailing. Players seem to be looking at this difficulty as a calm horizon.

“Well, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Tap is a really fun type of dance,” said Rozynek, “And, like, if you don’t know exactly how to do it, it’s sort of easy to fake.”

Everett Sussman ’15, casted as Mr. Trevor Graydon, agrees that the tap numbers are going well.

“The people who are teaching the tap are great,” Sussman said. “And [with] all the dancers that we have, I was amazed to find all the people who could tap and who were seriously amazing at tap.”

Okay, so then they’re going to leave it to those newbies to the spotlight to screw it up. Right?

Wrong again, disbelievers.

Both Jack Baylis ’15 and Nick Ribolla ’14 were somewhat new to center stage when cast as male lead Jimmy Smith. However, it seems that the limelight is a good color for them.

“I used to be the little dweeb in the audience looking up and thinking how amazing they were,” Ribolla said. “Now that I’m in their position the pressure is on to live up to them.”

And their castmates have few doubts in their ability to step up to the plate.

“I think that they’re both doing great, and I think they really rose to the occasion,” Rozynek said.

So what challenges might actually be challenges for Players? Perhaps it will only be living up to the standard they set for themselves in “Mille.”