Reviving a classic comedy from the 1950s, C.A.S.T. in McLean is currently preparing its version of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" to bring to the Alden Theater at the McLean Community Center, opening July 8 and continuing weekends through July 23.
The story of an ambitious but unworldly young man named Jay Pierpont Finch, played here by Josh Doyle, who sets out to follow a set of rules he's convinced will allow him to become successful beyond his wildest dreams was originally written as a book by Shepherd Mead and later turned into a musical by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert.
In the role of J. B. Bigley, president of the Worldwide Wickets Corporation, Ed Broyles plays the married playboy boss who finds relaxation in knitting and disaster when his nephew tries to reveal his secret mistress to his sister-in-law.
"Bigley is very pompous but everyone's afraid to laugh at him," Broyles said. "He thinks he's a very important man. No one knows that he knits to calm himself down after a hard day, other than his secretary."
When his nephew receives a job at the company as a result of his mother's maneuvering, Bigley fears his cheating days are over and does everything in his power to keep his nephew happy and quiet, Broyles said.
Kara Martin plays the role of Hedy LaRue, Bigley's secretary, who "knows her assets and how to use them."
"Hedy used to be a cigarette girl and got her job at the company because of her friend," Martin said. "She's a lot smarter than people first think, but she's the reason the men sing 'A Secretary is Not a Toy'."
The storyline is filled with dated sexist humor, Martin said, but if the audience goes in to see the play with that in mind, it should make for a fun evening.
"Hedy is a strong person and a strong character," she said. "This is a really fun role to play."
Joshua Redford plays Bud Frump, Bigley's nephew.
"He's a whiny, weasely guy who only works at the company because his uncle is the boss," Redford said. "As soon as Finch comes along, Frump tries to get rid of him and take him down."
Frump has his sights set on taking over the company someday but knows the Finch is the better man, or at least holds more favor with Bigley, he said.
"This is a very comic character, he's very fun to play," he said. "The music is great and there are great dance numbers in this production."
Sharon Grant plays Rosemary, a secretary at the company who is determined to succeed in her own pursuit: securing Finch as her husband.
"Rosemary is head over heels in love with him," Grant said. "She's supposedly a little wise in the ways of the world and part of what draws her to Finch is that he's a little clever too. She's content with being a secretary and being happy with her man, she doesn't want or need too much of anything else."
Grant agrees that the "music is great" in the production, and this is the first time she's performed it. "I like following good friends to do good shows," she said, having performed with C.A.S.T. several times in the past.
The show will open on Friday, July 8 at 8 p.m. and will continue on Fridays and Saturdays, July 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees will begin at 2 p.m. on July 10 and 17. Tickets are $16, $15 for residents of McLean and $11.50 for students and seniors and are available at the Alden Theater Box Office in the McLean Community Center.