Friday, November 18, 2011

"How to Succeed . . " 50 years later

On one of our first dates, Edgar and I attended the Philadelphia showing of "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." Since the show opened in New York in October 1961, we figure that we saw it in September 1961, a little more than 50 years ago. Robert Morse, Rudy Vallee, and Charles Nelson Reilly stole the show and our hearts. After the final curtain, we just sat there and clapped, and cheered, and I remember saying, "if we stay and clap and cheer some more, would they perform the show for us again."

Last night, believe it or not, we saw "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," at the cheerful, bright, new Lower Merion High School. Our beautiful 16 year old granddaughter, Kayla, was stage manager and, according to the teacher sponsor of Players, "she's the one who made the whole thing work." I seemed to have flashed back to 50 years ago and wanted to just sit there and see the whole show over again and Edgar and I enjoyed every part of last night's experience. The singing, the dancing, the acting, the stage sets, the lighting - you name it - were all professional. It's hard to imagine that teenagers, so often maligned, were so dedicated, and "together."

We know that the finished product required hours and hours and hours and hours of work, practice, study, and dedication in addition to attending regular high school classes. But it seemed effortless, a true mark of professionalism. And the audience showed its appreciation with a standing ovation after the last curtain.

One humorous note, the young people in attendance did not appreciate one of the jokes. The Secretary arrived at the desk of one of the bosses; said that he was to be assigned a Secretary, and that she was his "assignation." We laughed. A few of the older people did too. As far as we could tell, the students did not. Maybe they learned the meaning of that word today.

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