After three months of hard work and preparation, the Arts House Theater production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying finally hit the stage last night. The 17 cast members performed the musical comedy for an audience of 40 last night in the Houston Hall Auditorium. The play tells the story of J. Pierrepont Finch, a window washer, played by College senior Tom McManus, and his attempt to climb the corporate ladder with the aid of a "how-to book." But this is not the typical interpretation of the play. The group has made a few changes to the classic. According to the show's director, Grace Esteban, this version parodies the business world of the 1980s, as opposed to the original, which takes place in the 50s. "We have invested some of our own history into [the show] in order to make it more modern," said the College senior. Esteban said she feels this adaptation of the play makes it easy for everyone at the University to relate to it. Another difference in this version is the addition of the character called Book Voice, played by Engineering sophomore Justin Parkhurst, as a stage personality. This character is an off-stage voice in the original. The music has also undergone a major transformation. Big hits from the 80s and 90s have been injected into the show's background music. "The music is going to have a touch of nostalgia to it," said musical director and College senior Crae Morton. "[It] works well with the themes of the show." The show also features a nostalgic make-up style. "This is the first time frosted lipstick and big hair have been seen on stage since 1985," noted College freshman Ian O'Donnell, who plays Bud Frump. "It will be interesting to see what people who know the show will think of all our changes," Parkhurst said. The show's producer, College sophomore Heather Gimbel, said Arts House Theater chose to perform this play because it is a light and fun comedy. "The main message of the show is to live life, have fun and not to take it all so seriously," she said. "You leave the theater feeling good." There was an apparent chemistry among the theater group. "It was fun to work with such a tight-knit cast," said College freshman Brett Lovins, who plays Bret Bratt. "We were all like one big family." Cast members and audience members felt the show went really well. "I think the audience enjoyed it," said College senior Richard Leit, who played Mr. Twimble and Wally Womper. "It's a show everyone at Penn can relate to. "This is the first Penn musical I've been, and I was really surprised by how good it was," commented College freshman Shira Sokal. How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying will be playing in the Houston Hall Auditorium tonight, as well as April 8 and 9. Showtime is at 8 p.m. Tickets are being sold on Locust Walk for $5 each. A rate of $4 each is available for groups of 10 or more.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.