Christine Meglino doesn't like to stay too busy moonlighting as a musical theater star these days, but the opportunity to play the title character in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" wasn't something she could just let go.
"I've had the soundtrack on my phone for years and years," said Meglino, who plays Millie Dillmount in the Not So Common Players production of the musical" beginning Friday and running through two weekends at Clifton Common. "I love the music a lot. It's got great songs and it's great for dancers, and that's part of what makes it so appealing to me."
A 2006 Guilderland High graduate and recent addition to the English department at Colonie High School, Meglino played Sister Mary Robert in the Schenectady Light Opera Company production of "Sister Act" in May.
"I have a new teaching job and things are kind of super busy in my life right now," said Meglino, who majored in TV, radio and film at Syracuse University. "But this is a show I really wanted to do, as was 'Sister Act' at SLOC. I'll take a little break after I'm done with this show."
While she was very familiar with the music, Meglino has not seen the popular 1967 movie with Jill Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore or any stage production of the show. Director Jill Ross, however, has.
"The thing I really like about the story is that it focuses on a person making a change in their life," said Ross, a Brunswick resident and a Catholic Central High School graduate. "So many times, things happen to us that force us to change, but this is about a woman who makes the choice to change. It's an exciting story."
Millie Dillmount is a young woman determined to make a better life for herself. So she leaves Salina, Kansas, and heads to New York City.
"It takes place in 1920, she is 29 years old and she thinks that marrying a rich man will solve all of her problems," Meglino said of Millie. "She goes to New York with this plan to get a job and marry her boss, have a lot of money and that will make her happy. But then, of course, she meets a guy who doesn't have a lot of money, and she falls in love with him."
The movie earned seven Oscar nominations and won for Best Original Score (Elmer Bernstein). The original Broadway production in 2002 was based on the Hollywood film, earned 11 Tony nominations and won six, including Best Musical and Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Sutton Foster). Jeanine Tesori wrote the music, Dick Scanlan the lyrics, and Scanlan and Richard Morris the book. A few standards by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Kahn were also included in the movie soundtrack.
Meglino, says Ross, is perfect for the role of Millie.
"She brings a quirkiness and a realness to every role she plays," Ross said of Meglino. "She's done a lot of performing in this area, I've seen her a lot and she's also a joy to work with."
Onstage with Meglino are Kaeli Heffner as Miss Dorothy Brown and James Alexander as Trevo Graydon.
For Ross, "Thoroughly Modern Millie" is her directorial debut for the Not So Common Players.
"I've played in the pit orchestra and done a fair amount of stage managing," said Ross, an RPI grad who works at the state Thruway Authority. "This is my first time directing and, it's a whole different take."
'Thoroughly Modern Millie'
WHERE: Not So Common Players, 14 Clifton Common Court, Clifton Park
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday; 8 p.m. July 19-22
HOW MUCH: Free
MORE INFO: 518-371-6667, or visit Not So Common Players on Facebook