Music Theatre Works HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS Review – Climbing the Ladder

The curtain rises after the overture, and swinging above the stage from his window washers seat is J. Pierrepont Finch. He flicks water off his window squeegee and pulls out a yellow book - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

We hear a voice overhead proclaiming Finch can rise to the top of any business, all he has to do is follow this book’s every piece of advice.

And so he sheds his workman’s jumpsuit and enters into the fast-paced business world of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING.

Music Theatre Works and 1000-Watt Smiles

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS is a fun, upbeat musical with many light hearted jokes. Music Theatre Works delivers on that fun and light hearted goal with their production, in this reviewer's view.

Ken Singleton plays the leading man with the exact charm and wit you’d expect from Finch using his people skills to work his way up the corporate ladder. He delivers an energetic performance complete with a 1000-watt smile. Put him together with Rick Rapp as the head honcho of World Wide Wickets and the two give us a fierce and funny Fighting Groundhogs school chant.

The leading ladies also have us chuckling with Maisie Rose as Smitty trying to manage the shenanigans within the office and Nicole Armold trying everything to keep Finch’s attention to no avail.

Music Theatre Works HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
Ken Singleton (J. Pierrepont Finch) and Michael Swisher (Bratt) Photo: Brett Beiner
Music Theatre Works HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
Ken Singleton (J. Pierrepont Finch), Kirk Swenk (Wally Womper) and cast Photo: Brett Beiner
Music Theatre Works HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
Liz Norton (Miss Jones) and cast Photo: Brett Beiner

Delivers that 60s Feel

The set and costumes transport us to the 60s and make us feel we're right in the middle of a big business office. The wood paneling, gold stripe accents, and primary color doors make us feel like this office is straight out of Madmen.

The fedoras, the variety of the suit styles, the mod style mini dresses, and the shellacked hair with headbands also give us that groovy feeling like we’re could be in that old school business environment.

Classic Take

Like this writer, you too may conclude that Music Theatre Works production of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS is just about as classic as they come. There’s not a lot of newness to this production, so if you’re looking for a new show or one with a little more punch this might not be the best fit for you. However if you’re a fan of classic musicals, this would be a good pick for you.

Music Theatre Works HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
Nancy Hays (Hedy LaRue), Rick Rapp (J.B. Biggley) and Jake Stempel (Bud Frump) Photo: Brett Beiner

RECOMMENDED

Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

CAST

Ken Singleton
Rick Rapp
Nancy Hays
Jake Stempel
Nicole Armold
Liz Norton
Peter Sagal

 

CREATIVE

Rudy Hogenmiller
Roger L. Bingaman
Clayton Cross
Christopher Rhoton
Shane Cinal
Sanja Manakoski
Andrew H. Meyers
Aaron Quick
Alice Salazar
Bob Silton
Madeline M. Scott
Jim Davis

When

Now through June 16, 2019
Saturday June 8 at 8:00pm
Sunday June 9 at 2:00pm
Wednesday June 12 at 8:00pm
Friday June 14 at 8:00pm
Saturday June 15 at 8:00pm
Sunday June 16 at 8:00pm

Where

Cahn Auditorium
600 Emerson Street
Evanston, IL

Tickets

$34+

Full price tickets can be purchased through the Music Theatre Works website or by calling (847) 920-5360

Photos

Brett Breiner

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago

Music Theatre Works HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
Ken Singleton (J. Pierrepont Finch) Photo: Brett Beiner
Alexis Bugajski Photo: Liz Lin

About the Author

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

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