Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

March 20, 2014 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 3B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 3B

Music, Theater & Dance senior Karl Skyler Urban plays J. Pierrepont Finch, a conniving manipulator.
MUSKET shows 1
'How to Succeed

theater to perform
Broadway musical
Daily TV/New Media Editor
On a cold and dreary Michigan
night, hitching a bus ride to the
very last stop on Commuter South
wouldn't seem like the best way to
lift your spirits. Hop offthebus and
you're alone in a desolate asphalt
nowhere (and only wakes from its
slumber to the caffeine injection of
a Football Saturday in September
or the sporadic basketball game). If
you're lucky, though, you'll notice
a faint glimmer peeking out of the
dark. The non-descript Student
Theatre Arts Complex (or STAC) is
a beacon in the snowy quietude of
South Campus, holding within it a
secret treasure: A buzzing ecosys-

tem of performers, designers, pro-
ducers and directors, aglow with
the palpable energy of MUSKET's
"How to Succeed in Business With-
out Really Trying."
Each semester, the University's
entirely student-run theater com-
pany, MUSKET, pulls talent from
all walks of campus to put on a
show. This weekend, the group is
tackling its second musical of the
2013-2014 season - the classic
"How to Succeed in BusinessWith-
out Really Trying." Most will rec-
ognizethe "Mad Men"-era satirical
comedy for its recent revival on
Broadway, which starred big-name
actors like Daniel Radcliffe and the
University's own Darren Criss, but
it originally rose to mainstream
popularityin 1962, when it won the
Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The laugh-out-loud Broadway
musical is a 180-degree flip from
MUSKET's fall show, "Rent," a
contemporary rock-opera about

"When we make u
try to choose two sh
contrasting so that w
diversity to the organ
Music, Theater & L
Hannah Rosenthal, th
ducer. "We thought'
ceed' would be a gre
this semester and a gr
season because we w
something that was a
a dated comedy. We tf
do something differen
The potential to d(
different" is whatn
ing this lesser-kno
to the University s
- there's room to
script through the le
lege. student mental
parallels between st
our lives today, with
sure of everyone in
already knowing and
single song. Even for

was written over 50 years ago, the
direction and acting choices con-
sciously highlight timeless themes.
"Without Really Trying"
"How to Succeed" is the story
of J. Pierrepont Finch, a window
washer who, through following
the instructions outlined in the
eponymous book, quickly rises
in the ranks of the World Wide
Wicket Company. The director of
the show, Music, Theater & Dance
junior Eleanor Todd explained,
"It's definitely a satire to the n1h'
degree about big business and the
idea of success. There is no manual
that gives you every single step to
succeeding, and that's what the
whole show is about - that fiction-
al manual and how it critiques big
business, which is still very much
VILUIAMS/Daily pertinent today."
The show's satire rests on the
shoulders of the characters, par-
ticularly J. Pierrepont Finch, who
is simultaneously a conniving
manipulator and an empathetic
protagonist. Music, Theater &
Dance senior Karl Skyler Urban,
whoplays inchin this production,
describes this dichotomy as the
most interesting part of bringing
the role to the stage.
"The show is called 'How to
p a season we Succeed in Business Without Really
ows that are Trying.' Finch uses every little clue
e bring some he can pick up to step on people and
ization," said get ahead in the game, and that's
)ance senior been a really cool exploration. It's
e show's pro- fun to find a leading character like
How to Suc- this who the audience has to root
at choice for for or wants to root for but actually
eat fit for this is ill intentioned and he still gets
vanted to try away with it," Urban said.
little more of Todd hopes that Finch's unique
hought, 'Let's brand of lazy ambition will strike a
1' " chord with millennials, who have
o "something grown up surrounded by that same
makes bring- kind of dumb luck success.
iwn musical "The satirical 'without really
o much fun trying' aspect pertains to today
interpret the even more than it did back in the
ens of a col- '60s when more often people were
ity and find putting in those 70 hour work
orylines and weeks," Todd said. "Finch kind of
out the pres- epitomizes the lazy people within
the audience us who would love to find this
loving every magic little book that gives us the
* a show that key to success without breaking a
"I think especially college stu-
dents have these big ideas and
these big dreams and they want to
accomplish them right away - like
Finch, they want to succeed right
away and figure out who they need
to know, how to get to the right
meetings, and who to follow down
a hallway to get where they wanna
be," Rosenthal said.

der gap in wages and all of those
things that you see in this show
that are satirized through charac-
ters like Rosemary and the female
secretaries who literally sing a song
about how they're not toys," Todd
She and LSA junior Kimberly
Hay, who portrays Rosemary, put a
lot of thought into the implications
of the character in preparation for
the show.
"This whole show is meant to
bring to light things that we sort
of take for granted like the follies
of the corporate world and gender
inequality," Hay said. "Back then it
was obviously much more blatant,
but it's still really relevant today.
The only thing Rosemary really
knows how to be ambitious for is
to find a man and not have to work
and settle down."
The show's other leadingfemale
character, Hedy LaRue, described
by Todd as "the quintessential
vamp of the show," acts as a foil to
the sweet and slightly naive Rose-
mary. Hedy is the mistress of the
company's president, J.B. Biggley,
and is often portrayed as a ditzy
dumb blonde archetype, but Todd
read her as more street smart.
"Hedy manipulates men really
brilliantly because she under-
stands as a woman that she really
only has one weapon and it's sex,"
Todd said.
In an interesting twist on the
classic show, this production of
"How to Succeed" stars a man in
the role of Hedy LaRue - a choice
that came about by chance, but
ended up having significant mean-
"We hadn't intended on using
a man at all but Ross came in and
gave this great audition, and I was
really thinking about it and I was
like, 'isn't it even more poignant if
Hedy LaRue, who is the one female
who actually has some power in
the show, is played by a man?' "
Todd said. "In casting it's impor-
tant to make sure that a big show
like this is funny, but everything
also has deeper meaning under-
neath it."
MUSKET's Business
Much like an actual busi-
ness, MUSKET runs on creativ-
ity, innovation and collaboration.
Unlike the characters in the show,
though, the team behind "How

