Marriott's 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying' is Laugh-out-Loud Fun!
An ambitious young window washer, J. Pierrepont Finch (Ari Butler), who really, really wants a new career, has found a copy of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. As he reads, the Voice of the Book (Emily Loesser) tells him he will succeed if he follows the advice in the book.
Finch chooses World Wide Wicket as his target business. A chance encounter in the lobby (they literally bump into each other) with J.B. Biggley (Terry Hamilton), President of the Company, even though J.B. was discouraging, is Finch’s aha moment!
When he gets to the Personnel Department, he’s told there are no jobs available, but then, he mentions that he just bumped into Mr. Biggley. Assuming J.B. sent him, Personnel Manager, Mr. Bratt (Jason Grimm), gives him a job in the mailroom where J.B.’s nephew, Bud Frump (Alex Goodrich), a lazy tattletale, works.
Rosemary Pilkington (Jessica Naimy), a secretary who clues Finch in on who’s doing what with whom, decides that he will be her perfect husband. She dreams of a home in New Rochelle, where she’ll be “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm”.
Meanwhile, Finch cultivates Miss Jones (Felicia P. Fields), J. B.’s secretary, learning all the boss’s secrets along the way. Her inside tips – like J.B.’s college, Old Ivey and hated rival, the Chipmunks; not to mention his secret stress reliever/hobby, knitting – help Finch in his move to the top.
When Mr. Twimble (Derek Hasenstab) is promoted, Finch is offered the mailroom job, but he passes on it, impressing Bratt, who decides Finch will make an ideal junior executive in Mr. Gatch’s (Neil Friedman) Plans and Systems Department.
When Hedy LaRue (Angela Ingersole), J.B.’s girlfriend, is hired, she’s assigned as Finch’s secretary. Recognizing the potential hazard she represents for an unwary executive, Finch sets Gatch up to make a pass at her. Wow! Finch gets his department. Nothing will stop him now, or will it?
All the WWW executives and their secretaries are invited to a reception in the Executive Dining Room in honor of BBDO, Benjamin Burton Daniel Ovington (Brandon Springman) – by the way, BBDO is a tongue-in-cheek reference to a famous Madison Avenue agency. Since this is Rosemary’s first invitation, she decides to impress Finch with a new dress, a ‘Paris original’ which comes with an absolutely hideous turban. To her dismay, all of the other secretaries also arrive at the reception wearing that same “Paris Original”. Finch tricks BBDO into revealing that he was a chipmunk! Ovington adds a final touch, hostile chipmunk chatter aimed directly at J.B. Guess who gets his department?
“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” has some really clever business songs, like “Coffee Break” and “The Company Way”. The female staff let the men know in no uncertain terms that “A Secretary Is Not A Toy”. When Finch, J.B., and all the other male executives sing and dance to "Brotherhood of Man", Miss Jones steals the scene with her dance on a desk!
Because Marriott is theatre-in-the-round, they rarely use a lot of scenery or props, relying on stuff they can easily roll on and off stage, which works well for “How to Succeed in Business”. Although there are executive desks and telephones, you’ll never see a typewriter. Instead, the secretaries use portable camp chairs and tap shoes.