Seven Angels Stage II (which is actually just the regular stage with community theatre productions on it) decided to try a production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The show recently closed on Broadway after a and their replacements. Director Tom Chute was able to secure the rights right away, making them the first community theater in the area to produce it; this is a great chance to see the show much closer to home.
The opening night house was not full, but the audience enjoyed the show. Part of the ticket sales goes to the WATR Sunshine Fund that helps needy families and children. Mr. Chute is the general manager and morning host at the radio station and this marks the 20th September show at Seven Angels that he has directed and often performed in.
The director has made some fine staging choices; the opening scene features "J. Pierrepont Finch" washing windows while the rest of the cast is behind a screen in tableau. The spotlight freeze frame is still effective. I especially enjoyed the numbers "Coffee Break" and "Brotherhood of Man." The costumes by Jimmy Johansmeyer and Lindsey Holcomb are very Mad Men and one particular green dress for "Miss Jones" is exquisite. Every member of the cast has numerous costume changes and the different colors of the same couture dress that the ladies wear to a party was interesting. The set features eight oval cutouts that are used effectively throughout.
The choreography by Jessica McQuiston is challenging and the cast rose to the challenge far better than I ever could. Musical direction is by the talented Sean Lewis and he is in the pit with three other musicians. Many of the cast members are making their Seven Angels debut and one their theatrical debut and they did a great job.
What a cast this is! Mr. Chute serves appropriately as the voice of the narrator. Lyle Ressler is great as "Mr. Gatch" and a member of the ensemble when that character is let go. Doreen Lopez and Madalyn Sheehy are very funny scrubwomen. Trisha Carr is a terrific "Smitty" in the perfect red wig and also served as dance captain. Jeff Savage is as good as always as "J.B. Biggley," while Jeannine Gallmeyer pulls off the sexy "Hedy LaRue" flawlessly and looks amazing while doing it.
As the lead character, Vincent McCoy is both wily and charming; he has a great voice and is a fine dancer. Laura Solocius is lovely as "Rosemary" and has a belt that doesn't really require a microphone. As "Bud Frump," Ian Galligan is a standout; this is a young man to watch. Another standout was the talented Marques Jerrell Ruff as the perfect "Mr. Bratt," the personel director. I remember these two young men from the audition process and was quite sure that they would snag a featured role. In the dual role of "Mr. Twimble/Wally Womper," traditionally given to a gifted comedian, is the wonderful Don Leona. He shines in both roles, and in the ensemble as well.
Overall this production is very well done. Some numbers were scaled back a tad, but are still effective. I really enjoyed seeing the finished product and kudos to everyone who worked hard to get it there.