to Succeed in Business Without
Really Trying" is putting signifi-
cant effort into the production.
Rehearsals run from 7-11 p.m.
every night of the week except for
Sundays. When they're not in the
scene that's being rehearsed, cast
members hustle through the halls
of the STAC, mumbling lines and
doing vocal warm-ups or coin-
pleting homework for the follow-
ing day.
Because it's a student-run
group with open auditions,
MUSKET attracts students from
across the University, and that's
what makes it a fun organization
to be involved with.
"It's the best way to participate
in musical theater on campus
while still studying, like, engi-
neering, and meet people from
all other majors who are doing
the same thing as you are. You
get to meet new people and dif-
ferent people while stillbeingable
to maintain a different study," said
Engineering sophomore Addison
Music, Theater & Dance junior
Elias Wygodney likens the experi-
ence of working with MUSKET to
the themes of the show, which he
reads in a more positive light.
"The story itself shows that
if you have a passion for some-
thing, you should trust in your-
self and believe that you yourself
can take you there," Wygodney
said. "Finch doesn't really depend
on others to take himself where
he wants to go and neither does
Biggley. That's what made them so
successful. It should give students
the confidence to take themselves
wherever they need to go."
"We all work together through-
out the process to make sure that
what's happening in the rehears-
al room is working toward our
vision," Rosenthal said. "We
make sure it gets executed from
the very first rehearsal to the last
promotional poster that is hung
on campus for the show."
The ebullient cast of "How to
Succeed" achieves their version
of success by working long hours
and late nights, honing their
material and their skills right up
until opening night. The mem-
bers of MUSKET are dedicated
to their business of putting on
a show, and they don't need an
instruction manual to tell them
how to do it.


The last time the Wu-Tang
Clan released a studio album?
2007. So thisweek, they sur-
prised fans
by drop-
Watch," Keep WAch
a song WM-Tang Clan
from their f .h
upo-feat. Nathaniel
ing album Soul Temple
A Better
Tomorrow. The track looks back
to hip-hop'sgolden age as much
as it looks forward to the future
of rap.
"Keep Watch" features a
retro, soulful vocal background
backing a smooth hook per-
formedby singer Nathaniel. As
much as it synthesizes both the
present trends and the vintage
old school sounds, "Keep Watch"
celebrates the group's chem-
istry - seemingly, rap groups
are a thing of the past, but Wu-
TangClanhasmanaged tokeep

the concept relatively fresh by
showcasingtheir individual and
undeniable rap talent (can any-
one start a verse as smoothly as
Method Man?).
Lyrically, the song is a throw-
back, alludingto early hip-hop
culture ("b-boys" references
to Trouble T. Roy and Heavy
D, etc.). But isn't there some
rule about past trends always
cycling back? If so, the Wu-
Tang Clan has hit the nail on
the head: Old School feels so
foreign, exotic and, as a result,
cool. Aside for a few standout
rap groups like Odd Future
and G.O.O.D Music, theindi-

vidual rapper has generally
become the fan favorite of the
two. And while Wu-Tang Clan
may not be looking to make
waves with "Keep Watch,"
they're proving that hip-hop
groups can still be done suc-
Their upcoming album is
expected to be released in the
coming months, commemorat-
ing the Wu-Tang Clan's 20th
anniversary. If "Keep Watch" is
any indication of how the album,
ABetter Tomorrow, will turn
out, then fans should expect an
exciting release.

Gender Roles in the Workforce
As Finch rises in at the World
Wide Wicket Company, he attracts
the attention of Rosemary, a sec-
retary who dreams of marrying a
successful businessman and living
in a house in the suburbs. Her big
solo, "Happy to Keep His Dinner
Warm," features lyrics like "Oh, to
be loved by a manI respect; to bask
in the glow of his perfectly under-
standable neglect," offering a bla-
tant and scathing satiricalcriticism
of gender roles in the workforce -
an issue that has improved since
the era of the musical's composi-
tion, but still persists to this day.
"There's still sexism in the
workforce, there's still a huge gen-

Urban's character Finch succeeds in business by relying only on himself.

Each week we take shots at the biggest
developments in the entertainment world.
Here's what hit (and missed) this week.

'All Apologies' jk Nevermind."
Nirvana inducted into Rock 'n' Roll
Hall of Fame, sans original drummer.

CuteLoecist fklVRihanna at
Speaking of Nirvana..jitsm
oint sumr
Courtney Love claims to know where reeK nye
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is. Kanye West gets 2 years of
probation and mandated anger
management for punching a
A Big quesa-deal-a!
Applebee's introduces The
Quesadilla Burger.

nd Eminem announce
ner "Monster Tour

Design by tab Weins



Back to Top

© 2022 Regents of the University of Michigan