Friday, July 25, 2014

EDMT succeeds in ‘How to Succeed without Really Trying’


THE CAST OF How to Suceed in Business Without Even Trying rehearse "Company Way," at Guiding Hands School in El Dorado Hills on April 11. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

From page B2 | April 19, 2013 |

What: “How to Succeed in Business with Really Trying”

Who: El Dorado Musical Theatre

Where: Three Stages, Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway, Folsom

When: Friday, April 19 to Sunday, May 5

Cost: $18 to $36

Information: or or call 916-608-6888

By today’s standards, mid-1950s Americans were living in fairytale land. It was a time when any young man with pluck and charm could become president of a corporation. Any young woman with good looks and charm could marry “Prince Charming.”

Prince Charming was often the young man who had risen to the top of the corporate ladder. It was a time when young men and women were leaving small towns and going to the big cities to find their fortunes and make a new life.

“How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” is based on a real-life story, and El Dorado Musical Theatre’s production at Three Stages, 10 College Parkway in Folsom, this spring brings the story to life.

The show opens Friday, April 19 and runs through Sunday, May 5.

Shepherd Mead published the humorous book about his rise to vice president of an advertising firm in New York City in 1952. The full title was, “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying: The Dastard’s Guide to Fame and Fortune.”


Success story

Like the hero of his book, J. Pierrepont Finch, Mead started in the mailroom, the first step on the corporate ladder.

Today’s mailroom may be contained in a computer server. Then it was a bustling place of office intrigue where young strivers learned the rules of the game.

The book is a double satire. It is written as a spoof of “how-to” manuals of the day. It is also a satire on Mead’s experience in corporate America.

While it took Mead years to rise to vice president, young Finch’s flight from mailroom to chairman of the board is accomplished in only one week.

For young women, the secretarial pool was the entry point, and to be selected as a private secretary meant money, prestige and personal access.

Rosemary Pilkington is the lovely young secretary who hangs her star on Finch’s success.

The book, nicknamed H2$, like a stock symbol, became a best seller. It was adapted as a musical and opened in New York in 1961, winning many awards.

At the time it was called a musical masterpiece.


More success

El Dorado Musical Theatre has done a masterful job of recreating the time and the characters.

Debbie Wilson, co-founder, artistic director and choreographer, has directed and choreographed over 50 musicals since EDMT started in 2001 in El Dorado Hills.

Wilson said this is the first time EDMT has presented “How to Succeed …” She calls it an old-fashioned musical.

“It is book-heavy,” she said. That means it has a lot of dialogue. “The script is 146 pages. Compare that to ‘Grease,’ which has 77 pages,” she said.

As soon as EDMT scheduled this musical, the set and costume designers went on a treasure hunt to find old telephones, typewriters, furniture and vintage clothing.

Christine Martorana, also a dance instructor, has been designing costumes at EDMT for 12 years. She has developed relationships with other theaters in the region and thrift stores.

Martorana was able to come up with enough classic Fedora felt hats, suits and shoes for all the males in the company, and suits, dresses, purses and hats for the females.

At rehearsals, her costume room is a beehive of activity with volunteers busy sewing and refitting.

Wilson said she saw the 1995 Broadway production and watched the 2011 version. Then she developed her own version, not over-the-top, but not underplayed.

She hit the mark.


New life

The actors delved into their characters, watching vintage films and created back stories to flesh out their characters. They had to learn how to put on a hat, how to move in skirts and dresses, the social protocols, and words and phrases of that time.

The music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, who had done “Guys and Dolls,” carry the story. One of the songs, “I Believe in You,” became a popular hit.

Vocal director Jennifer Martin Wittmayer keeps the singing in sync with the story, with singers projecting strongly and cleanly without any huge belting.

An offstage narrator reads the instructions as Finch checks to find out his next step.

To represent the period, Zach Wilson, 13, created a series of projections that are shown in the background throughout the play. For example, Chairman of the Board JP Biggley is seen on the front page of Time and other magazines.

EDMT will present 14 performances of “How to Succeed …” between April 19 and May 5. There are two casts, with the leads taking turns, while the supporting actors and ensemble remain the same.

