BY LORI LEMOINE
Art imitating life or life imitating art? In 1952, Shepherd Mead published this humorous little “how to” guide amid the fervor of self-help instructional guides and videos for the everyday person. How to Succeed was based on Mead’s experiences working in an advertising firm in 1936, where he climbed the corporate ladder from mailroom clerk to vice president.
Growing so popular that it inspired the original musical in 1961, the play transformed into a movie by the same name in 1967. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, the Musical takes the guidance from the original book and brilliantly uses it to satirize office life in the United States. The original musical won an incredible seven Tony Awards, The New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for best drama.
Differing from the instructional guide, the musical written by Dr. Jacob Weinstock, Willie Gilbert and Abe Burrows, with music by Frank Loesser, incorporates the story of Mead into the journey of J. Pierrepont Finch.
An eager young man, Finch climbs the ladder from window washer to chairman of the board of the World Wide Wicket Corporation in just two weeks, while using the advice from the little self-help guide.
Cleverly portrayed by Shoestring Theatre newcomer Boone Lynch, Pierrepont Finch navigates his way to the top from his initial position in the mailroom led by 25-year employee Mr. Twimble (David Vance). He triumphs through both the nepotism of the company’s president, J.B. Biggley (David Santiago) and nephew Bud Frump (Joshua Freeman), and the enticement of the boss’s mistress Hedy LaRue (Andrea O’Reilly).
Finch even finds love in his budding relationship with secretary Rosemary Pilkington (Eli Alexander). Rosemary’s best pal, Smitty (Brianna Gutierrez), Biggley’s secretary Mrs. Jones (Penney Friedrich), and fellow executives Mr. Bratt (Robert Sollien) and Mr. Gatch (Wren Alexander) humorously spoof the misogyny of the corporate atmosphere.
Director Kirsten Kiwior-Taylor, music director Anne Sollien and co-director and choreographer Andrea O’Reilly have brought the “Company Way” to life with the talented cast of executives: Richard Jones, Addison Bell, D’Montrae Harris, Brandon Jackson, David Finkle and Joseph Myers, and secretaries Mary Kelly Reimel, Lauren Robinson, Sophie Mercado, Collette Martin and Dahlys Lorenz. The talented Amberly Hartley leads the cast as dance captain and fellow secretary. You do not want to miss this fabulous cast!
The show opens Friday, Sept. 1, and will run at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2:30 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 17.
Tickets are on sale now at www.shoestringtheatre.net and cost $22 for adults and $20 for senior citizens. Student tickets cost $17 and must be purchased through the box office.
The box office is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Shoestring Theatre is at 380 S. Goodwin St. in Lake Helen.
See you at the theater!