Box Office – Rising Star Project: How to Succeed in Business

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Rising Star Project: How to Succeed in Business

Mar 3 – Mar 5, 2016

Book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser

Rising Star Project focuses on career exploration and the development of professional skills. Participants are embedded within a working department at The 5th Avenue Theatre. Professional mentors work with students to learn skills and execute tasks that are crucial to the day-to-day operations of a regional theater company. Students have the opportunity to apply for vocational teams in Producing, Marketing, Development,  Hair & Makeup, Costume & Wardrobe, Stage Crew, Cast, Orchestra, Creative team, or Stage Management.

From the corporate offices and the typing pools of the 1960’s  – think Mad Men – to the modern cubicle wars of today, this hysterical satire of Big Business is comedy at its finest. Join the “Brotherhood of Man” attending How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and do it the “Company Way!” This Pulitzer Prize-winning musical by Frank Loesser is office intrigue at its funniest, complete with some slinky choreography!

The title says it all. J. Pierrepont Finch is a man on a mission – to achieve stunning success at th e World Wide Wicket Company while doing as little as possible to deserve it. This musical satire of corporate ladder-climbing and office hanky-panky opened on Broadway in 1961, ran for a remarkable 1,417 performances and earned seven Tony Awards®, the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Audiences will love this swingin’ tune-filled musical set in the era of TV’s Mad Men, boasting an exhilarating score including “I Believe in You,” “Brotherhood of Man,” and “The Company Way.”

Power, ambition, greed... it’s just another day at the office in this classic satire of big business.


The Rising Star Project uses the resources and professional knowledge that exist at The 5th Avenue Theatre to help every young person achieve a fulfilling career, a stronger sense of self, and confidence in their ability to inspire positive change in the world.

Within this mission, we endeavor to:

  1. take a proactive role in creating  a theater community which is inclusive and representative of our region;
  2. provide students with direct mentorship from working theater professionals, introducing them to the diversity of viable careers in the theater industry;
  3. create a collaborative and authentic learning environment in regard to professional practices and expectations;
  4. connect students to American musicals not only as vehicles for self-expression, but also as significant artistic achievements, rich texts, and unique expressions of our nation’s history and heritage; and
  5. support classroom learning by providing quality arts-based education experiences for students—both at The 5th and in-residence throughout the community and in areas where opportunities for arts education are limited.

Rising Star Project: How to Succeed in Business

Performance Date

Plan Your Visit

Whether this is your first visit to The 5th Avenue Theatre or your 50th, we want to ensure that you enjoy every moment. If you have any questions about the theater accommodations or services, please call 206-625-1900 or e-mail

Arrival Time

Productions begin promptly, so please arrive at least 15 minutes early. Doors open 45 minutes before the show and seating begins 30 minutes before the curtain.

Late Seating

Patrons arriving late will be seated at the first suitable pause in the performance in the least disruptive location. Following intermission, an usher will help you find your seat.


All performances will take place as scheduled, regardless of weather conditions.


The 5th Avenue Theatre welcomes children ages 4 and older. Children under 4 years of age, including babes in arms, will not be admitted. 

Some shows deal with mature themes and may not be appropriate for all children. For information on whether a particular show is suitable for your child, please see the Content Advisiories compiled for each show. Complimentary booster seats are available at the Coat Check.

Emergency Contact

Please leave the following information with your sitter or service, so we can quickly locate you in the event of an emergency:

Theatre Coat Check phone:  206-625-1294
Your seat location: aisle, section, row, and seat number

Coat Check, Assistive Devices, and Special Needs

Complimentary Coat Check is located in the lobby next to Aisle 3. You may check any item you don’t wish to carry into the theater. Booster seats, assistive listening headsets, and Braille playbills are available at no charge. Binoculars may be rented for $5.00.

Food & Drinks

Refreshments are available for purchase on both levels of the lobby before the performance and during intermission. Candy and beverages purchased at the lobby concession stand may be brought into the theatre. Beverages must be in a bottle with cap or a theater cup with lid. 

Ticket Refunds & Exchanges

You may exchange your tickets if you do so 24 hours or more prior to your scheduled performance date. Subscribers may exchange tickets with no exchange fee. Single-ticket buyers are charged an exchange fee. Please note: Tickets are non-refundable.

