BWW Review: HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING at Sandra Day O'Connor High School
When it comes to seeing high school theatre productions, some do not receive nearly as much credit and publicity as they deserve. It is so for Sandra Day O'Connor High School's How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, directed by Toni Fioramonti.
The production was put together in a short period of only five weeks, with about twenty rehearsals total, however, you would have never been able to tell from the overall splendor of the production.
The show had a strong opening featuring Ryan Ardelt as Finch, his facial expressions and energy lighting up the entire auditorium. During Rosemary, Ardelt caught myself and other audience members by surprise with an exemplary display of his dance skills, which is an unexpected but impressive and intriguing addition to Finch's character. His vocal skills were extraordinary, and beyond what I would expect from any high school graduate, especially being a high schooler myself. I can't wait to see where Ryan Ardelt goes, as I could tell from his notable performance, that he has a future in the theatre industry.
Chills were sent up my spine as Amy Alley (Rosemary) stepped onstage to perform a simple rendition of Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm, giving a Tony-worthy performance that captivated every single audience member. She continued this throughout the show, as several gasps were heard throughout the house each time she opened her mouth to sing. It was obvious she possessed a strong background in voice, with spectacular control over her dynamics and vibrato, and from head voice to belt, every vocal performance was impeccable.
Individual performances added to the overall splendor of the show, such as Riley Clark (Tackberry), as he appeared to soar during several dance numbers with his ease of movement, Brenna Kottmann (Hedy LaRue) who held the eyes of everyone in the audience (and those onstage!) as she perfected the appearance and mannerisms of such an intricate character. One Griffin (Bud Frump)'s snickers and overly spoiled behavior sent laughter throughout the house, while Kayla Andrews (Smitty) brought a new type of flair and humor to her character. The pair took us all on a journey when they realized the office coffee pot was empty, and understandably sang a song of despair and frustration, Coffee Break.
Of course, the ensemble of How to Succeed brought another profound element to the show, especially all of the soloists in Paris Original, who helped sustain the humor of the number, while each adding their own twist. Cinderella Darling included an unexpected and innovative tap element, choreographed by cast member Serenity Mitchell.
Although How to Succeed had a short run of only three shows, I can't wait to see what Sandra Day O'Connor High School produces for the next season. For more information on their program, you can find them on Instagram @sdohstheatre, or on Twitter @oc_theatre.