An exceptionally strong ensemble of actors to make this an enjoyable evening of musical comedy.
By GARRY L. CLARK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
NILES -- Trumbull New Theatre's 2002-03 season got off to a stellar start with Friday's opening performance of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," a musical comedy by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, Willie Gilbert and Frank Loesser. Director Al McKinnon has assembled an exceptionally strong ensemble of actors to make this an enjoyable evening of musical comedy.
The business of "Business" concerns itself with one J. Pierpont Finch, an ambitious young window washer who is devouring his newly acquired copy of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Finch is using the book as his blueprint to climb the ladder of success at World Wide Wickets, and the first order of business is to obtain a job in the company mailroom.
That accomplished Finch proceeds with his machinations for a quick rise to the top, but not without first catching the eye of a pretty young secretary, Rosemary Pilkington.
All goes well for Finch, who even manages to outwit the company president's nephew, Bud Frump, who is also trying to move up the corporate ladder. Problems ensue, however, when Finch is named vice president of advertising and his scheme for the "World Wide Wicket Treasure Hunt" goes terribly awry. He's also facing romantic problems in the form of Hedy LaRue, another secretary who has set her sights on him. Faced with certain doom, Finch must now rely on his wits to come out on top.
Spouses Tim and Connie Cassidy head the cast in the leading roles of Finch and Rosemary. Both gave extraordinary performances, and Mr. Cassidy's expert mugging and asides were riotously funny, especially his "mirror" performance of "I Believe In You." His wife was also in fine voice blending expertly with her husband and Anna Frabutt as Smitty, a secretary, on the wonderful tune "Been a Long Day."
Jason Green as Frump was suitably irritating as well as amusing, and Maureen Gregory was excellent as Hedy. Giving her usual witty performance with perfect comedic timing was Linda Gaug as Miss Jones, secretary to J.B. Biggley, company president. Biggley was very well played by Dave Lynn.
Also of note were the performances of Tim McGinley as Mr. Bratt, Brian H. Lee as Mr. Twinble and Jim Kilgore as Mr. Gatch.
Rounding out the large cast as other businessmen and secretaries were Todd Horrell, Kathy Farthing, McKinnon, Eric Sutton, Benjamin Cole, Jeff Smith, Emma Elliott, Chelsea Farthing, Trena Garrison, Katie Libecco and Monica Lott. The group's rendition of "Coffee Break" was among many high points of the first act.
Costuming by Mrs. Cassidy was superb, and the scenic design by Horrell and McKinnon worked exceptionally well.
The musicians also worked well under the direction of Dan McKinnon, never overpowering the singers.