A Fine Arts Academy Brings High School Quality to Middle School Shows.

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The Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts held its last performance of a classic musical Friday.

"Thoroughly Modern Millie Junior" is FWAFA’s most recent musical. The “junior” refers to the material being condensed for performance by a younger cast.

The show is FWAFA’s attempt to bring the quality of their high school shows to the middle school level.

In the lead role of Millie Dillmount was eighth-grader Molly Morgan.

“We’ve been rehearsing in class every day for two months,” she said.

As the leading lady, Morgan said she takes her preparation very seriously.

“Always before a show, I’ll go backstage, meditate myself and just become the character.”

Julie Andrews was the original Millie in the 1967 film directed by George Roy Hill. In 2002 it became the basis for a hit Broadway show with music by Jeanine Tesori and lyrics by Dick Scanlan.

"Millie" ran from February 22 to 23 with a final performance of the show for FWAFA students and faculty Friday.

“This is a little bigger than what we’ve been doing,” said principal Craig Schreckengast. “The quality of performances at the middle school level is pretty amazing compared to what you might see if you went to another school play.”

"Millie" was directed by Andrea Burghart, a musical theater and dance teacher who worked with two student directors, three choreographers and a cast of middle schoolers (each playing one of two characters, depending on the performance) to bring the show to life.

“This is the first full-scale middle school musical we’ve done,” said Burghart. “This is 40 kids double cast and rehearsed within a class. It’s just more fully produced with lights, costume and sound.”

FWAFA’s next middle school theater program is "The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon," a non-musical that takes the stage on April 19.

Burghart said she is confident in the quality of her students’ talent.

“In general, a very large pool of talent exists in Fort Worth, and a lot of them go to this school,” said Burghart. “If you haven’t seen a FWAFA show, you really need to. You will be wowed and amazed.”

For more information on upcoming programs, visit FWAFA's official site.

Photo credits go to Anthony Crowley. 

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