Much of the buzz over "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at 6th Street Playhouse centers on the cast — on title actress Rebekah Pearson's right arm.

She was hurt at a rehearsal of the musical just one week before opening night of the run that continues through May 25.

In an early scene, wide-eyed Millie arrives in New York City in 1922 and promptly gets mugged. A thug grabs her purse and they engage in a brief tug of war.

As the crook yanks the purse away, "Millie" drops back on her bum. But this night, director Craig Miller recounts, the stage adrenaline flowed and "the struggle for the purse was, shall we say, a little more spirited than it had been."

Pearson hurtled backward and extended her right arm to break her fall. A bone in her wrist snapped.

She never considered dropping out of the play. The first cast placed on her arm was a heavy, clunky, plaster thing, but now she wears a lighter, shorter fiberglass one.

"I just forget about it and go on with the show," said Pearson, an actress and dancer with as much "guts, pluck, charisma and moxie" as dear Millie.


<strong>JADON BLACK IS</strong> 6 and plucky, too.

As his first-grade class at Santa Rosa's Spring Creek School prepared to write to people around the U.S. for a "Flat Stanley" geography and lifestyles project, his mom, Heather, suggested he send his letter to a grandparent.

Jadon replied that he preferred for this occasion to write to the President of the United States. And he did.

He mailed Barack Obama a personal letter and a cutout of "Flat Stanley." As his classmates did with their correspondents, Jadon asked the president to take the two-dimensional Stanley with him as he went about his days and then, please, to mail Stanley back and report on what he'd seen and done.

The very first reply to reach teacher Sallie Brady's classroom was from The White House.

A swell letter bearing the President's signature said Stanley "joined me for meetings in the Oval Office." It noted that Stanley was surprised "by the important role reading, writing, math and science all play in my job.

"I can tell you with certainty that whatever path you choose, the things you learn in school and the extra reading and exploration you do outside of school will always be helpful to you in your life."

It may be that the overjoyed Jadon received such a quick, thoughtful reply because his letter to President Obama was so catchy.

"I am glad you are our boss!" the lad wrote. "We were so excited when you won that my dad broke a chair!"

<em>Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and</em>