MICHAEL ALFIERI & JULIA WALKER
How does a window washer become the C.E.O. of a major company ‘without really trying?’ The East Lyme Regional Theater answered this question with their summer production of ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.’
In this production, J. Pierrepont Finch, played by junior Spencer Stanley, climbed rungs of the corporate ladder with the help of a book called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” while working for the World Wide Wicket Company. He found love when he met secretary Rosemary Pilkington, played by Chloe Kolbenheyer. He battled with coworker Mr. Frump. Despite adversity and confusing relationships, Finch made it to the top.
Everyone can relate to wanting something so badly they will work all night and battle all day for it. The relatable characters reel the audience in with their tenacity and charming determination in a familiar corporate setting.
“Performing in ‘How to Succeed’ was really special for me because I had just taken a few years off from performing after being in 11 musicals. East Lyme regional theater is always a warm an inviting place with incredible talent so it is a place I felt comfortable getting back into things. I had a great time and learned a lot about character acting,” said actor Emily Young who played Hedy LaRue, a whimsical, free spirit secretary.
Energetic singing and dancing kept the show alive. From tear- including solos to full-cast dance numbers, music helped express the characteristics of each actor. When female lead Kolbenheyer was heartbroken and crying during a solo, so was the audience. With the use of spotlights and colored hues, the soft strokes of instrumental chords in the musical pit, and the emotion of the acting, a different energy was portrayed in each number.
After a solemn ballad would come hopeful dance numbers, with groups marching on stage in business suits and suspenders. These numbers left the audience clapping and tapping their feet along with the dancers.
“I helped with the teaching choreography, and for me, ELRT is where I can take my love for dance and help others who are just as enthusiastic. It gets tough with so many rehearsals, but we’re all there for a reason, and it pays off seeing all the practice and hard work from the cast make a great show,” said featured dancer Daven Roberts.
Sets were creative: at points Stanley imitated a window washer by floating up and down with a pulley swing. An onstage elevator door opened and closed for scene changes.
In addition, acting was smooth and the lines seamless, and voices projected just as well as the emotions the actors wanted to portray.
“It gets stressful having to remember lines, music, dancing, blocking and set changes all at once but once you’re out there it’s fun. With so much talent out there with you, it feels easy,” said Christopher-David Caraballo.
This was another summer success for the East Lyme Regional Theatre which left viewers and actors alike with a sense of hope as shown in this play anything is possible with a lot of work and a little luck.