This week was a tough one. There was a lot of shock, sorrow and fear as the Friday headlines started to emerge. There were many questions of why and how and not a lot of immediate answers to assuage our confusion, sorrow and anger. There was a lot to take in. One of the most important byproducts of art and particularly seeing a live performance is escape. For a few hours, a good piece of entertainment can help you process feelings by giving your brain a brief break from harsh realities. Art provides a coping mechanism and a connecting mechanism. It’s a reminder of being alive and being thankful that you are. Enter Foothill Music Theatre’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
From the first mischievous take to the audience, I was thoroughly charmed and impressed by this production. For me the entire cast and crew absolutely nailed it from beginning to end. They took well-written, light, tongue-in-cheek material, that still has plenty of applicable relevance to today’s world, and they infused it with a wonderful electricity and magnetism.
Their Finch was overflowing with charisma, cute and a solid triple threat. Rosemary was quirky and earnest with a voice like rich, creamy butter. Budd Frump was deliciously diabolical. Biggley and Smitty’s timing was hilarious. Heddy was bubbly and irresistibly ditzy. I’m hiring Mr. Bratt as my own personal yes man he was so damn perfect. And, what a gifted, balanced, supportive ensemble. Not a single performer on stage phoning it in. No weak links. The energy was high, the talent strong, everyone utilized to their strengths and I honestly don’t think a single note, harmony or instrument was off the entire performance.
The stage pictures and use of levels were clever. The majority of the choreography was highly creative and the dancers made it look dangerously easy. There are a handful of songs that aren’t maybe as memorable as others, however across the board they’re all admirably performed. And, the humor in the details was just priceless! A gold phone in the boss’ office. A little flair of a kick while scenery is being moved off. A brief homage to a certain celebrity couch jumping episode. The best Kazoo solo ever during I Believe. There were just so many fun detailed touches throughout that bumped this production up a notch. Truly carefully crafted and polished to a blinding shine.
Logistically, this show is on the long side at just under 3 hours including intermission, but it goes by relatively quickly. I was a bit chilly, so layers might be a good idea to ensure you stay comfortable and as far as seats are concerned, it’s a large theatre with the orchestra in a pit, so anywhere in the first 15 rows I think is ideal. Remember $3 in one dollar bills or change for the parking permits that are required for the lot. There are no ATM’s to my knowledge nearby and the machines only take cash.
Look out. It’s going to happen. Here it comes. I can’t think of a single reason not to given this show 5 out of 5 jewels in the review tiara for being exactly the way I feel this show should be performed; with a little snark, a bunch of cheese, and a double dose of wit presented by a comically and musically laudable cast. A bargain at the price, How to Succeed in Business without Trying plays at Foothill College in Los Altos through August 12th.