HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS AT GOODSPEED

By Marlene S. Gaylinn

 “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” is a lighthearted musical comedy about climbing the corporate ladder without having any particular business skill.   Featuring music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert and based on a book by Shepherd Mead, the show won 7 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  Although set in 1962, “How to Succeed…” is particularly amusing because it also relates to our present political system.  Many of us realize how the inept are sometimes able to rise to power solely because of money, influence, popular charm and showmanship.

Here we have a former window washer who rises from mail clerk to Chairman of the Board by simply following the steps written in a self-help manual and using his charm.  It’s a simple tale that is being presented with face-paced, rollicking fun at Goodspeed Opera House.

Brian Sears, a man of many comical facial and bodily expressions, constantly grasps your attention as the corporate climber, J. Pierrepont Finch.  He is surrounded by lively, office stereotypes.   “Rosemary” (Natalie Bradshaw) is Finch’s charming love interest.  Ronn Carroll as boss “J. B. Biggley,” marvelously recreates his former Broadway role.   Nicolette Hart is “Hedy LaRue” who naturally gets rewarded through her sexual expertise and Tom Deckman clownishly pulls favoritism as the boss’ nephew.

It’s seldom that the scenery plays an equal role in a production.  Adrian W. Jones, who formerly won a Connecticut Critics Circle Award, again deserves outstanding praise for his innovative, sliding panels that magically converted a lobby, complete with elevators, to separate office spaces with varied entrances and exits.  Making the most of Goodspeed’s comparatively small stage, he accomplished an unmatched feat and still managed to allow room for some lively dancing created by Kelli Barclay, Associate Choreographer of “42nd Street.”

You will certainly enjoy the familiar songs:  “I Believe in You” and the joyfully rousing “Brotherhood of Man” which will have you singing all the way home.

Plays through Nov. 28    Goodspeed is in East Haddam                        Tickets:  860-873-2329

This review appears in “On Connecticut Theatre” / November 2010

 

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