Walnut Street Theatre Closes 205th Season With HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, Now thru 7/13
Walnut Street Theatre concludes its landmark 205th season with an all-new production of Broadway's Tony Award-winning Best Musical, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. Directed by Casey Hushion, with choreography by Michele Lynch, this musical extravaganza begins previews tonight, May 13th, opens on May 21st and runs through July 13th on the WST Mainstage.
A musical satire of 1960s big business and all it held sacred, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING follows the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch, who uses a little handbook called "How To Succeed In Business" to climb the corporate ladder from lowly window washer to high-powered executive. Along the way he tackles such familiar, but potent, dangers as the company man, the office party, backstabbing co-workers, caffeine addiction and, of course, true love. This blockbuster musical comedy features a beloved score packed with such hit standards as "I Believe in You," "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm," "The Company Way," "Been a Long Day," "Rosemary" and "Brotherhood of Man."
Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Shepherd Mead, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING the musical was written by Frank Loesser, with a book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert. Loesser and Burrows had worked together previously to create the 1952 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Guys and Dolls. Their success continued following the 1961 Broadway premiere of HOW TO SUCCEED..., which was awarded seven Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. A film version was released in 1967, which saw many of the original Broadway cast reprising their roles. The show had a 1995 Broadway revival with Matthew Broderick as Finch and Megan Mullally as Rosemary. A second revival celebrated the show's 50th Anniversary in 2011 with Daniel Radcliffe as Finch.
Casey Hushion is thrilled to return to the Walnut as Director, having directed its 2011 hit production, BUDDY- THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY. Hushion was Assistant Director on Broadway for In the Heights and The Drowsy Chaperone, and Associate Director for Elf, To Be or Not To Be and Good Vibrations. Off-Broadway, she directed Fat Camp, the musical and was Associate Director for Anyone Can Whistle. Regionally, Hushion has worked with Goodspeed Opera House, Paper Mill Playhouse, Ogunquit Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, Casa Mañana and Music Theatre of Wichita. She is also the Artistic Director of North Carolina Theatre, where she has directed over 20 productions. Hushion is joined by local Music Director Douglass G. Lutz (In the Heights, Elf).
New to the Walnut, Michele Lynch joins the creative team as Choreographer. Lynch served as Choreographer on Broadway for Everyday Rapture and The Coast of Utopia, was Associate Choreographer for Hairspray and Assistant Choreographer for Urinetown and The Full Monty. Off-Broadway, she choreographed Little Miss Sunshine. Her credits extend beyond the stage, including the 2014 film The Last Five Years and Joyful Noise, starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah. Lynch also choreographed Dolly Parton's Better Day World Tour.
From mailrooms to executive suites, in the spirit of 1960's styles, the design team has created a colorful world full of dreams and romance for HOW TO SUCCEED.... Scenic Designer Robert Andrew Kovach (Elf, The Music Man, The King and I) is joined by Lighting Designer Paul Black (In the Heights, The Music Man), Costume Designer Lisa Zinni (Grease) and Sound Designer Craig Beyrooti (Grease).
As the lowly window washer looking for an easy rise to success, J. Pierrepont Finch will be played by Jeremy Morse. Morse is making his Walnut debut alongside Becky Gulsvig who is playing his love interest, Rosemary Pilkington. Gulsvig's Broadway credits include Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray, and Leilani in the original cast of Legally Blonde. Brian Shepard is making his Walnut debut as the scheming coworker with family connections, Bud Frump. The President of the company, J.B. Biggley, will be played by Walnut veteran Mark Jacoby (Fiddler on the Roof, 42nd Street). On Broadway, Jacoby was most recently seen as Walter Hobbs in Elf, with additional credits including the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, Show Boat, Sweeny Todd and Ragtime.
Biggley's secretary Miss Jones will be played by Joilet F. Harris (Hairspray), and the voluptuous Hedy La Rue will be played by Amy Bodnar (Mel Brooks' The Producers). Cary Michele Miller (Elf) joins the cast as Smitty, Jeffrey Coon (The Music Man) as Bert Bratt, Scott Langdon (Love Story, the musical) as Milt Gatch and Ed Ramonoff (The Sound of Music) as Mr. Twimble and Wally Womper. The ensemble includes Sandy Alvarez, Rachel Beiswenger, Rachel Camp, Drew Franklin, Scott Langdon, Ben Michael, Michael Philip O'Brien, Shannon Rafferty, Tara Tagliaferro, Lilly Tobin and Michael Warrell.
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING runs at the Walnut today, May 13 through July 13. Ticket prices vary by performance and range from $10-$95. Premium tickets are available for $175 (includes a tax deductible donation). For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.
Curtain times are Tuesday - Saturday evenings at 8PM, Sunday evenings (5/18, 5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/22, 7/6 and 7/13) at 7PM, Thursday matinees (5/29, 6/5, 6/12, 6/26, 7/3) at 2PM, Saturday matinees (5/17, 5/24, 6/7, 6/14, 6/21, 6/28, 7/5 and 7/12) at 2PM, and Sunday matinees at 2PM.
Photo Credit: Garett Schiefer and Holly Porch