Thoroughly great performances in Lakeside Middle School production

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LAKESIDE — Few would think of this community as a hotbed for local live theater, but thanks to the advent of the Performing Lakeside Acting Youth (P.L.A.Y.) group, the area has been sending talented young actors on to bigger and better things since its inception in 1999.

The program, under the direction of brothers Cliff and Steve Mull, is dedicated to the youth of Lakeside. Children in grades four through 12 work evenings and weekends producing and experiencing a full theatrical production.

LAKESIDE — Few would think of this community as a hotbed for local live theater, but thanks to the advent of the Performing Lakeside Acting Youth (P.L.A.Y.) group, the area has been sending talented young actors on to bigger and better things since its inception in 1999.

The program, under the direction of brothers Cliff and Steve Mull, is dedicated to the youth of Lakeside. Children in grades four through 12 work evenings and weekends producing and experiencing a full theatrical production.

Children even operate professional lighting and sound equipment and do the directing of the performances. In the past decade, these amazing students have lit up the stage with such productions of “Annie,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Peter Pan” and “Schoolhouse Rock,” among others.

Currently, the troupe is performing “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” the 2002 Tony Award-winning musical based on the 1967 George Roy Hill film (starring Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore).

The story is set in 1922, when flappers (Jazz Age young women entering the workforce after the Great War) and slicksters populate New York
Naive Millie Dillmoun soon arrives from Kansas with a suitcase in her hand and a dream in her heart.

She boards at Mrs. Meers’ house, make some more flapper friends, meets the wisecracking Jimmy Smith, falls in love with her boss, Trevor Greydon, and ingratiates herself into the Big Apple lifestyle.

“These students show tremendous growth from their first P.L.A.Y. experience to years later when they flourish at the art of acting, and they consider this an acting family where each child is happy for the next if they land a main part,” said musical director Cheryl Wilson.

Utilizing several different casts (so more children will have the opportunity to perform on stage), P.L.A.Y. also has a brand new venue from which to show off its stripes with a full-scale theater at the school, which is located at 11833 Woodside Ave.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” runs through March 18. For ticket information, call (619) 390-2636.

Patee Spurlock contributed to this article.

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