Adrienne Reynolds doesn't have to stretch too hard to channel the outgoing spirit in "Thoroughly Modern Millie." She may be the 15-year-old St. Mary's High School student who lives in Woodbridge, but Adrienne Reynolds is already preparing for her future as an actress - and waitress - in the Big Apple. Well spoken like the 1920s young woman she plays on stage, Adrienne Reynolds is passionate about acting, singing, dancing, being an honor student and playing the role she's always dreamed of playing.
Directed by Adrienne Reynolds's father, Rex Reynolds, "Thoroughly Modern Millie" is a production by Lodi Theater for Youth and Rex Reynolds and The Thoroughly Modern Theatre Company.
Q: Why do you like the part of Millie?
A: It's kind of corny. I want to say in 2002, we went to New York and we saw a number of shows and one of these shows was "Thoroughly Modern Millie." My hero of all time, Sutton Foster, originated the role of Millie. We saw the original cast and she just absolutely blew my mind. Ever since I saw this, I was determined to play this role some day in my lifetime.
Last year when it came off Broadway, we were able to get the rights to it. My dad grabbed it. I'm really excited.
Q: Who is Millie? What is her story?
A: Well Millie Dillmount is this little Kansas girl that has high hopes and desperately wants to get out of her town. There's nothing really there for her. She thinks she can go on to bigger and better things. So she moves to New York, as pretty much everyone does. She is determined to become one of the moderns of the modern craze that is sweeping New York by storm. Becoming a modern includes the dream of her marrying her boss and becoming rich. Marrying for love has absolutely nothing to do with it. "Love comes later, occasionally with the man that you are actually married to," direct quote. So she meets a mysterious man that helps her as soon as she gets there. She wants to go from the bottom to the top at her new job. She meets a woman who wants to go from the top to the bottom and they become friends. It's a very strange relationship. There are a lot of twists and turns, it's pretty crazy.
Q: Do you admire Millie because she moved from a small town to New York? Are those your aspirations, as well?
A: Yeah, as far as I can remember I've wanted to move to New York. I can relate to her in that light.
Q: What year does the play take place?
A: It takes place in 1922.
Q: You're really excited about the red frilly costume you'll get to wear in the last scenes, are you interested in fashion, as well as theater?
A: Aside from all the acting and being on stage, that's my other favorite part of being on stage. Costumes are gorgeous or really fun.
Q: Your dad has been doing theater for a long time, would you say he is your main influence?
A: Yeah, I would say so. He's been doing it for a little over 20 years now, which is an extremely long time. We used to live in Hawaii (and we moved when I was, like, 2 months old), but my mom and I were talking about it the other day. We both agreed that even if we didn't move here, I would still be in love with theater because of how long he's been doing it. They took me to see so many shows. They took me pretty much everywhere in the United States, so I've gotten a lot of exposure to it.
Q: What is your favorite show you have performed in?
A: Thoroughly Modern Millie is definitely one of them. Definitely "Nunsense." It was fun! Most recently was "Bye Bye Birdie," which is one of my all-time favorites. It was through school so I performed with a lot of my friends.
Q: What about favorites that you have seen?
A: Definitely "Thoroughly Modern Millie." "Ragtime."
Q: Is this the first time you have played a leading role?
A: No, but it is my first love interest, if that counts for anything. I've done a few - and it's not because my dad is the director! Everyone says that: "Oh, you only got this job because you're dad's the director." Sorry, honey. That's not true.
Q: You are very young, but you are very grown up, how has that happened?
A: Thanks. I'm an only child so pretty much my parents have been around. I've always hung around people that are older than I am. Like, my best friend just graduated from high school.
Q: How do you discipline yourself into keeping up with theater, being an honor student while being a teenager?
A: It's mainly my parents that discipline me. (Laughs and pauses). It's hard. I'm not going to sugar coat it. You have to get things done. I'm a busy person, and it's really hard to get it all together, but I know I have to get all of it done and meet all of my commitments. I try to please everyone that I'm involved with, so that could be it.
Q: What are your future plans for, let's say, after high school?
A: We can say I have an idea.
Q: You have more than an idea, right? I'm sure you have your future mapped out perfectly.
A: (Laughs) Yeah, actually, I do. After high school, I want to go to college and major in musical theater. A lot of me wants to go the East Coast because that's where a lot of musical theater is. I want to move to New York, and I know you don't go straight from nothing to stardom overnight. So I'm going to have to work at it, and I understand that, and it's going to take a lot of time. So I'm going t become a waitress, as every other actress does.
Q: I love that you're counting on becoming a waitress. After that, though, you want to work on Broadway?
A: Maybe not just Broadway. I'll do regional stuff, too. And then I definitely want to do a tour company because that would be a lot of fun.
Q: Is there a play that you just really, really want to do?
A: "Thoroughly Modern Millie" - and I got that. If this becomes a revival on Broadway, then I definitely want to do that.
Another show I would love to do is definitely "Hairspray." That's good, a very good show.
Q: How does it compare to the movie that's out now.
A: I really like the movie. They are both good. They're different. Personally, I prefer the show, but that's because I saw it on Broadway with the original cast. It's really hard to beat. But the movie was really well done, too.
I would kill to be in "Les Miserables." That's just great.
Q: What's the hardest part of being you?
A: Being so busy. I realize that I haven't had a real break in a few years. I haven't honestly just relaxed in a while.
Q: Have you been able to go on any weekend trips?
A: No, but I'm planning two. I'm planning to go camping on the beach with my friends and then my mom and I want to go see "Young Frankenstein," like the preview before it goes onto Broadway in Seattle at the end of the summer.
Q: What do you want people to take away from this show?
A: That theater is an absolutely wonderful experience. When you see a show, the audience is never, ever going to have that same experience again. There not going to see that same exact show because every night is a different show. That's the big difference between movies and theater.