Three members of the Franklin family take the stage in 'Thoroughly Modern Millie'

Performing together is a way of life for Lisa Franklin and her four kids.

When they're in the car, they rarely listen to the radio, instead belting out show tunes. At home, they frequently sing and dance. Family members have appeared alongside one another in more than 30 local productions, and they're moving toward their dream of appearing on Broadway together some day.

For now, though, the Loudonville family is sharing the stage at the Schenectady Light Opera Company.

Julia Franklin, a 17-year-old senior at the Academy of the Holy Names, is the lead in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and her mom and her brother Charles, a 16-year-old junior at Shaker High, have supporting roles.

"It's our family time," Julia said.

"We have just always worked together," Lisa said. "It's a lot of fun."

"Thoroughly Modern Millie," which wraps up its run at SLOC this weekend, is set in 1922. It centers on Millie Dillmount, who has arrived in New York intent on making it big in the Big Apple.

Lisa remembers seeing the show for the first time and thinking that with Julia's voice and personality, she could easily be the lead.

"I knew Julia was perfect for the part of Millie," she said. "I told her, 'You are Millie.'"

Director Jeffery Scott wasn't so sure. He was worried that Julia might be too young.

Her performance quickly won him over, though.

"She really knocked me out with what she did with the character," he said. "I think for her it really is a great part."

Landing the role was a dream come true for Julia, who said she was "dying to" play the part of Millie.

"I spent hours in my room singing to the CD," she said.

Lisa said her kids -- in addition to Julia and Charles, there's 12-year-old Emily and 8-year-old George -- all showed a natural interest in singing and dancing, which was a thrill for her. Lisa holds graduate degrees in opera and teaches voice both privately and at Holy Names. She took an 11-year hiatus from theater to raise her kids, and when she returned to the stage, Julia came with her. Lisa was the lead in the Family Players' production of "The King and I," and Julia, then in fourth grade, played a princess.

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