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Stow-Munroe Falls High School's drama students plan to capture a comedic sense of the corporate world of 1961 when they present their spring musical, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
There will be five performances including the April 20at 7 p.m. for $6; the free Senior Citizen performance April 21 at 9:30 a.m.; two evening performances April 21 and April 22 at 7 p.m.;, and an April 23 matinee at 2:30 p.m.
The story line, a satire of big business and all it holds sacred, follows the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, which opened on Broadway in 1961, about a window washer who reads a book that promises readers the secrets to succeeding in business without really trying.
The washer, J. Pierrepont Finch (Mikey Murray), puts the rules of the book to practice at the World Wide Wicket Co. and eventually catapults himself to vice president in charge of advertising. Along the way he tackles such familiar but potent dangers as the aggressively compliant "company man," the office party, backstabbing coworkers, caffeine addiction and, of course, true love.
"It's such a treat just seeing all the talent and all the commitment everyone is putting into their performances," says senior Murray. "Music is what I live for, and this makes me so happy!"
Although Stow-Munroe Falls' cast of characters for this show probably see the 1960s as ancient history, they have embraced their characters with modern day enthusiasm.
"I like how everyone can be themselves on stage and have fun," says senior Kylee Kridler. Kridler certainly gets to have a lot of fun playing Hedy LaRue, an ex-night-club cigarette girl adored by all men who lay eyes on her. She gets a job at the company because of the boss's personal interest in her, and although she appears to be dim-witted, she knows how to get what she wants.
The show is ridiculously funny in that the company really doesn't manufacture anything and the employees don't do any real work, but they do seem to exert a lot of energy trying to get ahead by keeping up the appearance of working. Along the way, the cast performs an exhilarating score by Frank Loesser, including "I Believe in You," "Brotherhood of Man," and "The Company Way
Rosemary Pilkington, a secretary who is far more interested in finding a man to marry than advancing her career, is played by junior Anne Marie McCombs. After meeting Ponty, she immediately sets her sights on becoming Mrs. Finch.
"This show is extraordinary, really," says McCombs. "For the three years I've been a part of the high school casts, I find myself learning so much from the individuals around me. That's the most fun part for me. The learning. Being a part of this show, surrounded by so much talent and kindness, is incredibly humbling. I am so proud to perform alongside this entire cast."
More than 100 students are participating including student producers, directors, makeup and actors, as well as the lighting, sound and stage crew. Each participating student has put in hours on set construction, along with the students from the stagecraft class offered at the high school taught by Todd Abel. Adult assistance with set construction is always welcome. Donations, including snacks, water and meals during set construction and the performances are also needed for the cast and crew.
Business and personal sponsors or anyone with questions are welcome to contact Friends of the Theatre at firstname.lastname@example.org. To follow the theater productions and volunteer opportunities, "like" the Facebook page at Friends of the Theatre, Stow-Munroe Falls High School.
Drama Club adviser Robert J. Putka is directing; SMFHS band director Brian Monroe is the Pit Orchestra Director, and Nicholas Campagna, SMFHS choir director is the vocal director for the production. The countless adult volunteers include Gerald Dolson as set designer and construction, Conni Fleming as choreographer and Dee Ulichney as costume mistress.
"Donor/Patron" seats in the front center section are available for each performance (two seats for $40) and include your name printed in the program. Parents and friends may also purchase "Wall of Fame" slides (by April 14) to be projected on a large screen before the performances and during intermissions. These include 1-3 photos of your "star" and a special message for the student.
Ticket prices for the performance are General Admission Adults $10, Students/Senior Citizens $8, Reserved seats $12. Pre-purchase by credit card and order your "Wall of Fame" slide at the Friends of the Theatre websitewww.myfot.org. Tickets also will be available at the door.