Saturday, June 18, 2011

How To Succeed In Business And Have Fun Doing It

Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two from J. Pierrpont Finch. By following the rules put forth in a little book called How To Succeed In Business, Finch quickly rises from the mailroom to Chairman of the Board of World Wide Wickets. He never lies (he lets others speculate about one thing or another, but he doesn't actually lie); he thinks on his feet; he gives others their due (which may or may not work out for the other person): he's focused on a goal. The only thing in the little book he doesn't follow is the falling in love part. And we're happy about that.

Yes, I just saw Broadway's revival of the Frank Loesser musical "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying." I'm here to say it was simply wonderful. I was looking for something light-hearted, sing-alongable, colorful, and that's exactly what I found at the Hirshfeld Theatre this afternoon. It's the 50th anniversary of the show, the third rendition (Robert Morse originated the role in 1961; and remember Matthew Broderick's Finch in the 1995 revival?), and stars Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette. And that's Anderson Cooper's voice reading excerpts from "the book."

Yes, Daniel Radcliffe can sing and dance and talk like an American. No mention of Voldemort in the entire production. And John Larroquette's comedic skills are perfect for J.B. Biggley. The whole production - songs, sets, cultural references, costumes - are a yummy throwback to the early 1960s. So the secretaries wear delicious little dresses, suits, hats, and gloves - very Mad Men, but much more colorful. The set is a corporate vari-colored honeycomb. And I think I was the only person in the audience that got the reference to Metrecal. The only current cultural reference I caught was Finch declaring his love for Rosemary by jumping up and down on the couch Tom Cruise-style.

And what an energetic show! Almost every number is full-out all-singing, all-dancing, all-working up a sweat. Man, am I tired! Here's a little sneak preview:

At the curtain call the cast did a little reprise of "Brotherhood of Man," with the audience singing along. Just another something I can add to my resume, with singing on Broadway with Liza Minelli (Spamalot) and my Broadway stage debut at Spring Awakening. So now I'm feeling all Broadway-comfy-cozy. Yum.

Oh, aren't you proud to be
In that fraternity?
The great big Brotherhood of Man!


Joy Des Jardins said...

I saw "Brotherhood of Man" performed on the Tony Award show with this cast....loved it. I know I'd love this show. You mention Mad Men...I remember when Robert Morse starred in it years he's on Mad Men.

MaryB said...

I know, Joy! Let's face it, How To Succeed . . . *was* the first Mad Men. Funny that Morse has been/is in both. Yes, you'd love this. Lots of fun. Hummable tunes. Great cast.