THS "Succeeds" in Broadway Quality Production

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Have you ever tried catching a taxi in Tipp City? If not, let me tell you, it’s not easy. I stood outside for at least 45 minutes, and didn’t even see a single one pass by. Some must know it’s a lost cause, as I got some strange looks as I tried calling out for one. Finally, a brave individual asked of my intentions.

“”I’m trying to catch a cab,” I explained, “I don’t want to drive in this New York City traffic.”

He responded with a strange look. “Ummm, this is Tipp City.”

Wait, before you judge me, you have to understand, I had just seen Tippecanoe High School’s production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” and thought I was on Broadway. (The real one, not the road with an elementary school on it.) The show couldn’t possibly have been performed by a bunch of students, the cast was certainly professionals from a BIG city. It had me all confused.

Those who attended a performance, were treated to a phenomenal display of talent in every aspect from song, dance, costumes and set design. Led by Donald Cosip in the lead role of Finch, a window washer who uses his charm to continuously raise himself up the corporate ladder. Cosip has the grin and comedic touch that is perfect for Finch. Despite the characters underhanded tactics, he is someone you can’t help but root for.

A scene in the first act, ‘Grand Old Ivy,’ when Finch very strategically appeases himself to the main boss, J.B Biggley is guaranteed to be funnier than anything in Charlie Sheen’s stage show. Their rendition of the ‘Groundhog’s’ fight song, lifts the spirits of the audience from all the resulting laughter. It also shows the level that Finch is willing to stoop to in order to advance himself.

In role of Biggley, Evan Bourelle is “damn,” good. He’s a boss with a fierce demeanor in the boardroom but can have it quickly softened, when knitting, or enticed by a female.

Speaking of females, I can’t go any further without making mention of Hedy Larue, mastered by Samantha Eastman. It’s a show stealing performance, all eyes are on Eastman when she’s on stage, and not just for her sultry walk but for her amazing presence. A sleazy bombshell, with a distinct accent, Larue adds a heavy punch to the show and is a real knockout.

Though its Rosemary, the name of the character played Amy Tackett should be Sugar or some other sweet herb to match the sound of her voice. It’s eloquence is pitch perfect and radiates along with her bright smile. Beyond just a strong voice, Tackett also brings the right persona to Rosemary, a secretary who is pining for Finch’s affection, or at least attention.

Every good story needs an antagonist, and in “How To…” (you know the rest), that role can be best defined by Bud Frump, the snot nosed nephew of Biggley. Excelling in the role is Kyle Cloud, who made being despicable fun and captured all the mannerisms of a nerdish sleaze. He seemed to play Frump to have a stiff neck, while still keeping the character loose.

A major benefit to the show is that the entire cast brought an extreme sense of realism to their character. To Finch all the way down to the secretary in a wheelchair, they each brought a distinct presence to the stage and proved themselves worthy of being there.

It truly was a performance that soared above high school quality, I don’t think “Glee,” could have even done any better. Every step in the choreography of the group dance numbers were in perfect balance. The scenery as well as the orchestra both combined for a perfect background.

Special mention also goes to Jenna Schairbaum as Smitty, who took a small role and really made it stand out.

“How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” was a professional quality performance, and I would not surprised if some of the players do eventually end up on Broadway. Hopefully then it will be easier to catch a cab.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Kudos, Mike, for a great synopsis of the musical! I was fortunate to attend all three shows plus a dress rehearsal and was amazed at the consistency of the performances. When the show was first announced, I wondered why Sagona had chosen this particular show, but now I find myself waking up with the tunes in my head and reciting some of the lines with my 9-year old daughter. My husband dubbed me as the "unofficial laugh track" because I enjoyed the show so much. What a joy it was to see Mr. Sagona and the kids tackle the challenges of a flat-out comedy and pull it off so well! Additionally, in choosing a show that relied heavily on strong male performances, Sagona drew out some new talent for the Tippecanoe stage. As you highlighted, Mike, the character acting was phenomenal!!! This is also the first high school show that I've attended in which each singing voice was truly a pleasure to hear (thanks to Rachel Sagona on that note!). While the seniors in the cast will be greatly missed, it is easy to see that Mr. Sagona is already thinking ahead and will be ready for the challenge of something of equal caliber in the years to come.

  2. Mike and Barbara – good reviews – the show was a great performance – by any measurement. Acting/singing/music pit/sound/lighting/props/costumes – all amazing – very entertaining.

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