Cen10’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


Uswa Saeed

The actors bowing together at the end of the musical

CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL- Whenever you hear of the school putting on a play or musical, the school’s theater students are likely the first people to come to mind. However, this past weekend, our entire fine arts department collaborated to perform the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. This 1961 musical by Frank Loesser was originally inspired by Shepherd Mead’s 1952 book of the same name. The story revolves around J. Pierpont Finch’s journey up the ladder in the business world and is laced with a little romance and plenty of comedy. 

Centennial’s take on this musical was nothing short of amazing. The acting, singing, dancing, set, and props were stunning and the result of everyone’s hard work. Preparation started as early as four months before the weekend of the musical, and everyone, from the actors to the instrumentalists to the behind-the-scenes crew, put their best efforts forward for this production. Here are some of my thoughts on the musical:

Set/Props: The World Wide Wicket building was painted on a large, two-story backdrop covered in interactive details such as doors and balconies. It was colorful and set the scene perfectly for the musical. Props such as desks, chairs, and couches were wheeled in and out quite efficiently as the scenes changed. The costumes also looked gorgeous and fit well with the time period of the musical. 

Acting: All the actors embodied their characters so well it almost felt real. Everyone, especially the main cast, had such bright energy and expressive faces throughout, which really helped pull off a lot of the humor that made the play so interesting. There didn’t feel like a moment where the energy in the room was dull. One moment that really got the audience was seeing the main character, Finch, smile at the audience, breaking the fourth wall as a spotlight shone on him. 

Singing/Music: Sometimes, musicals can feel as though they’re trying to stuff as many songs as physically possible within the span of a few hours, but this wasn’t the case with “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. Although a few songs felt a bit long, nothing felt too forced. It may have also been helped by the amazing vocals of the cast, whose voices remained strong and stable throughout the musical. Additionally, the band and orchestra students who performed in the pit did a great job setting the tone of all the scenes. 

Dancing: Having plenty of dance numbers with many people involved, it was awesome to see the actors managing to stay synchronized the entire time. The dances were very fun to watch, with the stage being filled with energy that radiated into the audience. It was especially exciting to see Centennial’s dance teacher, Ms. Gonzalez, and band director, Ms. Kay, participate in a couple songs as well. 

“Theatre is more than performing, it’s about creating connections and a community,” Alejandro Isabella Jimenez, who played Miss Krumholtz, emphasized. Theatre certainly created those connections with the other fine arts students to produce a wonderful production that will go down in Centennial’s history.