Auditions for the Huntington High School drama club’s spring musical production of Thoroughly Modern Millie will be held on Monday-Thursday, January 28-31 at 2:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The audition is open to all students in the school.
Michael Schwendemann, the high school’s drama club advisor, said those auditioning for a role in the musical should prepare a one minute comic monologue and 16 bars of a Broadway show tune.
Huntington High School drama club faculty advisor Michael Schwendemann.
Rehearsals will kick-off on Monday, February 4 at 2:30 p.m. The curtain will go up on the show on Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Saturday, April 6 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door.
“The winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie was the 2002 season’s most awarded new show on Broadway,” according to Music Theatre International. “Based on the 1967 Academy Award-winning film, Thoroughly Modern Millie takes you back to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City, when ‘moderns,’ including a flapper named Millie Dillmount, were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce and rewriting the rules of love. This high-spirited musical romp is a delightful valentine to the long-standing spirit of New York City and the people who seek to discover themselves there.
“Set in New York City in 1922, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of young Millie Dillmount from Kansas, who comes to New York in search of a new life for herself. Her grand plan is to find a job as a secretary for a wealthy man and then marry him. However, her plan goes completely awry. The owner of her dingy hotel kidnaps young girls to sell to the Far East, her wealthy boss is slow in proposing marriage and the man she actually falls in love with doesn't have a dime to his name... or so he tells her.
“Filled with frisky flappers, dashing leading men and a dragon lady of a villainess that audiences will love to hate, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a perfectly constructed evening of madcap merriment. From explosive tap numbers to a "Fred and Ginger" routine on a window ledge, this is the perfect show for theatres that are looking to show off the dance skills of their performers. In Millie Dillmount, musical theatre has found a new heroine for the ages in Thoroughly Modern Millie!”
A veteran director and actor and a popular high school English teacher, Mr. Schwendemann believes audiences will flip over this spring’s musical, which will feature outstanding acting, singing, dancing and impressive set designs. The pit orchestra is expected to be exceptional, too.
A graduate of John Adams High School in Ozone Park, Queens, Mr. Schwendemann, or “Schwendy” as most students know him, earned a BA at CUNY-Queens College in communication arts and sciences and drama, theatre and dance. He obtained a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama.
Mr. Schwendemann worked as an adjunct faculty member at Long Island University-C.W. Post College in the department of theatre, dance and film from 1996 to 2001. He was in Huntington during parts of 2001-2003 performing outreach for the National Shakespeare Company, but he never envisioned himself as a Huntington teacher.
“It was luck that landed me at Huntington High School,” Mr. Schwendemann said during an interview in April 2013. “I was actually offered a job at Bay Shore High School, where I was student teaching, but the teacher I was to replace changed his mind about leaving. Nina Wolfe, the chair of the English department felt terrible and secured me an interview at Huntington. The rest, as they say, is history!”
Mr. Schwendemann began working full-time at Huntington High School in January 2003 and quickly became a student favorite. He has taught freshmen English along with the elective classes Holocaust in Literature, Bible as Literature, Multicultural Literature, Public Speaking and Theatre Arts.
“I can’t imagine teaching any place else,” Mr. Schwendemann said last year. “From day one I was accepted into the high school community. I love my colleagues and most of all the kids. Some days they make it hard to love them, but that passes quickly. The support I have received from all parts of the administration is unparalleled.”
Mr. Schwendemann has graced the stages of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where he worked with Michael Emerson and Norbert Leo Butz, the Roundabout Theatre Company, The Folger Shakespeare Library Theatre with Allison Fraser, The Fringe Festival, Genesis Repertory Theatre and The New York City Opera as well as the Suffolk Theatre in Riverhead. He recently shot two episodes of The Godfather of Harlem TV series and one episode of Evil Lives Here, another TV series. Both are expected to air in the spring.
As the faculty advisor to Huntington’s Class of 2006 and Class of 2010, Mr. Schwendemann maintains fond memories of those particular groups of graduates.
The drama club continues to energize the veteran educator. “The club has given me more happy memories than I can count,” Mr. Schwendemann said.