By VARSHA BADAVIDE
The 2019 spring musical, presented by the UHS Theater Arts department, will be the classical musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. With a total of nine weeks for the cast to practice and perfect the acting and choreography, as well as for the tech crew to build stunning sets and costumes, this musical is bound to be immensely entertaining with its satirical humor and energetic dance numbers.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical, and it follows the story of ambitious, creative window washer J. Pierrepont Finch, who discovers a book entitled ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.’ Through this book’s instructions, along with his own cleverness, Finch climbs up the corporate ladder until he reaches the very top of the World Wide Wicket Company, while encountering several problems and a budding romance along the way.
“Each musical has its own flair,” director Ms. Ranae Bettger said. “ [How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying] has a very jazzy Fosse feel with a cynical sense of humor and a classical book. We haven’t done a show with a sarcastic tone since Dames at Sea in 2012, so that will be fun and new to most of our audience community.”
Auditions were held on December 10 and 11, while callbacks continued from December 13 to 14. An astounding 86 students auditioned for the 32 member cast. This year’s ensemble is more female oriented and also includes even gender pairs.
In addition to acting and singing, actors that wished to audition were also required to perform some of the basic choreography for one of the show’s songs. In order to help the actors gain a better understanding of the audition process and choreography, two workshops were held on Wednesday, December 5, and Friday, December 7, which offered aspiring actors an opportunity to consult with Bettger, as well as to rehearse the choreography.
“The workshops [were] a time to collaborate with other students and ask Ms. Bettger questions,” sophomore Gwen Carpenter said. “It helps to see the more experienced dancers perform the number so I can improve myself.”
Although this year’s audition process was the same as that of previous years, this year was the first time in a decade in which the entire casting team were all present during auditions. This year’s team of experienced leaders includes conductor and newest member Andrew Winslow, expert vocal director Amy Stephens, accomplished choreographer Cris Stuart and director Ranae Bettger, for whom this will be her 47th directorial project and 9 musical at UHS.
“Having this dedicated, passionate and knowledgeable casting team surely amped up the audition rigor but has also expedited and streamlined the requirements for students,” Bettger said.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying will be showing for two weeks, from March 7 to 9 and March 14 to 16.
“We’ll get belty songs, choreography that stuns and a set that wows,” Bettger said. “This classical piece of literature with 4 Broadway Openings is sure to keep up Uni Theater Arts’ reputation as a triple threat (Best Direction, Best Choreography and Best Orchestra for 2018) in Orange County theater.”