In 1950, producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin premiered one of Broadway’s most enduring hits, Guys and Dolls. Adapted by Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser from the beautiful short stories of Damon Runyon, the show ran an incredible 1200 performances in its premiere season, winning a string of Tony Awards™ including Best Musical, Best Actor (Musical), Best Director, Best Choreographer and Best Featured Actress (Musical) as well as the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. But for some strange reason, it took another 10 years for this group of clever gentlemen to team up again.
Shepherd Mead's 1952 satirical book, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, became, on publication, a bestseller. The dramatic adaption of Mead’s work playwrights Willie Gilbert and Jack Weinstock languished, unfortunately unproduced for 5 years until it came to the attention of Feuer and Martin, who brought Burrows and Loesser in on the project to transform the show into what is now, one of Broadway’s most happily revived musicals. Burrows worked with Gilbert and Weinstock on shaping the book, whilst Loesser (interestingly, better known as a lyricist for movie musicals before the success of Guys and Dolls) was engaged to write the lyrics and score. The show, starring Robert Morse & Rudy Vallee, opened at the 46th Street Theatre on Broadway in October 1961, ran for a stunning 1,417 performances and won seven Tony Awards™, the New York Drama Critics' Circle award, and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama – an extraordinary achievement by any standard.
The show has had several revivals on Broadway and the pivotal role of J. Pierrepont Finch has brilliantly launched the musical talents of screen actors such as Matthew Broderick and Daniel Radcliff into the public consciousness. It is one of those starring roles that simply begs attention; a fantastic challenge and at the same time, a gift of a role.
Well known to local audiences, Tyler Hess will bring his years of experience and skill to Mountain District Musical Society's brand new production of How to Succeed… Heading up a huge cast of Society regulars and new-comers. Tyler has, in recent years, received numerous Lyrebird nomiantions and awards for his performances in roles such as Jack (Into the Woods), Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors) and The Artful Dodger (Oliver!) to name just a few. He describes himself as “feeling honoured to be given the opportunity to play a role made famous by two of my theatrical idols, Robert Morse and Matthew Broderick”.
Director, Richard Perdriau continues his successful move onto the other side of the footlights. Having been a performer in both professional and non-professional productions since the 1980s, this will be his third venture into production, the first 2 for Phoenix Theatre (Godspell and Into the Woods) netting him Music Theatre Guild of Victoria nominations for Direction and Multimedia Design and a Lyrebird nomination for Set Design. He describes How to Succeed… as a “snap shot of 1960’s American life… by today’s standards, quite sexist“. His production concept, instead of trying to update or relocate the work, embraces the book for what it is – hilarious and extremely satirical. Perdriau has incorporated the very savvy observation that, in depicting the future, film and TV productions on the whole can’t avoid reflecting the design style of the period in which they were made, into his set designs. Musical Director, Glen Barnett, and Choreographer, Felicity Bender found Perdriau’s observation equally interesting, and the three have worked tirelessly in preparation, brainstorming every number to ensure they drew as much comedy and narrative out of each song as possible. The result is “stylish, hilarious and incredibly entertaining“.
The MDMS season of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opens Friday June 15th at the Karralyka Theatre in Ringwood and promises to be a treat for all.
Mountain District Musical Society
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Karralyka Theatre, Mines Road, Ringwood
Friday 15th June – 8pm
Saturday 16th June – 8pm
Sunday 17th June – 2pm
Thursday 21st June – 8pm
Friday 22nd June – 8pm
Saturday 23rd June – 2pm
Saturday 23rd June – 8pm
Child U15 $30.00
Group 10+ $32.00 each
via www.mdms.org.au or phone 0431 940 984 (please call after hours).