More than just a production, Snowflake High School musical offers ​empowerment for its cast

Peeking in at the basic set design for Snowflake High School’s March 2 debut of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Director Wendy Bloomfield only let us have a glimpse of the set. To see the whole thing, you will have attend one of the six performances March 2-4 or March 9-11 — all at 7 p.m. With so much talent this year for voice and tap dancing, this romantic musical has three different casts, each doing two performances. Cost is $5.

SNOWFLAKE — Opening night for Snowflake High School’s “Thoroughly Modern Millie” will be Thursday March 2, with a total of six performances.

Those performances will be 7 p.m. March 2-4 and March 9-11.

The award-winning musical has been a film and has also been on Broadway, and later toured the United States and abroad. If you missed it on stage, you most likely remember the film version back in the late 1960s starring Julie Andrews as Millie, the naïve small-town girl from Kansas who headed to New York looking for a wealthy husband in the 1920s. Shedding her hometown girl image for that of a modern girl, she gets herself a new bob and flapper clothes and begins a circuitous route to love.

According to Director Wendy Bloomfield, each year she and music director Mindy Flake choose a production based on what the students need. Last year they chose Li’l Abner because they needed something that was “just fun.”

“We choose for the kids, not the audience,” Bloomfield said.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” this year fit the bill for their search for a clean, family-friendly production which provides an opportunity for the kids to grow personally.

Bloomfield said it is hard work. They have to practice. It takes the performers away from other things and because they are so tired, they develop a love-hate relationship for the play or musical. By the time they have their Black Saturday, where all cast and crew come together, though they are exhausted, they seem to have forgotten those feelings of despair and want to know what the production will be for next year.

“It is the greatest day,” Bloomfield said. “They really bond as a group and mesh as a cast. There is a lot of energy and excitement. They realize what they have done — we pull something out of them that they do not think they have, and when they realize it, they are more confident and that helps them in so many ways.”

Putting together a production is a task requiring many hands, even beyond the school perimeter.

“This play would never happen without all the adult volunteers who work so hard,” Bloomfield said. “Katrina Palmer and Peggy Weech did the costumes, Gret White, Kat Millet and Tiffany McCray did the choreography. Mindy Flake does the music, Ferrell Green does the tech, and Cami Bjornn did our advertising.”

Bloomfield also enlists the help of her family. Her mother, Judy Everist, a former school teacher, designed the set. Wendell Everist, her father, built the set. Curtis Bloomfield, her husband, built the structures, and her 14- and 16-year-old sons, Scott and Zach, have served as “stage rats” for the last nine years. This year they get to be in the production.

After all is said and done and the curtain is about to be raised, the only thing that makes their hard work more worthwhile is for there to be people sitting in the audience watching them perform.

Tickets are only $5, a small price to pay for an evening of entertainment and knowing that kids in the Snowflake-Taylor community who are giving their all for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” are learning far more than just how to be on stage.

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Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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