2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Revival of How to Succeed Combines Youth and Experience

Erik Carlson as Mr. Gatch in the 1995 production
The Farmington Players rarely do a revival of a previous play, but for the second time this season that’s the case at the Barn.  After the staging Arsenic & Old Lace last fall, the Players are bringing J. Pierpont Finch out of retirement in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  It’s been 20 years since Mr. F-I-N-C-H climbed the corporate ladder at the World Wide Wicket company, but it will be very familiar territory to one cast member.  Erik Carlson, who plays Wally Womper in the current production, is the only returning cast member from 1995.  It’s understandable that Erik “really wanted to be in this production. Back then, I played Mr. Gatch and the Security Guard as well as a few other lines in the chorus. I really have to hand it to our chorus members this time as they do such a marvelous job and have much more demanding dancing than we had to do back then.” 

This time around, Erik enjoys playing the irascible chairman of the board.  As Erik describes his character, “Wally Womper has to get his role across mostly with just scowls and pacing back and forth when you first see him on stage even though everyone is afraid of him and of losing their jobs. That is until he meets Finch (played by Jason Wilhoite) and then you get to see the softer side of Womper when he finds ‘it's been a long time since I had someone around here I could talk to.’”   Erik enjoys plays roles “where I come in near the end of the play and create havoc.”  (In his previous role at the Barn, he played no-nonsense Officer Welch in Rumors.)  So how does Erik succeed in How to Succeed?  “Being the oldest member of the cast I’ve been trying to keep up with everyone. I do have my ability to project my lines and be heard throughout the building that comes from teaching in different environments. I will measure success when people quote back some of my lines to me … no kidding!” 
Emily Stewart (right) and Stephaney Vietor (left) just say "NO" in "A Secretary is Not a Toy"
At the other end of the age spectrum is 17 year-old Emily Stewart, who—like several of the cast’s ensemble members—was not even born the last time How to Succeed was staged at the Barn!   Emily enjoys dancing and playing a secretary, saying, “I love the fact that I can create my character by just a few dances steps.  The role of a secretary can also be very challenging.  I think that women in the fifties and sixties were very submissive to men because males held much more power in the business world.  Where as now, women have equaled men in the business world and have really come a long way.”  As explained in the song A Secretary is Not a Toy, Emily can relate to her character because “I don't like the way it feels to be objectified and considered attractive solely because of my appearance instead of who I am, which is way more than I am on the outside.   But it's funny how different my reaction is now than what it would've been if I was living in the fifties or sixties.”  Emily thinks How To Succeed is “the funniest, most clever musical comedy I've ever seen.  I think people will enjoy this show because it is the perfect balance of comedy and drama, plus the bonus of amazing musical pieces.”

The Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors.  The show includes 13 performances from April 24 – May 16 and tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

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