Marist Theatre Presents, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”

Amanda Roberts ‘22

February 25, 2022 — Marist College students are engaged in the arts in a variety of forums. From contributing to Mosaic, a student-run literary and art magazine, to acting in Marist Theatre’s performances, students of all majors and class years are invited to participate in the artistic community at Marist. Students Jonathan Arkay ‘23, Devin Bartram ‘22, and Harper Anne Finch ‘22, have each embraced their creativity and bring enthusiasm and dedication to Marist Theatre’s spring musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Performances are at 8pm on February 25, February 26, March 4, March 5. Additional performances are at 2pm on February 26, February 27, March 5, and March 6.

Jonathan Arkay ‘23 is an English and adolescent education/special education major with a theatre minor. He is also a recipient of the Marist Theatre Program scholarship. Arkay is playing the lead role of J. Pierrepont Finch in “How to Succeed” and described the musical as “a hilarious satire about the American workplace. It is about a young man named J. Pierrepont Finch, who begins working at the World Wide Wicket Company as a window washer, and his rise to the top of the company.”

Marist Theatre’s mainstage performances are a collaborative effort between the student-run theatre organization and the English Department's Theatre Program. Students are immersed in all aspects of the production by working alongside a professional director and professional scenic, costume, sound, and lighting designers, “We are very lucky to be working with such dedicated and caring professionals who really want us to not only learn but have fun while doing it,” Arkay explained.

Devin Bartram ‘22 is a communications major with concentrations in public relations and journalism. She is also a theatre minor and recipient of the Marist Theatre Program scholarship. Bartram plays Rosemary Pilkington, a secretary at the World Wide Wicket Company and Finch's love interest. She found the experience of working on “How to Succeed” to be very fulfilling, “Being able to watch and be a part of this funny yet complex story all coming together has been an incredible learning experience,” Bartram said.

Bartram emphasized the importance of this performance to Marist Theatre members, “For everyone involved, this experience has been specifically special after COVID put a hold on theatre and the club. Being the first musical and Spring Mainstage since spring of 2020, putting this show together has been the perfect experience to get back into the swing of things.”

Harper Anne Finch ’22 is completing the dual degree Integrated Marketing Communications program with a theatre minor. She is also a recipient of the Marist Theatre Program scholarship and is currently serving as the President of Marist Theatre. In “How to Succeed” Finch is involved both onstage and backstage, serving as a Publicity Representative for “How to Succeed” and performing the role of Miss Jones, a cranky secretary at the World Wide Wicket Company. She described her experience working as Marist Theatre President and contributing to “How to Succeed” saying, “I have learned how to manage and work with people in a way that many people only experience in the ‘real world.’” Students in the Marist Theatre Program receive first-hand experience in the technical and creative field of performing arts which prepares them with transferrable skills for future employment.

At Marist, students are not only able to contribute their acting skills to the Marist Theatre Program. They are also able to take on managerial positions such as Production Manager and Stage Manager or serve backstage on the sound, lighting, and stage crews. These opportunities allow students to gain insight into theatre conventions and practices.

New to Marist Theatre, “How to Succeed” director and choreographer Andrew Garret Karl earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Performance from Ithaca College in 2012 and has been directing productions ever since. Karl described the creative collaboration between professionals and students saying “The student actors, crew, board members, and production managers have all been the most welcoming and collaborative spirits. I'm astounded by the creativity and the passion of the students. So many of their ideas and collaborative efforts are the shining moments of the show, without a doubt. Every student working on this production has brought their whole selves to the show and it's a wonder to behold.” 

The English Department’s Theatre Program features a variety of classroom opportunities for students as well. Marist students can choose to have an English major with a concentration in Theatre or pair a Theatre minor with another major. This allows students within the School of Liberal Arts and beyond to engage creatively with their peers and be a part of a welcoming artistic community.

Chair of the English Department and Associate Professor of English, Dr. Eileen Curley has had a long professional history of working in scenic and properties design. As a theatre historian, she teaches courses such as Global Drama, Playwriting Workshop, and Stagecraft. These courses allow students to engage with the practices of theatre and critically consider theatre’s role in society.

"Theatre allows us to imagine other lives and times, hopefully leading the team and the audience to empathize and better understand humanity. The production aims to critique workplace sexism from the 1960s, but it also serves to introduce students to behaviors that were commonplace not that long ago," said Curley. Marist Theatre’s production of “How to Succeed” has offered students an incredible learning opportunity for personal and professional growth.

“This show is hilarious, the music is amazing, everyone is so talented. It is just so refreshing to finally be able to do what I love with people that I love,” Arkay said. To experience the refreshing talent of Marist Theatre, come see “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Performances are at 8pm on February 25, February 26, March 4, and March 5 and at 2pm on February 26, February 27, March 5, and March 6. 

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