Theater Department to Perform “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”

The University of New Haven Theater Department is bringing back the “Golden Age” of musicals, with their production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The production will run from Wednesday (April 19) to Saturday (April 22), with evening performances every night and an additional matinee performance on Saturday.

“The first question I always have to ask with any production that I am a part of is ‘why do we have to do this now?’ I am never satisfied doing a show because I think it will be fun or I think people will have fun, which I think this show definitely is,” said Steve Luber, director and program coordinator for theater.
He described the theme of cheating and scamming to the top of a company, as kind of “cute,” but then went into the dark, almost scary, dual-message it held given the past election. The musical is much more relevant than originally intended.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is different from past University productions largely due to the caliber of the musical and the multiple parts working together in tandem.
“What’s neat about this is how so many people are working on it from all different facets of the community,” said Luber.

One major difference Luber brought up was the use of an orchestra rather than a band, as was the case in past years.

Bailey Lanzilotta, a sophomore involved in the orchestra, described an orchestra as “bringing the musical to life,” explaining that it adds a certain theatrical and dramatical components that is lacking in musical recordings.

Another change from previous years is the extremely complex coordination of lights and sound within the musical. Samantha Cosnoski, a sophomore involved with the sound production explained how rewarding it is to be a part of such a large production. She detailed her experience, stating that it is great to “be a part of making that show even better.”

“There are so many moving pieces: between the technical aspects of the show, big musical numbers and overall big cast,” said Kiera Terrell, who plays Rosemary Pilkington in the production.
Kate Herr, Assistant Director of the production described the production’s technical aspects, explaining that “we are using many more specialized lights than we have in the past, and the sound is going to be mixed live.”

“This production requires a larger cast and production team than some of the others we have produced,” said Alec Smith, stage manager for the production. “On any given performance there will be around 60 students working to make this production successful.”

Herr explained some of the frustrations which go into such a large production, but added that the chaos becomes worth it when the show finally begins coming together, a change that typically occurs in tech week.

“It is tech week. But for me, it is one of my favorite parts of the whole process. All the different parts are finally starting to work together and mesh,” she said.

The musical would never come to fruition without the hard work of the students involved. Michael Kennedy, who plays J. Pierrepont Finch in the production, is excited to sing in his first University musical, and had a few words about the rest of the cast.

“This cast inspires me to be better every single day,” said Kennedy. “This cast deserves to be seen, so I hope people choose to come see this wonderful production.”

Terrell described her favorite part of the process: the beginning full runs of the show. She explained that she loves “really focusing on the dynamic and journey of my character.”

Smith is in charge of scheduling and facilitating rehearsals, as well as coordinating everything from design, stage crew, and the actors during tech week.

“The challenge of coordinating stage crews, stage management, the cast, the orchestra, and our designers and their teams is second to none. These tech rehearsals are hours of taking the artistic designers final ideas and synthesizing them to create a final production one line at a time,” he said.