How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Director notes for auditions
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a hilarious musical about a man who climbs the corporate ladder from window cleaner to company chairman on his wits, charm, single mindedness, and without doing any real work. The comedy relies on all of the characters being quite quirky and larger than life. For all lead and supporting roles we are looking for actors with strong characterisation skills and innate comic timing. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries during your audition. If you are auditioning for a speaking role then stand out! All reading from script must be with a standard American or New York accent.
This is also a great show for the ensemble. There are lots of big dance numbers driven by comical narratives. We are looking for a mix of strong singers and dancers to play executives and secretaries, all with the style and swagger of the cast of Mad Men.
- J. PIERREPONT (Ponty) FINCH – male tenor 20 – 30 lead. Finch facilitates his own meteoric rise from window washer to chairman of the World Wide Wicket Company by following the rules he reads in an informative little book. With quite an opportunistic, self-centred personality, the role requires an actor with natural charisma and charm to keep the audience on his side.
- ROSEMARY – female mezzo 20 – 30 lead. A secretary who is far more interested in finding a man to marry than advancing her career. After meeting Ponty, she immediately sets her sights on becoming Mrs. Finch. For the character of Rosemary to really work she needs to be played more Lucile Ball than Doris Day.
- J.B. BIGGLEY – male baritone 50 – 70 supporting lead. President of the World Wide Wicket Company. Underneath his ruthless exterior he is a college lad at heart with a secret passion for knitting. Hedy La Rue’s love interest, although he is already married.
- BUD FRUMP – male baritone 20 – 30 supporting lead. The boss’s nephew and Finch’s nemesis. An arrogant, obnoxious young man who makes numerous attempts to advance his career through devious schemes and by using his family connections. A very funny part, the role requires an actor who’s not afraid to exploit his inner dork.
- HEDY LA RUE – female mezzo 21 – 35 supporting lead. Voluptuous, sexually charged woman adored by all men who lay eyes on her. Ex-night-club cigarette girl who gets a job at the company because of Biggley’s personal interest in her. She may appear to be dim-witted, but she knows how to use her sexuality to get what she wants.
- BRATT – male baritone 30 – 50 cameo. The Personnel Manager, adept in the main skill required for holding his job – agreeing with the boss.
- OVINGTON – male spoken 30 – 65 cameo. Head of the advertising department until he is fired by Biggley for being a “Chipmunk.”
- MISS SMITH (SMITTY) – female mezzo 25 – 45 supporting. A cynical, single working woman with a dry sense of humor. She’s a good secretary who’s also after a man, but perhaps for more short term rewards than her best friend Rosemary.
- MISS JONES – female soprano 35 – 70 supporting. J.B. Biggley’s secretary who enjoys the respect her position and mature years command. She can be abrupt and tough, but is kind-hearted and good to those who are good to her.
- MR TWIMBLE – male baritone 50 – 70 supporting. A fussy, old-fashioned, loyal company man with 25 years’ service spent climbing from mail-room worker to head of the mail-room. Believes his longevity with the company is due to his lack of ambition and his knack at staying unnoticed.
- GATCH – A sleazy, almost-successful executive. Finch furthers his career by taking advantage of Gatch’s penchant for the ladies.
- MISS KRUMHOLTZ – female mezzo 25 – 65 cameo. A secretary of Mr. Gatch, then J. Pierrepont Finch.
- MR WOMPER – male baritone 55 – 70 cameo. Company Chairman with a similar past to Finch.
- THE BOOK VOICE – Our hero’s unseen mentor who narrates passages from the book. Well-spoken, this part may be recorded.