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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

How to succeed in the real world

If you’re looking to get your Broadway fix, attending the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” should definitely be  on your to-do list. The show, hosted by the Grinnell High School, is filled to the brim with great entertainment, featuring a swelling orchestra, colorful costumes and show-stopping all-cast numbers.

The musical chronicles the life of J. Pierrepont Finch, played by John Stark, who, guided by the book “How to Succeed Without Really Trying,” rises from a window washer to a high-powered executive. In his professional journey he must confront the corporate pitfalls of disloyal co-workers and his boss’s nepotism, but also finds true love along the way.

Actresses in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” take to the stage during a dress rehearsal earlier in the week. Photograph by Emma Sinai-Yunker

“Finch is the protagonist that no one cares for—but there’s something about him—deep down he has that sort of cutesy little smile and you can’t help but love him.”

The musical, which is filled with witty comments, aims to make fun of its many characters and their frustration in the workplace.

“Even though the show is an old piece, it perfectly describes corporate America today” Stark said. “The sarcasm and the angst, it is really relatable to today’s society.”

“I think we do a good job honoring the nature of the show,” said Liz Hansen, the director. “We’re not taking ourselves seriously, we’re not taking the show seriously, but we are doing a serious job with it and having fun with it.”

For Hansen, the main focus of the show was bringing forth a sense of unity in the cast of seventy-two students.

“The real strength of the show is the enthusiasm that everyone has. There’s just this collective spirit that they bring to it.”

Sarah Etheridge, a chorus member, focused on the necessity of the involvement of all actors.

“I think one of the main goals in the show was trying to incorporate the chorus as much as possible and make them feel like they’re important,” she said. “We’ve been there every single rehearsal so we kind of feel more connected with the whole cast.”

Stark also commented on the communal feel of the show specifically in reference to the song “Brotherhood of Men.”

“At the end of the five minute song full of intensive choreography and challenging singing parts, you feel such elation, because everyone is there together, and you get that sort of intense happiness that you only get through community work,” he said. “You can’t put into words how awesome it is to perform that sort of a number, you will see when you come to the show, we all have these huge smiles plastered on our faces at the end of it.”

“How to Succeed” sounds like it will definitely be a success.

Tickets for “How to Succeed” are being sold at McNally’s for $12 or you can purchase them for $15 at the door.

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  • J

    Jon SchreibfederMar 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    The author would probably appreciate it if you had the right name for the play, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”