You may also donate your tickets back to the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre. The 5th cannot guarantee that ticket donations are tax deductable and does not produce tax receipts for these donations. Please call 206.625.1900 prior to your performance  to arrange a ticket donation.

Lost Tickets

If you lose or forget your tickets, please call 206-625-1900 or 888-5TH-4TIX for a replacement. You may pick up your tickets at the Box Office on the day of the show.

Third-Party Tickets

We strongly discourage patrons from purchasing tickets through outside vendors. Tickets bought from scalpers, brokers or by other third-party means may be counterfeit or inadmissible, and they are often grossly overpriced. These purchases do not benefit the performers, producers or The 5th Avenue Theatre. Purchasing directly from the 5th Avenue Theatre is your best bet for best seats and best available prices.

Cameras & Recorders

The use of cameras and video or audio recording equipment is strictly prohibited. You may leave these items at the Coat Check.

Smoking Policy

Smoking is not allowed in any part of the theater nor within 25 feet of the theater entrance.

Firearms Policy

No firearms of any kind are allowed in any part of the theater.

Ask an Usher

If you experience any discomfort during a performance, an usher or the House Manager will be glad to assist you.

Some shows deal with mature themes and may not be appropriate for all children. For information about whether a particular show is suitable for your child, we strongly encourage you to read the Content Advisories for each production. Children under 4, including babes in arms, will not be admitted.

How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

Rating: PG-13

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which first opened on Broadway in the fall of 1961, could be called the original Mad Men; like the television series, the musical satirizes the foibles, faults, follies, and failings of the mid-20th Century business world. The show concerns the rise of J. Pierpont Finch, who is young, ambitious, and following all the hints offered in a self-help book with the same title as the show.

Adult Language:

This is mild, for the most part, with lots of “damns,” occasional “goddams.”

Sexual References:

Mr. Gatch makes a pass at Rosemary, who rejects him (“Please, Mr. Gatch!”).  He comments, “I’ve got to stop reading Playboy!”

Boss J. B. Biggley fights with his wife over the phone (wives are regarded as nags) and then is heard talking to another woman, obviously his girlfriend. Later this girlfriend, Hedy LaRue, will appear in the office to apply for a job as a secretary. She is described in the script as “a dish. A real dish,” and all of the men are staring at her. When she is told that the company will need her “particulars,” she responds with her measurements.  One of the mesmerized businessmen exclaims, “I win the pool!”

Office staff, male and female, join together to declare in song that “A Secretary is Not a Toy, / No, my boy, / Not a toy, / To fondle and dandle / And playfully handle / In search of some puerile joy.” Nevertheless, in a subsequent scene, the men are seen waiting for the elevators as they discuss their business goals and ambitions; they are followed by the women, who discuss how to handle the men’s unwanted advances.

The “executive secretaries” are invited to a reception “to act as hostesses.”  One secretary, Smitty, who wants to be popular, says she is “thinking of starting a secret rumor that I’m a nymphomaniac.”


Smoking is unapologetically indulged in, as is alcohol.

The leading character, J. Pierpont Finch, is seen smoking a cigar; another member of the staff declares he is going out for a smoke. Characters are seen drinking at an office reception, some of them to excess.

Important Issues:

The characters  take the period’s rigid gender roles for granted: secretaries/typists are female (and called “girls”), business executives are male. The company line is that “A Secretary is Not a Toy,” but the female employees are nonetheless seen discussing their efforts to repel unwanted overtures from their bosses. Rosemary’s song, “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm,” which is echoed by the other secretaries in the company, satirizes what is supposedly the secret wish of every working woman in the late 50s/early 60s: “Oh, to be loved / By a man I respect / To bask in the glow / Of his perfectly understandable neglect. / Wearing the wifely uniform / While he goes onward and upward.”

Intrigue, flattery, deceit, and sabotage are all weapons used in the ruthless struggle to climb the corporate ladder. For instance, Finch is alarmed when he is assigned Hedy LaRue as a secretary: his book warns him that “The smaller her skills, the bigger her protector,” and Hedy’s complete lack of skills indicates she is the boss’s girlfriend. He sends her to Mr. Gatch’s office, where she is grabbed by him (the lights go down).  When the lights come up, Finch is sitting at the desk of the unfortunate Mr. Gatch, who has been transferred to Venezuela.