After the some slight sun this morning, I was warm enough this frigid February to trek to downtown Menomonie to see 'How to Succeed in Business (without really trying)' at the Mabel Tainter Theater. Menomonie Theater Guild was able to thaw all of my bones from laughter, the warmly lit set, and kind and welcoming locals.
Aesthetically, this show is a beautifully convincing tribute to the 1960's corporate office, in which a rookie hire plots his way up the company ladder. Costumes gathered by MTG were spot on and the minimal set enhanced the performance, which also made for snappy set changes. Musically tight, the pit was led by a very capable conductor; it was also a pleasure to hear a few string players in the pit, often a rarity in some pit orchestras in small towns.
I was also very proud to watch students Jeffrey Peterson as the leading male, J. Pierrepont Finch, and David Martin in supporting roles. They are both reliable performers, constantly energetic, engaging, and are bright up-and-coming young men in the Chippewa Valley theatre scene.
It could be the nature of a matinée, but sadly some punchlines were dropped or not acknowledged by the audience. I have an inkling that a larger evening audience would evaporate that problem.
Altogether, an obviously well prepared cast, firm script, and the bitter cold are perfect reasons to head down to the Tainter and enjoy some mighty fine talent in Western Wisconsin.
Buy the cast recording by clicking the Amazon link below.