Stage Door News

Grand Bend: Cindy Williams will appear in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at the Huron Country Playhouse June 5-22

Monday, March 18, 2019

The bustling beach town of Grand Bend will be even busier this June as a beloved Hollywood star arrives in town. Iconic television actor Cindy Williams, best known for her role as Shirley Feeney on the classic sitcom Laverne & Shirley will play the role of Mrs. Meers in Drayton Entertainment's production of the hit Broadway musical comedy, Thoroughly Modern Millie. The production launches the 2019 Season at the Huron Country Playhouse running from June 5 to June 22 on the Mainstage.

"Cindy Williams is a cherished star and a celebrated comedienne. I am thrilled that she's coming to the Huron Country Playhouse to take on this hilarious role in Thoroughly Modern Millie - Grand Bend audiences are in for a real treat," says Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment. "Laverne & Shirley is treasured by many generations, and Cindy's enduring appeal and legendary talent are a terrific fit for this fun-filled production."

A popular 70s television series, Laverne & Shirley explored the antics of best friends, roommates and polar opposites Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney as they coped with dating, neighbours, and each other. Running for 8 seasons from 1976 to 1983, the series made stars out of Williams and her co-star Penny Marshall, who passed away in December. With high ratings, Laverne & Shirley became the most-watched television program in America by its third season, and was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award in 1979.

Williams' considerable talents also translate behind the camera, as co-producer of the smash hits Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride II, both starring Steve Martin.

An accomplished stage performer, Williams made her Broadway debut as the daffy Mrs. Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone in 2007, and also appeared in the national tours of Grease, Deathtrap, and Moon Over Buffalo.

In Thoroughly Modern Millie, Williams will make a marked departure from her sweet and charming image to play the hilarious villain Mrs. Meers, a quirky and wicked hotel owner, who is secretly involved in a sinister business scheme.

Thoroughly Modern Millie will be directed and choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld, who has helmed many productions for Drayton Entertainment including Holiday Inn, Anything Goes, Damn Yankees and more. Lichtefeld will be joined by Music Director Steve Thomas, Set Designer Ivan Brozic, Costume Coordinator Jessica Pembleton, and Lighting Designer Kevin Fraser.

In addition to Williams, the company for Thoroughly Modern Millie will also feature Jayme Armstrong as Millie Dillmount, Billy Lake as Jimmy Smith, Brent Thiessen as Trevor Graydon, and Kayla James as Miss Dorothy Brown. Matthew Armet, Carla Bennett, J. Sean Elliott, Christina Gordon, Josh Graetz, Gabrielle Jones, Ryota Kaneko, Shelley Kenney, David Light, Melanie McInenly, Luke Opdahl, Reece Rowat, Neil Salinas, Jennifer Thiessen and Margaret Thompson round out the stellar cast.

"This is a rare opportunity to see a talented Hollywood artist live on stage," says Mustakas. "To see this calibre of performer in a charming theatre housed in a century-old barn, minutes away from the sparkling shores of Lake Huron, makes this a truly unique theatre experience not to be missed."

Based on the 1967 film of the same name, Thoroughly Modern Millie opened on Broadway to great acclaim in 2000 winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Featuring a score of brassy jazz-inspired hits like "Not for the Life of Me," "Forget about the Boy," and the title tune, this twenties-inspired song-and-dance musical is popular with audiences around the world.

Photo: Cindy Williams.