Theatre Review - How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


The slings, arrows, and folly of the workplace hits the stage in the comedy musical at Playhouse on the Square.

Playhouse on the Square is currently running How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying through September 4th. This fun comedy/musical is based on the 1952 book of the same name by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert. The story follows a window washer named J. Pierrepont Finch who has attained a book that tells step-by-step instruction on how to succeed in business simply by being charming; apparently, no real work is required to get ahead.

The production is filled with some really great performances. Finch is played wonderfully by Jordan Nichols. Rosemary Pilkington, office secretary and love interest to Finch, is played adorably by Andrea Rouch. Rosemary performs a song called "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm" and reveals aspirations of housewife bliss with Finch in a suburban mansion.

But the performance that really steals the show is that of the sniveling, whiny CEO’s nephew Bud Frump, masterfully played by Nick Mason. Mason plays the nepotistic Frump in the most maniacally Machiavellian manner. He’s awful to Finch, but one can’t help but love him.

There’s a great array of songs, the most memorable being "A Secretary is Not a Toy." With the 60s office theme and company men being very handsy with the office girls, it was like watching a stage version of Mad Men.

Though set more than 40 years ago, the story itself holds pretty true for corporate environments today. Nepotism, backstabbing, and achieving the American Dream by climbing to the top of the ladder by any means is portrayed all too well for us cubicle dwellers.

The scene designs by Jimmy Humphries has a bright, fun, vintage feel. I also enjoyed the Kimberly Faith Hickman’s choreography and “Doing the Freddie” style dances.

On a side note, this was my first time to see a play at the new Playhouse on the Square and I was completely awed by the space. It definitely made me want to come back for future performances.

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© 2013 by Kimberly Faith Hickman. All rights reserved