How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Everything old is new again, it seems: The nostalgia for the Mad Men era has led to a Broadway resurrection of this 1961 gem, and now, Runaway Stage Productions produces an energetic and warm version of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying—an only semisatirical look at the world of business.
Yes, it does turn out that how you present yourself counts in the corporate world, and who you know turns out to be worth more than what you know. While some things have changed—a handful of female executives, a little more workplace diversity—songs like “A Secretary Is Not a Toy” are still relevant.
This production benefits from the charisma and energy of David Holmes as J. Pierrepont Finch, the window washer who uses a how-to book to move up from the mailroom to the penthouse in a mega-corporation. He’s in almost every scene—usually at its center—and certainly Holmes works much harder than his character does.
Finch’s love interest, Rosemary (played by the tuneful Gillian Tarkington), is a secretary who longs for marriage and a house in New Rochelle—even though she knows how isolating that life will be. Great supporting characters include Levi Fuentes as Bud Frump, the boss’ scheming nephew; Cassie March as Hedy LaRue, the boss’s mistress; and Brent Null as the bombastic boss.
Directed and choreographed by Darryl Strohl, the actors dance with enough energy to strain the seams on those suits and dresses. While still plagued with sound difficulties in a few spots, that’s offset by the dance sets, the gorgeous period costuming by Gina Coyle, and the resident orchestra, under the direction of Deann Golz.