Off-Beat Players: Showing town ‘How to Succeed’

The Off-Beat Players (OBP) are inviting the community into “the brotherhood of man” from Aug. 7 to 10 with performances of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Off-Beat Players, Inc., a Greenwich-based theatre company devoted to teen and young adult performers with wide-ranging abilities and disabilities, will perform the classic Broadway smash hit at the Arch Street Teen Center on those dates.

Last year’s production of Urinetown received wide critical acclaim, with the troupe adding a special performance at the Broadway theater where the show had originally appeared.

Now more than 50-years-old, How to Succeed is as fresh as when it first premiered in 1961. With music by Frank Loesser, and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert. The show details the rise of a young employee of a large corporation from lowly window washer to chairman of the board — all with the help of a little book.

The original production ran for more than 1,400 performances and earned the Pulitzer Prize, along with seven Tony Awards and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Making Robert Morse a star, the show was made into a film, and since then has been revived on Broadway twice for long runs, most recently with Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, in the lead.

While Off-Beat Players mounts shows with a broad appeal, the focus is on the theatrical experience of its members. Urinetown was technically and musically very demanding.

“Even though we knew what a stretch it would be, we decided to go for it,” said Kim Malara, founder and director of OBP and the driving force behind the annual summer production held at the Arch Street Teen Center for the past 10 years.

How to Succeed will be the directorial debut of Tony Morello, who as one of the original members has achieved distinction on the other side of the foot lights.

His portrayal of Mother Superior in Nunsense a few years ago was memorable, while he played a starring role in Urinetown last summer.

The fully staged productions, with a live orchestra, are adapted to the specialized cast with no sacrifice in entertainment value. Off-Beat Players uses a wide variety of techniques, ranging from an imaginative use of the space to black light choreography and puppetry, to enthrall the audience.

All performances begin at 7:30. Tickets are $17, and are available online at Offbeatplayers.org.

The remaining tickets will be sold at the door the evening of the performance.

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