Arts & Entertainment

'How to Succeed' musical's themes still ring true today

Hanford High's drama students plan to capture a true sense of the corporate world of 1961 when they present their winter play, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

The play opens Feb. 4 in the Hanford High auditorium in Richland. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m.

The story line follows the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, which opened on Broadway in 1961, about a window washer who reads a book that promises readers the secrets to succeeding in business without really trying.

The washer puts the rules of the book to practice at the World Wide Wicket Co. and eventually catapults himself to vice president in charge of advertising.

Although Hanford High's cast of characters for this show probably see the 1960s as ancient history, they have embraced their characters with modern day enthusiasm.

Like senior Garrett Lander, who'll play two roles -- as an executive and a mailman.

"The mailman is just a chorus role, but it's been really fun creating him," Lander said. "I remember I pulled out this imaginary mail cart and an entire adorable, socially awkward character formed from there.

"During my favorite song, Coffee Break, I get smacked and cower on the floor. Fun stuff."

Senior Cydney Thompson plays Miss Jones, the head secretary of World Wide Wicket Co.

"This show is so ridiculously fun (and) we get along extremely well for so big a cast," Thompson said.

Part of the ridiculous fun Thompson mentioned is that the company really doesn't manufacture anything and the employees don't do any real work. But the employees do seem to exert a lot of energy trying to get ahead by keeping up the appearance of working, said director Matt Leggett.

"In the era of Enron-Madoff-mortgage collapse, the questions of the play seem very relevant," he said.

In other words: To what lengths will a person go to succeed?

And the musical story stays true to its ridiculously funny theme.

Just ask senior Andrew Watson, who plays Bud Frump, the nephew of Mr. Biggley, president of the World Wide Wicket Co.

Watson's character spies on his co-workers, relaying information about them to his mother, who tells her sister, who tells her husband, who just happens to be the big boss man Mr. Biggley.

To what end? No one really knows.

"It's gonna be a great show, believe me. Mainly because I'm in it," Watson quipped.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and are available at the door or in advance from Adventures Underground bookstore in the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;