“It is always amazing to see so many people working together to make the show happen.”
Still fresh from its successful run of the Japanese drama “after the quake” earlier this semester, DramaTech is ready to dive headfirst into its next big endeavor, the famous Broadway comedy “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” The play first started running over 50 years ago, and has since been performed hundreds of times, boasting such talent as Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally and more recently Daniel Radcliffe. These may seem like some daunting shoes to fill, but the folks over at DramaTech feel that they are more than up to the task. Recently, the Technique got a chance to speak with Daniel O’Rourke, president of DramaTech, about the cast, the crew, the show and what audience members can expect come opening night.
First off, what is the show about? Could you give a short plot summary?
“How to Succeded in Business Without Really Trying,” or H2$ for short, is a 1960s comedy about a young man, J. Finch, and his inextinguishable drive to reach the top of the corporate ladder. He follows the advice of a self help book to help him get there. The play is a witty period comedy, with very catchy music. The play first opened on Broadway in 1961, but has been revived multiple times since.
Describe the process behind picking a show for DramaTech to perform. What inspired you to pick this particular show?
“We voted on H2$ because the club was excited about it.”
DramaTech Theatre goes through a long and thoughtful process when picking shows for the upcoming year. Club members nominate a long list of very good shows, which are all read and reviewed by committee. Then the club votes on the shows we would like for our season. We voted on H2$ as part of our season because the club was excited about it, and it went well with our fall show “Laughter on the 23rd Floor.”
How big of a production is this, in terms of manpower?
This is a very large show. The cast is 21 people, the directing team includes 5 people, and there are an additional 20 crew members, all who have been working diligently starting in January.
How long have rehearsals been going? Do you think the cast and crew are ready for opening night?
Our performers have been in rehearsal for about 8 weeks now. Auditions were held at the beginning of the semester (auditions for all shows in a semester are usually in the first 2 weeks of classes). The cast has been doing very well and is quite ready for our opening night next week!
What would you consider the highlight of the show to be?
The show’s highlights include delightfully catchy ensemble numbers that will keep you singing for days, as well as several fantastic technical achievements like moving subway lights and elevator doors, that really captivate the audience.
The story of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” seems to be all about climbing the corporate ladder. Do you think that there are some real lessons here that Tech students can take with them when they enter the corporate world, or is the show mainly just for laughs?
Finch’s rise up the corporate ladder is due to his intense ambition, unique interpersonal skills, but also a healthy dose of manipulation. While many of his attributes are vital in achieving success, he gets there by any means necessary. While a Tech student could certainly learn a thing or two about channeling ambition, the play is mostly for laughs.
As president of DramaTech, if you had to sum up your particular experience with the production of this show, what would you say?
It is always amazing to see so many people working together to make the show happen. It is especially impressive, since nearly everyone involved in the cast, crew, and design team are all students, taking classes at Tech while putting together a show.