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How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Review by Tom Provenzano, LA Weekly, June 4-10, 1999

It is the appearance of not really trying that makes this revival of Frank Loesser’s 1960s classical musical such a joy from beginning to end. Director-choreographer Todd Nielsen moves his engaging cast through some 22 songs with an effortlessness that can only come from extraordinarily specific work. The tightly scripted piece (book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert) follows the travails of J. Pierrepont Finch (Nick DeGruccio), a young man weaseling his way up the corporate ladder through flattery and perfect timing. While retaining all the charm of this popular character, DeGruccio adds a devilish spirit that makes him less wide-eyed than he is usually played, an interesting take that adds a bit more tension to the tug-of-war between Finch and his archrival, the boss’ nefarious nephew Bud Frump (a wretchedly funny Chad Borden). Musical direction Brian Murphy and his accomplished musicians, along with excellent vocal work from the ensemble, breathe fresh life into Loesser’s familiar, bouncy score. All this is packaged in Nielsen’s highly presentational style that uses two-dimensionality to great effect. Shon Le Blanc’s distinctive, colorful ‘60s outfits mesh well with Scott Storey’s muted period scenery to create a joyful visual frame for this fine production.

Copyright 1999, LA Weekly
Reprinted by permission
How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Colony Theatre