Preview by David Munro
PRESUMABLY by following last year’s successful musical,
Out Of This World, with yet another - How To Succeed
in Business Without Really Trying.
Last year, we had a fable about the deeds and misdeeds of the
gods and goddesses of ancient Greece.
This year, we have another fable, this time about how to make
your way from window cleaner to President of the corporation without
Well not quite; the protagonist, J Pierrepont Finch, succeeds
in business by exploiting situations and his fellow employees
following the precepts of Shepherd Meade’s eponymous book
and to the accompaniment of one of Frank Loesser’s better,
if not best, scores.
The musical was produced to great acclaim on Broadway in 1961
and in London in 1963. It is a sharp, hard-hitting look at the
mores of big business in America with an acerbic book by Abe Burrows,
who rewrote the original librettos by Jack Weinstock and Willie
Burrows (but not Weinstock and Gilbert) with Loesser were awarded
the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the show garnered a clutch of
Tony Awards, although Loesser lost out to Richard Rodgers that
Abe Burrows (it will be remembered) co-authored Frank Loesser’s
other great success, Guys
and Dolls, which co-incidentally is opening in London contemporaneously
with How to Succeed…...
Actually, this is fortuitous, as
it will give the pundits who argue whether How to Succeed…..
or Guys And Dolls is Loesser’s greatest achievement
a chance to see both simultaneously and, it is hoped, come to
a final decision.
Certainly, Chichester has lined up a formidable team to fight
the show’s corner.
James Bolam returns to the musical stage, in the footsteps of
Rudy Vallee, and Billy de Wolfe, as J.G.Biggley, the president
of the company.
Joe McFadden, fresh from Aladdin at the Old Vic, steps into the
shoes of Robert Morse and Warren Berlinger as the faux naïf
J Pierrepont Finch.
The love interest is supplied by Fiona Dunn, as Rosemary, the
secretary who loves him and is 'happy to keep his dinner warm',
while Sophie Louise Dann plays Smitty, the hard-boiled secretary
who watches the office manoeuvres with a cynical eye.
The director is Martin Duncan reuniting many of the production
team from Out Of This
World, while the choreographer is Stephen Mears – Olivier
Award winner for Mary
The score includes Finch’s love song to himself, I
believe in you, the secretaries paean to their Coffee
Break and their declaration of rights that A secretary
is not a toy.
The male office workers praise the Brotherhood of man
and “The Company way, while Rosemary and Smitty
hymn the virtues of their Paris Original and so on.
All of which seems to indicate a trip to Sussex as soon as possible!
How To Succeed …. plays in repertory from April
29 to September 10 and I hear that there are reductions of prices
in May when 1/3rd of the tickets for all performances are £10
So ring the Box Office - 01243 781312 - and take advantage of
the chance to see what promises to be an excellent afternoon or
evening out at bargain prices.