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Show Palace to stage timeless musical comedy 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying'

J. Pierrepont Finch (Michael Sterling Miller) consults his handy-dandy guide to success as the adoring Rosemary Pilkington (Anna Kimmell), left, and sexy, ambitious Hedy LaRue (Erin Romero) listen in.

SCOTT DANIEL | Special to the Times

J. Pierrepont Finch (Michael Sterling Miller) consults his handy-dandy guide to success as the adoring Rosemary Pilkington (Anna Kimmell), left, and sexy, ambitious Hedy LaRue (Erin Romero) listen in.

With the world's economy still suffering in great part from the incompetence (or avarice) of certain corporate pooh-bahs, what better time to bring back the 50-year-old Broadway musical spoof of all things business, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

It's a satire of how a cleverly manipulative window washer works his way up the corporate ladder, not by knowledge and experience, but by dropping the right name at the right time, slyly hinting that he has experience, skills and connections that he really doesn't have, and, most of all, through adorable chutzpah.

How to Succeed, or H2$ as it's sometimes written, won a 1962 Pulitzer Prize, seven Tony Awards and the New York Drama Critics Circle award. It was revived in 1995, is set for another revival in 2011 with Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), and has been made into a movie.

The Show Palace Dinner Theatre opens its version of the show on Jan. 7 for an eight-week run through Feb. 27.

H2$ "just gets funnier and more fresh with each passing decade," said company manager Susan Haldeman in a press release.

In it, young J. Pierrepont Finch (Michael Sterling Miller) is a window cleaner with big ambitions. One day while hunting for a job at the World Wide Wicket Co., he knocks down company president J.B. Biggley (Rick Kistner) and seizes the chance to ask him for a job.

Biggley tells him to go to personnel and talk to Mr. Bratt (James Middleton). Finch does, but gets the cold shoulder — until he casually mentions that it was none other than J.B. Biggley who told him to go see Bratt.

The foot in the door (and some incredibly good luck) is all Finch needs. He may be in the mail room, but he doesn't intend to stay there.

He meets a pretty secretary, Rosemary Pilkington (Anna Kimmell), who is totally smitten by him (Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm) and becomes the booster he needs.

Meanwhile, the sexy Hedy LaRue (Erin Romero) applies for a job, and Bratt makes it clear that she is his and no one else's (A Secretary Is Not a Toy). That is, unless someone higher up the ladder wants her.

Amid all the office politics and backstabbing, Finch steadily finds ways to ingratiate himself with the bigwigs, which is all it takes to make it to the top. Even when he engineers a disaster, he's able to slyly turn it to his advantage.

The show also features Scott Daniel as Bud Frump, the boss' scheming nephew; Susan Haldeman as Rosemary's wise-cracking gal pal Smitty; Peter Clapsis as board chairman Wally Womper; jazz singer Lisa Butler as Miss Jones; and Troy Lafon as Benjamin Burton Daniel Ovington, the head of advertising Finch cunningly pushes aside to make room for himself.

The show is by the Guys and Dolls team of Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows, with softly sarcastic songs like The Company Way and the rousing Grand Old Ivy and Brotherhood of Man.

If you go

What: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

When: Matinees and evenings Jan. 7 to Feb. 27

Where: Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson

Tickets: Dinner and show, $48; show only, $36.95, plus tax and tip; 12 and younger, $28.45 and $23.45. Call (727) 863-7949 in west Pasco; toll-free elsewhere at 1-888-655-7469

Show Palace to stage timeless musical comedy 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying' 12/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:45pm]

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