Last night, I had the pleasure to see the the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as performed by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC. Those boys up there were having so much fun that it was hard to resist the musical’s charm.
The show tells of J. Pierrepont Finch’s (played charmingly by Rinaldo Martinez) rise from window washer to Vice President of Advertising at the World Wide Wicket Company, with the help of an instruction book called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Filled with ambition, he faces competition with Bud Frump (L. Owen Taggart), nephew of WWWC’s President J.B. Biggley (Michael Aylward).
One of the neat things about this particular production was that almost all the female characters were made into male characters. In this case, Finch’s love interest Ms. Rosemary Pilkington became Mr. Pilkington (Paul Negron). The only “female” character in this show was Biggley’s secretary Miss Jones (played in drag with much charm and assertiveness by D’Andrew Parker). As GMC Artistic Director Thea Kano explains, this decision was made to make a statement on equality in these politically charged times. Reread the title again, and then think about who in America that might apply to right now.
Martinez was definitely the standout as Finch. His earnestness and beautiful voice made him the ideal Finch. In the song “Rosemary,” where Finch discovers his feelings for the character of the same name, Martinez commanded with his charm and beautiful voice. Other standouts include Shawn Morris as Hedy LaRue, Mr. Biggley’s scandalous mistress who later becomes Finch’s secretary and Michael Dumlao as Smitty, a fellow secretary at WWWC.
The creative team consisted of the GMC Artistic Director Thea Kano and Eric Peterson directing, Music Direction by Jason Sherlock, and Choreographer Craig Cipollini. With a cast of more than 50 men, the ensemble songs sounded full and polished. The dancing was also quite impressive, particularly towards the end during the song “Brotherhood of Man.”
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC succeeded in making this musical theatre classic a crowd pleaser.
Running Time: Approximately 3 hours, with a 15-minute intermission.
How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying has one more performance tomorrow March 12, 2017 at 3 PM Lincoln Theatre – 1215 U Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (877) 435-9849, or purchase them online.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC performs How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying March 10-12, 2017, at The Lincoln Theatre – 1215 U Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (877) 435-9849, or purchase them online. The show has one more performance tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM.
Meet the Cast: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’: Part One: Michael Aylward by Joel Markowitz.
Meet the Cast of The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’: Part Two: Shawn Morris by Joel Markowitz.
Meet the Cast: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.’ Part Three: Rinaldo Martinez by Joel Markowitz.