By Auburn Terry
Sunday marked an emotional day for the Opelika High Theatre Society as it bade farewell to a beautiful show and more than ten senior actors, actresses and technical students.
Typically, for seniors involved, this closing show marks the paradoxical end and beginning of chapters in their lives as they venture off to college or wherever else life may lead them. For the rest of the students in the show, the final performance symbolizes the end of an era, the start of a new season only weeks away and the memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” closed out the second four-show season OHTS has offered in order to put as many students as possible onstage. This 32-member cast and tech crew of over ten students constructed a show taking place in 1922 New York City, where a Millie Dillmount travels from a primarily bumpkin lifestyle in Kansas to become a modern woman. To accomplish this goal, she seeks a job to marry her boss, only to fall in love with someone who is virtually broke.
She gains friends and love and even sends the villainous Mrs. Meers – a retired actress avenging her dismissal from the chorus by kidnapping and shipping young, orphaned starlets overseas – to prison.
For senior Mary Grace Sasser, who starred as the title role of Millie Dillmount, the beauty was in the characters.
“My favorite part of any show is always seeing how you completely change into the character the first time you put the costume on. That’s when I feel like everything comes together and you can fully dive into your role,” she said.
For others, such as technical student and senior Kyra Chamblee, the thrill of show time is a result of watching the show come together from the sidelines.
“Watching it come a long way just gives you a good feeling inside,” Chamblee said.
But for the man in charge, Director Revel Gholston, his favorite part was creating the dances himself.
“I’ve never had to do as much choreography on my own. I do enjoy dancing quite a bit, and I always have some part in the choreography as the director, but I definitely had to dust off the dancing shoes for this party,” Gholston said.
For the audience, the show came as quite a surprise. With so many twists, turns and intertwining plot lines, the show was a lot to take in in one sitting.
“I think the audience came not knowing what to expect. Many don’t know the story or the music, but I did guarantee at least one laugh, and I don’t think anyone was disappointed,” said Gholston.
But while all the fun happened onstage, only minutes before the overture began members of the show were wiping eyes, passing hugs, saying goodbye and fixing makeup backstage. An endless line of tissues was passed around the circle of hand-holding students as each spoke about the joy of the show and the memories each would keep forever.
The final night was especially valuable to senior Demond Moore, who played Millie’s boss Trevor Graydon.
“It was heartbreaking for it to be my last show at OHS,” Moore said, but said he is thrilled that this show in particular was his last show.
While it was an emotional day indeed, audience members, orchestra members, techs and actors alike could not help but smile as they gave the show their all one final time, and the author is immensely glad she was able to close out the show with a bow next to them.