Photo courtesy: Cindy Long

Thoroughly Modern Millie brought to life by Ryerson’s Theatre Company

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By Stefanie Phillips

A flask made its way around the stage, passed down by all the characters as they danced around at a speak easy. The beaded, fringe costumes sparkled when the lights hit the stage during the flashy jazz number. Purple hues reflected off of a saxophone in the band as he rocked the audience. For the night, everyone was transported to New York during the prohibition era by the Ryerson Musical Theatre Companys (RMTC) performance of Thoroughly Modern Millie, their first show since forming the group in January 2015.

The show is about small-town Millie Dillmount who moves to New York in search for money over love.

Director and third-year creative industries student, Robyn Hoja started the group with the goal of bringing students who share a passion for theatre together.

When you go and watch a show you can kind of remove yourself from everything else. The best part about our show, or any show, is that it can take you into a different world,said Hoja. “It can really take you away from what you’re worried about.

Hoja first read through the script of the show in a Kerr Hall classroom, but was blown away when she saw it brought to life in a four night production at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in the last week of February.

The student group had a budget of $30,000 that was raised mainly through RCDS loans, along with student project grants, a Fund What You Can Page and a number of other methods. The budget went towards renting the theatre, legal rights to the production, costumes and renting instruments for the band.
The band was led by second year Ryerson student, Connor Delaney who re-worked the sheet music originally made for a 25 piece band to fit his band of 10.

Delaney got involved with the company after auditioning with his friend from residence in first year. He felt that it was about time Ryerson formed its own musical theatre group.

[With] a school like Ryerson, that is so heavily involved in the arts, to have a musical theatre outlet for people who want to do production music or perform I think thats one of the most important things to have as an extracurricular, said Delaney.

Fourth-year Ryerson media production student Paige Foskett, played the role of a Priscilla girlrenting a room in the same hotel as the lead Millie. She said that having a musical theatre group at Ryerson is important and loves it because of the community that it has built for her.

Youre just a part of this awesome family, this community of people who all kind of love the same thing as you,said Foskett.  Its so beautiful to be able to come together and work so hard at something.

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