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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How To Succeed In Elm Grove

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Elm Grove’s Sunset Playhouse reaches for something ambitious with its production of the durable hit musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. The performance itself is a little rough around the edges musically, comically and dramatically, but it’s a remarkably beautiful production animated by a tremendous amount of charm.

Jake Konrath achieves an admirable level of earnestness as J. Pierrepont Finch, who starts in the mailroom of a large company and works his way up. Katie Katschke brings wholesome charisma to the role of his love interest Rosemary. The rest of the ensemble supports the central relationship quite well. Samantha Paige Deibler is one of the bigger presences onstage as the vivacious Hedy LaRue, casually breathing a witty depth into her flat character. Mark Neufang doesn’t go for depth in his portrayal of the petty, scheming Bud Frump. Neufang’s willingness to throw himself so completely into a sniveling antagonist makes his portrayal of Frump fun even without the depth. 

Director Tommy Lueck does a brilliant job of directing large group scenes. The crazy energy of a 20th-century office is brought to the stage. Without careful attention to detail, the rather large cast could obscure any coherent picture. Lueck does a good job of bringing it all together. Thanks to the work of a really sharp design team, the production looks good as well. Bright colors assert themselves across the stage in clean lines that provide a sharp and vivid backdrop for what is a surprisingly fun production.

The Sunset Playhouse’s production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying runs through Aug. 11 at the Furlan Auditorium. For tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.

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