“How To Succeed” gets wrong right
“How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” is an opportunity to get some distance from and laugh at the same set of attitudes, expectations, and entitlements that tanked the American economy. The thesis: Success isn't about what you know. It's about who you lunch with and what you know about who you lunch with. It's American Psycho with fluffy musical numbers in lieu of bloodbaths: good medicine for those who are depressed about the latest Depression.
Jordan Nichols is perfectly bland (in a good way) as Finch, the window washer who, by following the rules in a self-help book, is able to smile, glad-hand, and backstab his way to the top, only to discover he has no idea what he's doing. Nichols is supported by an outstanding cast that includes a crusty Ken Zimmerman as a philandering CEO and Nick Mason as his nerdy nephew Bud Frump.
A lot has changed since 1961, but, vintage gender roles and all, How To Succeed seems ageless. The Frank Loesser score is no less timely.