How to Succeed in Musical Theatre by Combining Talent and Hard Work!
That should have been the name of the Cowichan Musical Society’s smash hit, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, which finished its run last weekend.
Most musicals feature plenty of singing and dancing, but this one has more of a story than most and allows the principals to show off their acting skills as well.
It’s a fun tale about a young man (J. Pierrepont Finch, played by James Meyer) who, with guile and gall, climbs the corporate ladder at World Wide Widget from a standing start in the mail room all the way to chairman of the board. Meyer was fabulous in the role, slipping like an eel in and around every obstacle that appeared in his way as his character rose to the top.
Excellent young singer, Amelia MacIntosh, played his love interest, Rosemary. She’s a Shawnigan Lake School student and was making her CMS debut. At the Friday night show, her friends turned out in busloads to cheer her noisily, adding to the excitement of the evening.
Grant Mellemstrand played J.B. Biggley, the president of World Wide Widget, with his customary aplomb, anchoring the cast and providing a good deal of humour, especially in his duet with Meyer, ‘Grand Old Ivy’.
Jamieson Wickham as Bud Frump, the boss’s annoying nephew, brought some very polished dance moves to the show and Robyn Fortunat as Hedy Larue, was delightfully ditzy as the blonde bombshell.
But this was a strong cast throughout, with even quite minor roles well developed. The costumes by Alison Bendall — in her first chance in this position — were colourful and fun.
The orchestra was onstage, behind a translucent screen instead of in the pit, and this gave the cast a lot more room for big dance numbers. Under the direction of choreographer Sarah White, they made full use of every inch of space with plenty of great hoofing in such production numbers as ‘Coffee Break’, ‘The Company Way’, ‘A Secretary Is Not a Toy’, and ‘Brotherhood of Man’.
The audience was smiling as they left the theatre and crowded into the downstairs lobby to greet members of the cast and congratulate them on a job well done.
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They just can’t survive without their ‘Coffee Break’. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) ‘Are you pregnant?’ dizzy blonde Hedy (Robyn Fortunat) asks her lover, Mr. Biggley (Grant Mellemstrand), when she finds him knitting. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) Smitty, centre, (Jaci Geiger), tries to get the romance between Finch (James Meyer) and Rosemary (Amelia MacIntosh). (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) Biggley’s work life is rendered hideous by constant nagging calls from his wife. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) Finch and the guys get together in the great song, ‘Brotherhood of Man’. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) Bud Frump (Jamieson Wickham) has been made head of the mail room and has offered to treat everyone to a meal. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) Bud Frump (Jamieson Wickham) has been made head of the mail room and has offered to treat everyone to a meal. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) Smitty and the girls beg Rosemary to accept Finch’s proposal and fulfill their ‘Cinderella’ dream. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) In the finale, Bud Frump, now a window washer, is starting where Finch was only a short time ago. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Clever J. Pierrepont Finch (James Meyer) starts his rise to the top by befriending the boss’s secretary, Miss Jones (Jazmin Mari). (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Tackaberry (Cole Farquhar) is astonished to find that Finch appears to have been working all night. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Finch (James Meyer) proposes marriage to Rosemary (Amelia MacIntosh). (Lexi Bainas/Citizen We see that Finch, right, is always listening to what’s going on so he can succeed in business. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen As he climbs the ladder, Finch takes the opportunity to pretend he went to his boss’s beloved alma mater in ‘Grandy Old Ivy’. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Rosemary (Amelia MacIntosh) puts in a fabulous performance as the lovestruck secretary who says she’s ‘Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm’. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) Finch has made his appearance at the World Wide Widget company and Rosemary and Smitty are delighted. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Finch finds himself in a compromising position when bombshell Hedy Larue (Robyn Fortunat) makes a move on him in his boss’s office. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Hedy Larue is thrilled to learn she’s going to be a secretary and so is Mr. Bratt (Aiden Holt). (Lexi Bainas/Citizen The guys tell themselves that Finch has got to go in ‘I Believe in You’. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen As they get ready for the day, the guys share that they are really annoyed with J. Pierrepont Finch. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Hedy and her assistants prepare to give the first clue in the company’s giveaway show. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Showing up for a company party in a ‘Paris Original’ doesn’t turn out the way the girls plan, especially when Hedy captures the spotlight. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen Finch (James Meyer) convinces Biggley (Grant Mellemstrand) that a TV giveaway show is a dynamite idea. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen
Finch (James Meyer) convinces Biggley (Grant Mellemstrand) that a TV giveaway show is a dynamite idea. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen The girls remind the guys that ‘A Secretary is Not a Toy’ in a great production number. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen The company’s TV giveaway show also includes entertainment. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) Twimble (Charlie Fagan) says he’s been 25 years in the mail room by following ‘The Company Way’. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen) After a finding a great book, J. Pierrepont Finch (James Meyer) declares that he’s going to be a success in business. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)