Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser Book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, Willie Gilbert
How to succeed in business
How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser; Book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert
FEB 23-25 7:30 pm BPAC
MCC stages Broadway musical 'How To Succeed'
Staff photo —Jerry Larson
J. Pierrepont Finch (Alec Ehringer) ponders his next step up the corporate ladder with help from secretary Rosemary Pilkington (Hannah Young) in the McLennan Theatre production of “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.”
Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:30 pm By CARL HOOVERchoover@wacotrib.com Long before “Mad Men” made ’60s-era office politics a topic of weekly conversation, the 1961 Broadway musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” tackled the subject, albeit in a much nicer, singable manner. The singable part is not surprising as Frank Loesser, the lyricist and composer of the 1950 musical “Guys and Dolls,” wrote the music and lyrics for “How to Succeed,” with the book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert. Not only did “How to Succeed” win seven Tony Awards, it took the Pulitzer Prize in 1962. It’s the musical part that attracted the attention of McLennan Community College theater instructor Kelly Parker, who is directing the McLennan Theatre production that opens a three-night run Thursday. “Musically, it’s such a smart show and the script is so tight,” he said. “It’s so good, so complex . . . a good, accessible show for college-age kids.” The show, whose 2011 revival starred “Harry Potter” actor Daniel Radcliffe, follows the young, ambitious J. Pierrepoint Finch (Alec Ehringer) as he works his way up the ladder in the World Wide Wicket Co. Finch employs the advice he finds in the book that gives the musical its name, moving from the mailroom toward the boardroom, with help from Rosemary Pilkington (Hannah Young) and her colleagues in the secretarial pool. Finch learns how to get on the good side of company president J.B. Biggley (Jonah Hardt), inventing a false allegiance to Biggley’s alma mater, Old Ivy, while watching the hazards presented by Biggley’s scheming nephew, Bud Frump (Joshua Purvis); Biggley’s mistress, Hedy LaRue (Abigail Woodward); and threatened junior executives. Finch’s climb toward the top takes place in a corporate world where women were largely limited to the secretarial pool and viewed more as objects of romance and lust than colleagues and competitors. Among the songs in “How to Succeed . . . “ are “A Secretary Is Not a Toy” and “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm.” “It’s now a period piece,” Parker said. “But it’s interesting in that it’s almost a predictor of all the social norms about to be turned on their head.” The McLennan Theatre production features a cast of 32 with musical direction by Daniel Ferris and choreography by longtime MCC choreographer Jerry MacLauchlin. MacLauchlin retired from MCC in 2015, but came back from retirement to fill in for dance instructor Melissa Edwards, out this spring for health reasons, Parker said. Renowned Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse, with whom MacLauchlin worked as a Broadway dancer in the 1960s and 1970s, retooled much of the dance in “How to Succeed . . .,” which makes it familiar territory for MacLauchlin. “Having Jerry back has been great,” the director said. “How to Success in Business Without Really Trying” opens with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Ball Performing Arts Center. The 15th annual Hearts in the Arts Gala will precede Thursday’s performance with a 6 p.m. reception at The Northwood.
Production meeting notes
No special directorial concept on this show, just straight early 1960's business attire.
Finch needs several changes, from window washer, to mailroom, to junior executive to Chairman of the Board.
JB needs a knitted sweater for his Saturday morning golf game.
Girls at the party with Rosemary all need the same "Paris original" dress.
Hedy needs to look super sexy. Pirate costume for commercial.
Now that the spring semester has started we are really getting going on the musical. Tuesday we pulled 24 men's neutral suits for the 15 boys to try on as well as colorful ties, Wednesday we began pulling women's suits, dresses, and separates. I found a great pair of plaid pants and an argyle sweater for JB's golf game. We also decided to use the coveralls from the dance show for the mail room costumes. We'll dye them a color, maybe green, then use the WWW logo, designed by Kaitlyn Riley, to stencil on muslin and sew on the backs to cover up the numbers that we painted on for Rowdy's automaton number in the dance show, We are eagerly awaiting all the new cast members to come in for measurements and for the director to give me the names of the girls that will need Paris originals. FINAL TOTAL SPENT: $2080.64
Costume Research slideshow
paris originals project
The pink lace sheath dresses came from David's Bridal and cost me $49.00 each. I bought 11. They were OK, but needed some help to be both more 1960's and snootier. What they needed was accessories: hats, gloves, and pearls. The hats came from Light in the Box and cost $3.99 each. The gloves came from Clickamin on Amazon and cost $8.35 each with free shipping. The pearl chokers came from Toynk Toys on Amazon and cost $4.42 with free shipping.
I suggested to Kelly that we do a black satin belt and butt bow for the dresses to bring them more into the 1960's as well as make them look a bit more snooty and silly. I made a mock up of the butt bow in class on Friday before I went fabric shopping to get a better idea of how much fabric I would need for 11 of them. The belt is cut at 8" wide but when doubled and sewn will be 3 1/2" wide finished. I used the entire width of the fabric which was 44". The ties are separate pieces, cut the same as the belt. and then halved so that they are sewn onto the belt separately and at an angle, one on each side of the closure. The bow was cut 12" wide and is also the entire width of the fabric but was folded in half vertically instead and will be 11" wide finished. The "knot" is a tiny 3"X6" piece, folded in half and sewn together around the bow. I plan on sewing the ties to the belt first, then sewing the belt to the CB on each side of the zipper. The bow will attach with whopper popper snaps separately. Once everything was measured and cut and added all together it will take about a yard per dress. I bought 12 yards of black crepe backed satin at Joanne's yesterday which cost (with coupons) $100. That brings my total cost for 11 Paris Originals to $833.25 or $75.75 each.