February 10, 2011
Burns Park Players: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
Smitty (Talia Glass) and the other secretaries read up on “How to Hook a Tycoon and Take Him For All He’s Worth” in How to Succeed (reprise).
Every year I rack my brains trying to come up with fresh ways of extolling the virtues of the latest Burns Park Players Production. So forgive me for reposting here my comment on Roger LeLievre’s glowing review in AnnArbor.com: “Congrats to the cast and crew for such a gorgeous show filled with powerful numbers and great physical comedy. And you make it all look so easy (yet I know all the months, weeks, days, and hours you spent in rehearsals and meticulous preparation)!”
Truly, so much time goes into this. You don’t get a show this good without lots of work and rework. But I think what makes the Burns Park Players successful (and sustainable) is that while cast and crew members are skilled and talented, they are also very hilarious (and perhaps more than a little crazy, too). And somehow most Players manage to find rewards and joyful refuge in this winter-long, often arduous, creative project. Max, Rico, and I continue to be absolutely giddy that we are a part of this rare and extraordinary family.
Before we roll film, I wanted to mention I am holding back several choice shots that contain spoilers (
I will post those after the show’s run is over they’re now posted below). If you can make it to this show — even if doing so would necessitate bribes and/or threats — I highly recommend getting your tush to Tappan!
Only Three More Performances!
- Thursday, Feb. 10 @ 7:30pm
- Friday, Feb. 11 @ 7:30pm
- Saturday, Feb. 12 @ 4pm matinee
- Reserved Seats: $15
Available NOW at Morgan & York (1928 Packard, Ann Arbor), or at the door one hour before showtime.
- Patron Seats: $30
You’ll enjoy the best seats in the house and reserved parking. To purchase, please contact Ken Kollman at 734-478-0449.
The show is just filled with hilarious sight gags and physical comedy. These shots only give a tiny taste (I don’t want to ruin the show for anyone coming this weekend). Left: In the circus-clowns-crammed-into-a-VW-Bug tradition, a shockingly vast horde of office workers pours out of the elevator. | Right: “If you want to be in musical comedy, you should learn to take a pratfall” (Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions). Fred Hall (as J.B. Biggley) has got that covered!
Rosemary Pilkington (Caroline Huntoon) would be Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm. This scrub woman (played by 91-year-old Fredda Clisham) finds it very disconcerting that someone would just break into song in the middle of the office lobby, with the janitorial broom no less — as if such things never happen in musicals! It’s become a running tradition in Burns Park Players shows for Fredda’s character to break the “fourth wall
.” | Pierpont Finch (Jeffrey Post), moments before he infiltrates “the right company.”
Top row: Six-show Burns Park Players director Mike Mosallam. | “Queen” Jane Ferris helps keeps the nearly 100 kids in line. | Sets Crewhead Jim Wallace is the mastermind behind the elevator door (literally and figuratively). | One of the three brave producers, Kathy Koehler.
Bottom row: Shirley Burgoyne plays trumpet in the orchestra; her fourth-grade grandson is in the cast. | It took years of dedicated practice for Music Director Eric Lofstrom to master the kazoo. | Costumes await their cue. | This prop was made using ox hair. No joke! Kudos to new Player Jennifer Monk-Rising and her crew for pulling together all the amazing props.
Watch out! Twimble (Joel Swanson) threatens to steal the show. | Desperate office workers are frantic during the coffee-less Coffee Break!
Bud Frump (Ben Cohen) won’t let the negligent coffee attendant (Howard Weinblatt) escape unscathed in Coffee Break. | The mailroom fellas are hilarious in The Company Way.
StenoPooler (Sally Pinnell) schools Twimble (Joel Swanson) that A Secretary is Not a Toy. | This executive (Vic Strecher) apparently didn’t get that memo.
Love is finally requited for Rosemary (Caroline Huntoon and Jeffrey Post). | A despondent Bud Frump (Ben Cohen) pledges revenge.
I promise that the sets crew is a very friendly bunch once you get to know them!
The fifth-grade girls are lovely in Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm (reprise).
The fifth grade boys are mighty fierce in I Believe in You. And the harmonies get me every time.
The executives make a convincing case for keeping their jobs in the show-stopping number, Brotherhood of Man.
Check back for a few more pix after the final curtain goes down on Saturday’s matinee. Now that the show is over, here are those other pix:
For some cast members, preparing for their parts required both extra stuffing and extra puffing (on prop cigarettes and cigars filled with talcum powder).
The Paris Original number never stopped surprising — even as the 20th character appeared on stage donning this “one-of-a-kind” dress.
The men’s washroom scene during a dress rehearsal. For part of this number, the orchestra carries the melody line on kazoos, evoking, we presume, the buzz of the executives’ electric razors. (And I dare not mention the unmentionables!)
An earlier men’s washroom rehearsal photographed from backstage. I spy a re-purposed chunk-o’-scenery from Guys and Dolls.
Brotherhood of Man with Wally Womper (Joel Swanson sporting a swingin’-60s, moptop coiffe).