Tuesday October 25th 2016

“How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”

H2$-HPS-2Highly Recommended ***** I am often asked why they don’t create musicals
like the good old days? The answer is fairly easy- the people who wrote
the music , lyrics and stories are no longer here to create the lovely
musicals that have an audience humming and dancing as they exit the
theater. Yes, in the “good old days”, before the world became
sophisticated via the Internet, we went to the theater to escape from
the reality of life and to have a good time. Let’s go back to those
thrilling days of yesteryear ( the 1960’s/ which by the way were my
golden days during college) as Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire puts on
its stage the Tony Award winning “How To Succeed In Business Without
Really Trying” based on the book by Shepherd Mead with a book by Abe
Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert and Music and Lyrics by Frank
Loesser ( think “Guys and Dolls and you know just how great the songs are).

Smoothly directed by Don Stephenson, this stirring and funny musical,
which normally relies on a massive set, being in the round, has very
little in the way of scenery. Yes, there is the window washer utility
lift and a few desks used to create the office and some cleverly
designed units (Thomas M. Ryan surely knows his limitations on this
stage) and some solid dance numbers choreographed by Melissa Zaremba. As
always the musical direction is by Ryan T. Nelson and the orchestra is
conducted by Patti Garwood. The lighting by Jesse Klug is flawless, the
sound by Robert E. Gilmartin perfect and the properties by Sally Weiss
as solid as one can expect. The costumes, as always . are based on the
original 1960’s Broadway production by Catherine Zuber, and the Marriott
staff of seamstresses has done a remarkable job of duplicating each and
every one of them.hts1

This is a show that I am very familiar with having been in several
productions, the last one in Buffalo Grove where I took on the role of
J.B. Biggley and watching Terry Hamilton bring a different flavor to the
role was a truly wonderous sight. Hamilton is now known for his musical
prowess, but since he has spread his wings, he has shown that he is up
to the task! The story is about a young man, J. Pierrpont Finch ( Ari
Butler is amazing in this role) who with the help of his book (the title
of the show) is planning to rise to the top of the corporate world by
trickery and deceit). He falls into a company, the World Wide Wicket
Company ( we never learn what a wicket is/or do we care) where Biggley
rules the roost. It is the characters, in particular the male characters
(after all this is the 60’s) that cover the stereo-types many of us
remember. Younger audience members may not understand some of the
nuances of the times. (there was NO Internet/Google or social media).

“Finch is assisted up the corporate ladder by Rosemary Pilkington (the
lovely Jessica Naimy, who you will fall in love with) who finds him her
perfect match. The other members of the secretarial pool feel that she
is their “Cinderella finding the Prince (“Cinderella Darling”). The head
secretary is Smitty (deliciously played by Marya Grandy) and the highest
ranking secretary, Miss Jones is played to sheer perfection by Chicago
favorite Felicia Fields, who gets the entire cast and audience rocking
during her portion of “Brotherhood of Man”. During Finch’s rise to the
top, he steps over Biggley’s nerdy nephew Bud Frump ( notice the satire
in the writing) who is played by Alex Goodrich. Goodrich is one of the
finest comedic actors in this area. He can sing, dance and handles
comedy with the best. He certainly has taken on this role and made it
his own!how1-1-1140x450

One of the problems with this show is that people doing it tend to
imitate the original actors, Robert Morse, Rudy Vallee, Charles Nelson
Reilly (movie version) and I am thankful that Stephenson took the better
road. Each actor developed the character as they saw him or her and that
makes for a special performance for the audience, familiar or
first-timers. One of the other notable characters are Biggley’s
girlfriend, Hedy La Rue (a dynamite portrayal by Angela Ingersoll) who
steals several scenes just by walking on the stage-WOW!!! Perfect
casting! Another super job was Neil Friedman as Mr. Gatch (and a
policeman in the second act),Derek Hasenstab as Mr. Twimble (the head of
the mailroom) and later as Wally Womper (chairman of the board), and an
incredible Mr. Bratt as played by Jason Grimm, a true gem!

The ensemble makes this show work, so hats off to: Richard Strimer,
Paris Alexander Nesbitt, Andrew Malone, Alejamdro Fonseca, Ericka Mac,
Erica A Lewis, Laura Savage, Brandon Springman, Kristina Larson,
Alexandra Palkovic, Allison and last but not least, Jeff Pierpoint! The
voice of the book is Emily Loesser ( a familiar name doing a familiar
play). This is a solid production that shows just how powerful the good
old musicals were. No one walked out of the theater with less than a
smile on their face- even after 2 hours and forty-five minutes (there is
a 15 minute intermission). This is one to put on your MUST SEE list.
Again this is an all-star cast headed by an enormous Ari Butler as
“Finch”. Do not miss this one!

“How To Succeed” will continue at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire
located at ten Marriott Drive (just south of Half Day Road/Route 22 and
east of Milwaukee Avenue/Route 21) through October 16th with
performances as follows:

how2-150x150Wednesdays 1 p.m and 8 p.m.

Thursdays 8 p.m.

Fridays 8 p.m.

Saturdays 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

                                          Sundays 1 and 5 p.m.

Tickets range from $50- $55 (a true value) there is student and senior
discounts and some dining opportunities on the grounds. To order your
tickets visit www.Ticketmaster.com, or http://www.MarriottTheatre.comor
call 847-634-0200

Plenty of free parking on the grounds as well as valet parking at the
theater doors.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to
Review Round-Up and click at “How To Succeed In Business Without Really

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