Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre’s production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is hilarious, charming and entertaining. The musical tells the story of an ambitious young man, J. Pierrepont Finch, who with the help of a book, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, sets out to make his dreams of becoming a businessman come true. In Finch’s journey to reach the top of the World Wide Wicket corporate ladder, he meets many colorful characters that attempt to impede or assist with his progress. The result of the Dutch Apple production is a show that is amusing, as well as satirical, and it provides for a well-spent evening out.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a two-act Frank Loesser musical, is based on the 1952 book of the same name. Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert wrote the book for the musical. The original Broadway production opened in 1961, and won seven Tony awards, as well as the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In addition, a film based on the musical opened in 1967. The actors from the Broadway show, Robert Morse and Rudy Valee played J.Pierrepont Finch and his boss, J.B. Biggley, and reprised their role in the film.

Performing this production poses potential risks in that the actor that plays J. Pierrepont Finch has to be comical, charming, scheming and likable. If an actor fails to portray all these traits well the show can be a disaster. Luckily, Trey Compton successfully portrays all the characteristics of J. Pierrepont Finch and he is delightful in this role. Compton brings to this role a combination of skill and grace, and audiences will love his energy as Finch. It is no wonder he won Pittsburgh’s Gene Kelly award for playing this role in 2002. The character of J.B. Biggley, the president at World Wide Wicket Company, is played by Paul Glodfelter.  Glodfelter is commanding is his portrayal of Biggley, and he is gruff and humorous in this role. Compton and Glodfelter have audiences laughing with their song, “Grand Old Ivy.” Biggley’s nephew, Bud Frump, is played by Craig Smith. Smith brings a cartoon villain component to this character, while still perfectly portraying the socially awkward Bud Frump. Kaitlin Doughty plays Rosemary, a secretary at the World Wide Wicket Company who falls in love with Finch. Doughty portrays the innocent Rosemary well, and she easily makes the audience feel her emotions in the song, “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm.” The duet between Doughty and Compton, “Rosemary” is full of passion, energy, and humor. In addition, I was happy to see Debra Thaïs Evans in the role of Miss Jones, the secretary to Mr. Biggley. Evans has a remarkable voice, and it is always a pleasure to see her in a production. She brings a kindness and wit to Miss Jones, and her solo in the song “Brotherhood of Man” is superb. Finally, “The Brotherhood of Man” is the best number in this production, and has tons of energy and fantastic choreography.

The creative team also need recognized for this delightful production. The director of this wonderful show is Dean Sobon. Lauren L. Sobon is responsible for the wonderful choreography. Dominic Lau serves as the Scenic Designer, and A. Scott Williams is the Musical Director.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying  runs through November 9, 2013. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.dutchapple.com or call their box office at 717-898-1900.

Final Thought: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is highly entertaining and energetic. The entire cast is wonderful in this show, and the show is definitely worth a trip to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre.

Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she writes for the online sites broadwayworld.com and figlancaster.com and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.

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