David Douglas High actors prepare to ‘Succeed’

Here’s a sneak preview to let you know why you should reserve your seats for the fall musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – opening on November 9 …

The ensemble rehearses “A Secretary is not a Toy” from the upcoming musical spectacular, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Presenting the fall musical about a month earlier than in past years, student actors, musicians and stage technical staff at David Douglas High School (DDHS) in outer East Portland are working hard to make sure their offering, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, is a delightful theatrical experience.

“We wanted to do something different – a show that’s never been done here,” said the school’s drama instructor, and the show’s director, Judy LeCoq – as the show’s cast rehearsed segments of this musical.

“Although it’s not as common a stage musical as others, it’s fun, witty, and lively,” LeCoq assured East Portland News.

The show, she said, is a satire of behaviors found in big companies and organizations.

DDHS senior Ian Booth (playing J. Pierrepont Finch) struggles to get out from “under the foot” of senior Karsten Montgomery (playing J.B. Biggley, the president of the World Wide Wicket Company).

“And, it’s been also been great fun for the kids, looking at this time period – what it was like in the 1960s – and discovering the business environment of the day.”

About the show
This durable musical opened on Broadway in 1961 and ran for 1,417 performances, garnering seven Tony Awards, among others. United Artists released a film version in 1967. A 1995 revival starred Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullally. A 50th anniversary Broadway revival featuring Daniel Radcliffe (better known as “Harry Potter”) and John Larroquette (from TV’s Night Court) opened last year, and ran for 473 performances.

J. Pierrepont Finch (Ian Booth) is sent by J.B. Biggley to work in the mailroom, joining other “lower level” employees – played by Brandon Montes, Sarah Granberg, Julianna Harris, Josh Lamarr, and Brian Ott.

The story revolves around a young and ambitious man, J. Pierrepont Finch, who – with the help of a “talking book” called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” – rises from window-washer to chairman of the board at the World Wide Wicket Company.

Overseeing the stage’s two-story set, theatrical craft instructor and theater manager Mark Taylor was busy putting on finishing touches.

“The orchestra will actually be located up above the main stage level, instead of in front in the orchestra pit,” Taylor pointed out.

Will romance blossom between J. Pierrepont Finch (Ian Booth) and DDHS senior Kelsey Milks (playing Rosemary) – as he struggles to climb the corporate ladder?

“Moving the orchestra allows the performers to get closer to the audience, by building out the stage,” LeCoq explained. “In the show, there are many times when the characters come out and talk directly to audience members.”

The show features a cast of 40 actors, singers, and dancers, backed up by the school’s 26-piece live orchestra. Taylor’s fourteen Advanced Technical Services students and six Stagecraft class students move the sets, and run the lights and the sound for this show.

Stagecraft instructor Mark Taylor checks with student stage technicians, as they prepare the art deco staging for the fall musical.

Show opens on November 9
The DDHS Theater and Music Departments present their fall musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Opening night is November 9 at 7:30 p.m.

The show also plays on the evenings of November 10, 16, and 17, at 7:30 p.m.

And, because this is a fun family show, they’ve scheduled two Family Matinees – on November 11 and November 18, at 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon.

Tickets: Reserved seating at all performances. Adults: $10; Students/Seniors: $7.

Jim Braet of True Legends/Fun Fabrics volunteers in the Box Office. “Seats are going fast, reserve yours now,” he advises.

The Box Office is open “school weeks” on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:00 until 5:30 p.m. Or, call (503) 261-8270 to reserve tickets. Even easier: Reserve tickets online at this website: CLICK HERE to open the page.

The shows (and the Box Office) are located in the David Douglas High School Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Avenue (between SE Division and SE Stark Street).

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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