Theater Caps are bite-sized punch-packing capsule reviews by resident theater critic Elaine Liner. Use them as a reminder -- or a teaser, if you procrastinate -- of her full-length reviews in The Mixmaster's weekly sister.
The 1961 musical How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying is like Mad Men with show tunes.
The executives of the World Wide Wicket Company are in a tizzy watching ambitious young up-and-comer J. Pierrepont Finch climb the corporate ladder at record speed. One day he's a window washer; mere weeks later, he's moving and shaking in a corner office.
The show, full of huge production numbers that pay homage to coffee breaks and sexy secretaries, currently has a hit revival on Broadway starring Daniel Radcliffe as Finch (the vacation replacement will be Glee's Darren Criss). But save your travel dollars because ICT Mainstage at the Irving Arts Center has a dandy version going on right now that will cost you just $20 a ducat.
It stars super talented, super cute SMU student Max Swarner as Finch. You might have seen him as the title role in Theatre Three's recent Pippin or a couple of seasons back starring in Uptown Players' Equus (another role he shares with Radcliffe). Swarner's on every local director's must-get list and in How to Succeed he finally gets to show off the comedy chops he couldn't use in those other shows.
Director Michael Serrecchia and choreographer Megan Kelly Bates add heaps of deliciously comic moves to the show, which has a huge cast that handles the quirky dances and big musical numbers with impressive energy and polish. This is a community theater production that has more pop and pizazz that several of the professional musicals happening around town right now.
Also starring Morgan Mabry Mason as the love interest, the hilarious Peter DiCesare as Finch's nemesis and Jerry Crow as the big bossman.
Performances are 2:30 p.m., Sunday, August 7; 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays through August 13; 8 p.m., Thursday, August 11. Closes August 13. At ICT Mainstage, Irving Arts Center, Irving. Call 972-594-6104.