November 26, 2014

Culture Watch

Welcome, Spirited Millie

During the 1930s, hollywood tried to distract moviegoers from the woes of the Great Depression by producing a number of entertaining madcap comedies. The Naples Players didn’t have today’s economic situation in mind when it picked its summer musical, but the choice turns out to be right on target.

Thoroughly Modern Millie is a delightful 1920s romp, filled with high spirits, hijinks and lively music. There’s a charmingly naïve heroine, just arrived in New York City from the hinterlands. Naturally, she immediately bumps into and eventually falls in love with the guy who’s just right for her—even though he’s masquerading as someone else. The boarding house where Millie rents a room turns out to be a front for the wonderfully wicked ringleader of a white-slave racket preying on vulnerable young women new to big-city ways. But not to worry—everything turns out just fine in the end.

Sure, the story here is a bit predictable and simultaneously far-fetched. But that’s an integral part of the show’s charm. And its spirit, songs and sunny disposition fit perfectly with the idea of a summertime escape. Millie is a frothy milkshake—just the right antidote for the heat and the economy.

And, if you fall in love with Millie, keep in mind that KidzAct, the Players’ long-running children’s theater program, will do its own version of the show in August. Budding actors from 14 to 18
perform Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. on Aug. 7–9.

While the Players celebrate nostalgia, the Art League of Marco Island is focusing on the new. Art Avante Garde II is an invitational exhibition featuring the newest works from the group’s past scholarship and merit award winners.

The league also continues its Summer Wine & Art Series, which provides the chance to “experience a taste in wine and art.” This month’s spotlighted artist is Diane Reed Eiler, who often kayaks through the Everglades to find inspiration for her paintings. While her work remains on display throughout July, the reception on July 7 affords the chance to meet the artist and sample a special selection of wines.

The Naples Players presents Thoroughly Modern Millie through July 25 at the Sugden Community Theatre. For tickets, call (239) 263-7990 or visit www.naplesplayers.org. The Art League of Marco Island hosts Art Avante Garde II from July 9-31. Summer Wine & Art Series, featuring artist Diane Reed Eiler, is held from 5:30-7 p.m. on July 7. For information, call (239) 394-4221 or visit www.marcoislandart.org.

 

Hot tickets

• The Lee County Alliance of the Arts hosts its 23rd Annual 2D/3D All Florida Juried Exhibition, through Aug. 7. (239) 939-2787 or www.artinlee.org.

• Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre presents Peter Pan through Aug. 8. (239) 278-4422 or www.broadwaypalm.com.

The National Art Encounter 2009 continues at The von Liebig Art Center, Naples, through July 12. (239) 262-6517 or www.naplesart.org.