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Show doing business again with added digital features

Date

Ron Cerabona

Smitty (Hannah Wood), Rosemary (Vaness de Jager), J. Pierpont Finch (Adrian Flor) and Mr Bratt (Adam Salter), from Phoenix Players? 2012 musical production "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying".

Smitty (Hannah Wood), Rosemary (Vaness de Jager), J. Pierpont Finch (Adrian Flor) and Mr Bratt (Adam Salter), from Phoenix Players? 2012 musical production "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". Photo: Supplied by Captured Moments

Mad Men will meet the musical when Phoenix Players' production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying clocks on at the ANU Arts Centre on Friday.

The Tony Award and Pulitizer Prize-winning show, with a score by Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls) had not been staged in Canberra outside schools for more than 20 years before Phoenix decided to produce it.

First-time director Richard Block said it was one of his favourite musicals as a boy: he recalled watching the film version on TV.

In the show, J. Pierpont Finch (played by Adrian Flor), a window washer, uses his trusty ''how-to'' book (voiced by Scott Rutar) to make his way into the World Wide Wicket Company and to work his way up from the mailroom to the boardroom.

Along the way he has to deal with a rival, Bud Frump (Zack Drury), who is the nephew of the company president, Mr Biggley (Wayne Shepherd). And then there's the possibility of romance with secretary Rosemary Pilkington (Vanessa de Jager), if he can take his eyes off his goals long enough to notice her.

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe made his Broadway musical debut as Finch in the 50th-anniversary production of the show last year and was succeeded by Nick Jonas and Darren Criss (Glee).

Block said, ''It's a show that regular theatre-goers can enjoy … with a fantastic script and wonderful songs you just remember and sing afterwards.

''It's also a really good show for first-timers who haven't been exposed to musical theatre before, because it's such a funny show with very accessible music: it's easy to enjoy it.''

Block said he had designed special digital features to provide extra content for theatregoers. Some were already available on the Phoenix website (phoenixplayers.com.au), such as a publicity trailer, while others, including cast details, a competition and a facility to send messages to the actors, would be available during the run - before, during and after the show.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is on at the ANU Arts Centre on Friday and Saturday, May 16-19 and 23-26, at 8pm, with 2pm matinees on May 19 and 26 and a 5pm show on May 20. Tickets $25 to $35. Bookings: www.canberrarep.org.au or dinner and show packages are available from Teatro Vivaldi on 6257 2718.

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