Pioneer Players to present musical comedy

March 14, 2017
How to succeed in business without really trying

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Department of Performing and Visual Arts-Theatre and Pioneer Players will continue their 2016-17 production season with the 1961 musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” The musical, with book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert and music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, is based on the 1952 book by Shepherd Mead.

Performances are Thursday, March 30-Saturday, April 1 and Thursday, April 6-Saturday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 2 and Sunday, April 9 at 2 p.m. There also will be a special matinee at 11 a.m. on April 5. All performances will be held in the Richard and Helen Brodbeck Concert Hall.

Ann Dillon Farrelly, the production’s director and associate professor of theatre at UW-Platteville, noted that for the first time, the spring musical will run for two weekends.

According to Farrelly, this Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical follows the adventures of J. Pierrepont Finch as he tries to rise through the ranks of the business world, aided by a handbook that shares the musical’s title. With little experience but a lot of pluck, Finch makes his way to the top of the corporate ladder in record time, falling in love with a secretary named Rosemary along the way.

“With well-known favorites such as ‘Brotherhood of Man,’ ‘A Secretary is Not a Toy,’ and ‘The Company Way,’ this musical is a satire of big business and the dangers of mediocrity,” said Farrelly. “The musical definitely sends a message, but it is also a lot of fun. Ultimately, it is a look at a time gone by that still has lessons for a modern audience.”

The cast includes Ross Spadaro as Finch, Emma Wilson as Rosemary, Noah Thomas as Mr. Biggley, Kyle James as Bud Frump, Sarah McCraw as Hedy, Madison Duling as Smitty, Madison Gruman as Miss Jones, Aaron Pliska as Bratt, Ian Duff as Twimble, Lili Pierce as Miss Krumholtz, Zach Thomas as the Book/Mr. Womper and John Gunther as Gatch.

The ensemble includes Paige Black, Jon Herbers, Austin Henderson, Chris Kott, Cody Lindau, Corbin Schroeder, Blair Schuler, Kiley Schulz, Adam Smith and Meghan Weber. Joining Farrelly on the production team are UW-Platteville’s Susan Savage Day, music director; Connie SaLoutos Furlan, choreographer; Jeffrey Strange, scenic designer; Sarah Strange, costume designer; Bob Demaree, chorus master; Rob Shepherd, conductor; and students Josh Lawyer, lighting designer, Abbie Wagner, stage manager, and Savannah Bettin, assistant music director.
“Theatre is definitely a team sport, and musical theatre is a wonderful collaboration with the members of our music and theatre programs,” said Farrelly. “This production also involves the efforts of students across the university, representing all three colleges. Whether the students are in the cast, working backstage, working as production assistants, or playing in the pit orchestra, it is truly an illustration of what it means to be a UW-Platteville Pioneer.”

Tickets for the production are $12 for general admission, $11 for faculty/staff/seniors, and $7 for students (price includes $2 transaction fee). For tickets and information, contact the University Box Office at 608-342-1298 or online at

Formatted by: Laurie A. Hamer, Communications Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191,


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