How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Harriton High School in Bryn Mawr, PA
April 12, 2016
Review by: Noelle Mercer of Friends’ Central School
How does a clever window washer scramble his way to the top of a multi-million dollar company and find true love along the way? Well, the Harriton Theater Company of Harriton High School will surely be able to show you how through their rendition of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Based off the best selling self-help book by Shepherd Mead, the upbeat musical, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, premiered on Broadway in 1961. With music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert, the musical was an instant hit and won seven Tony Awards. The story follows the rise in ranks of witty and ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch, with the aid of a self-help book, in the World Wide Wicket Company.
On Friday, the mostly student led Harriton Theater Company gave us an excellent show. From costumes and makeup to lighting and sound, the students of Harriton High School took charge and made this musical their own. Although there were a few technical glitches with the mics and lighting, the actors and crew were not deterred and kept the show on the road.
One actor in particular, Jon Duska (Finch), especially embodied this sentiment with his unceasing high energy and impressive stage presence. Duska sang every song beautifully with a certain dedication and intensity, and had great chemistry with Aurora Murray (Rosemary) and Coby Levit (J.B. Bigley). In fact, Duska and Levit’s amusing duet, “Old Ivy,” was spectacular and earned a lot of laughter from the audience. Another standout performance was that of Jon Zamsky (Bud Frump) who played his comically whiny and conniving character with zeal.
As an ensemble, the cast of How to Succeed did a commendable job. Although a bit low energy in the first act, the cast brought much more life to the second act, especially with the dynamic number “The Brotherhood of Man.”
Funny and heartwarming, the Harriton Theater Company gave us a wonderful performance of a classic musical, and reminded all of us that the Brotherhood of Man is much more important than all the success (and Coffee Breaks) in the world– unless you’re asked to be Chairman of the Board. That’s another story.
Review by: Eden Halterman of Academy of the New Church
From window washer to Chairman of the Board: what if one simple book could teach you how to achieve this, without ever really trying? Such is the life of J. Pierrepont Finch, the star of Harriton High School’s production of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is based on a satirical self-help of the same name, published by Shepherd Mead in 1952. The musical, adapted by Frank Loesser, first premiered on Broadway in 1961 and went on to win seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. This show, set in the cutthroat world of 1960s business tycoons, follows J. Pierrepont Finch as he works his way to the top of the business world, and finds love along the way.
Harriton High School’s production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was energetic and engaging, driven by charismatic leads, a captivating chorus, and lively comedy.
Jon Duska led the show with his impressive portrayal of J. Pierrepont Finch. Throughout the show, Duska kept up the endless energy required to lead the show, and his strong singing voice was impressive. Duska’s charisma and enthusiasm complemented Aurora Murray’s bold voice and charm in her portrayal of Finch’s secretary and love-interest Rosemary Pilkington.
The show would not have been complete without the impressive supporting cast. Jon Zamsky stood out in his humorous portrayal of pompous and power-hungry Bud Frump. Coby Levit also impressed with his comedic role as company president J.B. Biggley. Levit’s dynamic performance had the audience laughing throughout the show, especially in the song “Old Ivy”, in which Duska and Levit’s comedic energy and lively playfulness were perfect complements.
With much of the technical direction run by students, Harriton High School impressed with their creative costuming, artistic sets, and original choreography. Though the technical crews encountered a few complications, and at time chorus members were difficult to hear, the show held strong with its cast of talented, energetic, and comedic performers.
Harriton High School energetic, engaging, and humorous performance of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was a true success.