Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

How to Succeed Business without Really Trying
Bay Area Musicals
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Eddie's review of The Jewelry Box, Richard's review of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder and Patrick's review of Notes of a Native Song

Kirk Johnson, Kyle Stoner,
and Brendon North

Photo by Ben Krantz
Bay Area Musicals (BAM!) is a brand new musical theatre group in the Bay Area. Founded last year by Matthew McCoy, their mission is three-fold: to exemplify Bay Area diversity in season selections, casting and professional development; to produce professional productions at accessible ticket rates; and to engage the community through performance, outreach and educational opportunities. How to Succeed Business without Really Trying is the company's opening production, running through December 19 at the Marine's Memorial Theatre.

This will be my fifth time seeing this musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and a great book by Abe Burrows. I saw the original production with Robert Morse and Rudy Vallee at the 46th Street Theatre in 1961. A couple of years later, I saw Warren Berlinger and Billy De Wolfe at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, followed by the much later revival at the Richard Rodgers Theatre starring Matthew Broderick. Several years ago I witnessed the terrific production at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills with Mike Rhone as J. Pierrepont Finch.

This somewhat brave venture quite exceeded my expectations. This is a musical that demands top-flight talent, excellent choreography, and swift-changing scenes, and I give BAM! an A for effort for presenting this fun musical with a very young, energetic actor-singers. Kyle Stoner has damn good vocal chops, especially in his rendition of "I Believe in You" and "Brotherhood of Man." He agreeably plays the role almost as a straightforward man you can never trust.

Chloe Condon gives depth to the role of Rosemary. She had strong vocal cords in her rendition of "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm" and "Paris Original." Kirk Johnson gives a splendid performance as CEO J.B. Biggley while Brendon North is impressive as the villain Bud Frump, the boss's covetous nephew. Nichole Frydman as Smitty has pitch perfect resonance in her deliveries of "Been a Long Day," and "Cinderella Darling." Mary Kalita as the airhead Hedy La Rue gives a sexy performance with the voice of Vivian Blaine from Guys and Dolls. The rest of the large cast are effective in their roles.

Costumes by Pasquale Spezzano are of the early '60s era, while Brian Watson has designed a simple office set consisting mostly of flat panels. Matthew McCoy vigorously directs this lively musical.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying runs through December 19th, 2015, at the Marine's Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street, San Francisco For tickets call 415-3402207 or visit Coming up next for Bay Area Musicals is Hair opening at the Victoria Theatre, 16th off Van Ness Street, San Francisco.

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