Burns Park Players presents ‘How to Succeed in Business …’

February performances to benefit Ann Arbor Public Schools students

From the Burns Park Players

The Burns Park Players gets ahead again this season with Frank Loesser, Jack Weinstock, Willie Gilbert, and Abe Burrows’s classic musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Burns Park Players
The Burns Park Players presents "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." (Photo courtesy, Myra Klarman and the Burns Park Players)

With a cast and crew of 170, the annual Burns Park Players production raises money for the Ann Arbor Public Schools and involves dozens of residents from around Burns Park Elementary School.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4; Saturday, Feb. 5; Thursday, Feb. 10; and Friday, Feb. 11. and at  4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb 12. All shows are at the Tappan Middle School Auditorium, 2251 E. Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor.  The final dress rehearsal is also open to the public on Thursday, Feb. 3; rehearsal performance begins at 7:30.

Ticket sales begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan.19. Reserved seating tickets are available for $15 at Morgan and York Market, 1928 Packard, Ann Arbor, or at the door one hour before the show. Premium seating tickets (which include reserved parking) are available for $30.  For information on purchasing premium tickets, call Ken Kollman at 734-478-0449.

Tickets for the dress rehearsal are $5 and available at the door only, beginning at 7 p.m.

Originally produced on Broadway in 1961, “How to Succeed …” ran for 1,417 performances and won seven Tony Awards.  In 1995 a revival starring Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullally ran for 548 performances, and a new revival is slated to open in March, 2011, starring Daniel Radcliffe.  Its songs, with music and lyrics written by Frank Loesser, include such hits as “I Believe in You” and “Brotherhood of Man.”

As the show opens in its New York setting, window washer J. Pierpont Finch happens upon the book “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and, following its instructions, lands a job in the mailroom and begins to work his way up the corporate ladder of WWWC.  Thanks to the book, Finch is rapidly promoted, outsmarts Bud Frump, and even secures secretary Rosemary Pilkington’s love.  But when his major advertising campaign goes awry, not even his trusty book can save him.

Community members from the Burns Park area are involved with the production ranging in age from 6 to 91.  Featured performers include Caroline Huntoon, Jeffrey Post, Ben Cohen, Lisa Harris, Fred Hall, Aviva Simonte, Talia Glass and Joel Swanson.

Longtime Detroit-area air personality Dick Purtan will make a special voice appearance.  And, in keeping with Burns Park Players tradition, more than 100 students from Burns Park Elementary School also are featured in the cast.

As in years past, proceeds from this show will benefit performing arts in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Since its inception, the Burns Park Players has contributed more than $245,000 to the district and its students. Past contributions have included:

  • Ann Arbor Rec & Ed scholarship support for performing arts and camps,
  • Financial support for Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation Teacher Grants fund and
  • $5,000 per year to support private instrumental music lessons provided by Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts for talented middle school students who could not otherwise afford them.

Directing this year’s production is Mike Mosallam, the music director is Eric Lofstrom and choreographers are Mike Mosallam and Christie Schauder.  The musical is produced by Debi Haller, Kathy Koehler and Sara Meingast.

The Burns Park Players was formed in 1984 by a small group of parents looking for a way to raise money to send their Burns Park Elementary School children to camp. Since that time, the group has grown into an active and unique community theater company that has maintained it original commitment to family-oriented musical productions.

To find out more about the group, visit www.burnsparkplayers.org.

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