The leads are members of the High Voltage Tour Group, which started four years ago. They have performed together at EDMT for several years and developed a strong comraderie.

Two couples developed from the group play romantic leads in the show.

In the Wickets cast, Andrew Wilson, 17, home-schooled, plays J. Pierrepont Finch. Julia Adams, 17, Oak Ridge High School, is Rosemary Pilkington. Stefan Sorgea, 19, Folsom Lake College, takes the role in the Ivy Cast, with Carly Speno, 18, Oak Ridge, as Rosemary.

Alex Levy, 19, FLC, is the Wickets chairman of the board, JP Biggley. Zackary Royal, 18, Oak Ridge, takes over in the Ivy cast.

Kaileen Teter, 21, as Hedy LaRue in the Wickets cast, finished double AA degrees at FLC and will be studying English and psychology. Anjie Rose Wilson, 16, home-schooled, plays Hedy in the Ivy cast. Hedy joins the firm as a former cigarette girl, selling cigarettes in nightclubs. She wastes no time in the secretarial pool, but goes straight for Mr. Biggley.

Dylan Gray, 18, FLC, plays Bud Frump in both casts. A relative newcomer to EDMT, Gray plays the snide nephew-in-law to the chairman.

The actors bring their own interpretations to the lead roles, but all of them are genuine and believable. It is a great production and worthwhile to see both cast versions.

Andrew Wilson said one of the messages of the show is “not being ashamed of who you are.”

This is the last production for many of the cast members. Several are waiting to find out where they will be accepted for college. Alex Levy, who found his niche as a character actor, is bound for London.

Anjie Rose Wilson was accepted into the Radio City Rockette’s summer intensive program.

El Dorado Musical Theatre is a nationally-recognized theatre and the recipient of numerous awards.

Ticket prices range from $18 to $36. For tickets visit or call 916-608-6888. The ticket office is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and two hours before a performance.

The Three Stages ticket office is located at 10 College Parkway, Folsom.

For more information about El Dorado Musical Theatre and showtimes visit





Scaffolding issue makes for contentious meeting

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

District 2: Candidates debate jobs versus lifestyle

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Accident: 1 bullet hits 2

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Help available for breastfeeding mothers

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

El Dorado County School Board vacancy

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: A8



Something to think about: More than what you see

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

Popular science

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The weekly Daley: A good time to be there…

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4



Support of Director Prada

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Uphold the Third Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5


By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Imagination Theater’s play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Watch whom you’re calling ‘conservative’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

Fake ‘small farms’ steal from residential EID customers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

People of Placerville

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Computer scam phone calls

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5



Sports Scene: July 24, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Quarter century later, Rypien wins ACCG again

By Andrew Hazard | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Paddle time

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Midget Lites join tomorrow’s action

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A6

El Dorado rallies for last-inning victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

Rush sit a win from Series

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A7

Tasmanian Devils go undefeated

By Patty Pope | From Page: A7



El Dorado wines win in Amador

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B1

Things to do: July 25, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

Suds entice the taste buds

By Krysten Kellum | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Rhythm and Views goes bluesy

By | From Page: B3

Have an Hawaiian vacation at Carson Road wineries

By Carson Road Winery Asociation | From Page: B3Comments are off for this post | Gallery

Summer fun is happening in Twain Harte

By Fire On | From Page: B4Comments are off for this post

Manzanita doubles the music

By Table Nectar And Manzanita | From Page: B5

Recording artist at Busby Cellars

By News Release | From Page: B6

Hands4Hope hosts school supply drive

By News Release | From Page: B6

Supergroup plays Harris Center

By Carrera Productions | From Page: B6

Artists invited to go western

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B7

Visit Tahoe artists during tour

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B7

Reggae on the River celebrates 30 years

By Reggae On | From Page: B7Comments are off for this post



Lake levels 7-24-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 11-13

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Building permits 7/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4



TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A9


By Contributor | From Page: A9

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A9


By Contributor | From Page: A9


By Contributor | From Page: A9


By Contributor | From Page: A9

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Friday, July 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10


Home Source

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4