Tuesday, January 11, 2011

CASTING: How to Succeed...

We've known about the lead casting of the 50th Anniversary production of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying! for some time.  After all, one probably has to book someone of Daniel Radcliffe's stature far in advance, along with some guarantee that the production will happen.  When you've got  Harry Potter - an already proven stage presence - on board, you've killed two birds with one stone so to speak.

Naturally, I am very much interested in seeing the guy do something completely different than we are used to seeing - funny, devious, singing and dancing.  It's a far cry from cute little wizards, high drama and CGI.  No, this will be for real, and I am rooting for the young man to knock it out of the park!

But the rest of the cast ain't no slouch either, and as the complete casting was just fully announced, I thought I'd weigh in on the subject. 

John Larroquette and Rose Hemingway

Sure, it might have been cool to have Emma Watson, cutie patootie serious student play Rosemary, but that would be unparalleled stunt casting.  Thankfully, we have the lovely Rose Hemingway who will be happy to keep old Ponty's dinner warm.  And, if he's even half as good live as he is on television, John Larroquette should be a delicious J.B. Biggley.  One suspects that this multi-Emmy winner will bring much humor and a touch of depth to the leader of World Wide Wickets.

Mary Faber and Christopher J. Hanke

The supporting cast is, well, exceptional.  Truly.  And they really have me excited to see this production.  The always delightful Mary Faber (the best ever Kate Monster) is doing quite a departure from her recent American Idiot gig, as Smitty, the worldly-wise secretary that shows Rosemary the ropes.  Christopher J. Hanke a delight in the not so delightful In My Life, and a delight in the delightful and short lived Cry-Baby will go toe-to-toe with Radcliffe as office bad boy/kiss ass Bud Frump.  Daytime Emmy winner and Smokey Joe's Cafe alumni Michael Park will be the lascivious office manager Bert Bratt who reminds us all that "a secretary is NOT a toy."  Gypsy alumna Tammy Blanchard will don the stilettos and tight dress as object of desire and company dumb blonde Hedy La Rue.  Ellen Harvey as executive assistant Miss Jones and Rob Bartlett (a stitch as Amos in Chicago) will bring nerd-dom to front lines of big business as Twimble, mail room chief.

Megan Sikora and Charlie Williams

There is plenty of good old-fashioned song and dance in this chestnut, too.  It'll be great to see just what director/choreographer does here.  I loved his Promises, Promises work.  To do his dance work, Ashford has assembled quite an ensemble, many of whom have worked with him before, much in the tradition of Bennett and Fosse.  The ensemble includes: Cameron Adams (Promises, Promises, Cry-Baby, Shrek), Cleve Asbury (Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life, Annie Get Your Gun, Jerome Robbins' Broadway), Tanya Birl (Finian's Rainbow, Memphis), Kevin Covert (Memphis, Spamalot), Paige Faure (debut), David Hull (debut), Justin Keyes (The Apple Tree), Marty Lawson (Shrek, Cry-Baby, Movin' Out), Erica Mansfield, (Mamma Mia!), Barrett Martin (The Addams Family, Urban Cowboy), Nick Mayo  (South Pacific, The Ritz), Sarah O'Gleby (Promises, Promises), Stephanie Rothenberg (debut), Megan Sikora (Promises, Promises, Curtains), Michaeljon Slinger (West Side Story, Billy Elliot), Joey Sorge (The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Matt Wall (Promises, Promises, Curtains, The Drowsy Chaperone), Ryan Watkinson (Promises, Promises, Xanadu), Charlie Williams (Memphis, Leap of Faith, Broadway Bares) and Samantha Zack (Wicked).

Here's the first commercial:

A classic musical comedy, an all-star cast, with an ensemble deep with talent... it has the look of nothing but success.  Let's see...and let's hope so!  Broadway needs a big giant hit.  This could be just the ticket.

(Photos from http://www.howtosucceedbroadway.com/)

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