Southwark Playhouse's gender-swapped revival of Frank Loesser's Tony- and Pulitzer-winning musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying begins at the London venue May 12. Opening night is May 16, with the run set to continue through June 17. Georgie Rankcom is at the helm.
Gabrielle Friedman (Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends) stars as J. Pierrpont Finch opposite Olivier winner and Tony nominee Tracie Bennett (Hangmen, Follies, End of the Rainbow) as J.B. Biggley, both traditionally male roles. They're joined by Annie Aitken as Hedy LaRue; Taylor Bradshaw as Mr. Bert Bratt; Allie Daniel as Rosemary Pilkington; Elliot Gooch as Bud Frump; Grace Kanyamibwa as Miss Jones; Danny Lane as Mr. Twimble/Mr. Wally Womper; Milo McCarthy as Mr. Milton Gatch; and Verity Power as Smitty.
RuPaul's Drag Race judge and West End alum Michelle Visage is voicing the narrator.
"Our approach to this wonderful show is to trust the brilliant original and let the satire shine," Rankcom previously said about the production and the casting of West End and Broadway alum Bennett. "To find the best possible company to tell this story, we expanded our ideas of who can play and embody these roles. When you’re looking for someone with the charisma and power to be the high-powered boss with a flare for the occasional musical number, Tracie Bennett quickly becomes the top choice. I’m honored and excited to be working with her on bringing this new version of How to Succeed to the stage.”
Based on Shepherd Mead's satirical novel, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying follows young and ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch as he quickly climbs the corporate ladder from window washer to chairman of the board at the World Wide Wicket Company. With a score by Loesser and a book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert, the musical premiered on Broadway in 1961, winning the 1962 Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A film adaptation was released in 1967, and the show was revived on Broadway in 1995 and 2011. The Southwark Playhouse production will be the musical's first major London run since the 1963 original West End production.
Joining Rankcom on the creative team are choreographer Alexzandra Sarmiento, musical director Natalie Pound, set and costume designer Sophia Pardon, lighting designer Lucía Sánchez Roldán, sound designer Joshua Robins, and orchestrator Stuart Morley. Waverley Moran will stage manage, with Misha Mah as production manager. Casting is by Peter Noden, and Jodee Conrad serves as general manager and producer. The production is being presented by Big Con Productions and The Grey Area.
This production of How to Succeed... is being presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International.