Parkway Central 'Succeeds' in Musical Spoofing '60s-Era Business
Parkway Central High School's impressive performance of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" embodied all aspects of a big corporation and life in the 1960s.
By Molly Grotha, Marquette High School
Whoever said climbing the corporate ladder was a difficult task? All you need to succeed is the help of a notorious little how-to book and an optimistic attitude. J. Pierrepont Finch possesses both as he attempts to rise to the top rung of the World Wide Wicket Company.
Parkway Central High School's impressive performance of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" embodied all aspects of a big corporation and life in the 1960s and seemingly did so—without really trying.
With music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" opened on Broadway in 1961 and instantly became a hit, inspiring a movie and winning various awards including the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
After several successful revivals, the classic show now proves a popular selection for high school and community theater. The musical chronicles the rapid corporate climb of young window washer J. Pierrepont Finch and his helpful little book as he encounters his boss’ devious nephew, a keen secretary, and the hustle and bustle of corporate America.
Leading the cast, Aidan McCarter brings ambition and youth to J. Pierrepont "Ponty" Finch. Combining boyish charm and suave physicality, McCarter demonstrates many qualities of a leading man.
His vocal ability shined in songs such as "Rosemary" and "I Believe in You/Gotta Stop That Man" as he commanded the stage. Greta Rosenstock, as Finch's eager love interest Rosemary Pilkington, absorbed herself in a role of hopeless romanticism and displayed a beautiful voice throughout her various solos.
Often seen sneaking across the stage is Jake Blonstein as big-wig JB Biggley's devilish and lazy nephew Bud Frump. Utilizing impeccable comedic timing, amusing physicality, and superb line delivery, Blonstein steals the stage, even when he's simply lurking around the set.
As Biggley's bubble-headed mistress Hedy LaRue, Lizzy Langa evokes hilarity and spunk as she adds a high pitched voice and alluring body language to the temptress.
The stage was transformed into a useful and believable space with versatile set pieces to distinguish between locations. Bright costumes added to the glamour of the 1960s business atmosphere, while hair and makeup adequately differentiated between stereotypes of the era.
The orchestra filled the theater with beautiful music even while hidden behind the set. The musicians along with the actors must have strived for precise cues and harmonious sound.
Overall, the show was entertaining and upbeat although, at times the actors lacked energy and words were lost due to lack of enunciation. Excessively long scene changes were frequent, yet always proved worthwhile when an intricate new location was revealed.
Through hard work, anyone can succeed. This proves true for the students of Parkway Central as they do things the company way and pour their hearts into a truly remarkable performance while reminding everyone that we are all part of the brotherhood of man.
This review was submitted by The Cappies, a program that trains high school theater and journalism students as critics. The students then attend shows at other schools, write reviews and publish those reviews in local news outlets. At the end of the year, student critics vote for awards that are presented at a formal Cappies Gala.