VSMT shows ‘How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying’

Elizabeth Nieto

If you thought “Office Space” was hilarious, or you cringe at the thought of actually entering the “real world,” then seeing the VSMT production of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” is certainly recommended! Starting last Friday in St. Mary’s auditorium, after two months of rehearsals and preparations, the musical has been performed four times so far, and will be performed its last two times this weekend. It is obvious that a great deal of energy and creativity was put into preparation of the show by directors Nicholas Falco and Tom Gelo and the entire cast.

There are two facets to the storyline: the business world and the social realm. From the business, the plot revolves around a man named J. Pierpont Finch who exemplifies a rather atypical story of “rags to riches.” Finch, played by Mike Malloy, begins the play as a window washer. But by reading the book entitled “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” he receives indispensable pointers that enable him to slowly make his way to the top of the business world.

Although the plot forces the audience to suspend disbelief about how a man could be in all the right places at the right times, or could sweet-talk just the right people into getting where he wanted, the acting and performing of Malloy steals the show.

On the social scene, the newly minted business executive Finch immediately falls in love with a woman named Rosemary Pinkerton, played by Jen Messina. Both Finch and Pinkerton take part in a twisted love chase that eventually leads them to each other. Pinkerton is one of the secretaries at the office, who collectively share a great deal of gossip, empathy and laughter.

One noteworthy eccentric scene occurs when the office workers attempt to take a coffee break, only to realize that there is no coffee. This seemingly insignificant occurrence turns into a singing and dancing hoopla. The cast is in a state of absolute mayhem at the thought of not drinking their cups of coffee on their coffee break.

Probably the most impressive aspect of the play was the casting selections for each role. In particular, head-honcho J.B. Biggley, played by Brian Lamsback, geeky nephew-of-the-boss Bud Frump, played by Steve Cronin, and ditsy secretary Hedy LaRue, played by Cindy Keenan, were roles that could not have been played so well by any other actor or actress.

The plot slowly reveals that it is not simply a matter of knowing the right people or stepping on others to get ahead, but it’s the relationships and capacity to work as a team that matters.

“How to Succeed” will be performed in St. Mary’s Auditorium tonight, Friday, Nov 22 and tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available and are being sold in the Connelly Center throughout the day or at the door. They are $5 for students and $7 for all others.