YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown High School’s production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” had a three-night run the weekend of March 3; however, Yorktown News caught up with the cast backstage and was given a glimpse of what most audience members didn’t see.
Twenty minutes prior to the dress rehearsal, there weren’t many performers to be found. Instead, stage crew filled the seats of the characters, juxtaposed to the retro scenery in their modern day outfits. While the performers were getting finishing touches put on their costumes, the stage crew was ensuring the set, props, lighting and sound would run smoothly.
Thomas Gmoser is a senior at YHS this year; however, the track athlete and student senate member has volunteered behind the scenes as a stagehand since he was a freshman. He said it’s a hobby that he’s returned to every year for the free pizza and fun times. The night before the show, he was sitting at one of the secretary’s desks fashioning some sort of pocket out of tape (a lot of tape), and doing his best to avoid hitting the bright red, prop phone on the desk with his elbow.
In addition to it’s large and colorful set, choreographer Bernard Monroe boasted a “sassy and foot stomping” musical in a press release prior to the event. He added that the play was chosen for it’s lively score and the variety of roles it offered to young performers.
Kyan Hejazi, a junior at YHS, portrayed J. Pierrepont Finch, a window washer who employs the handbook, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” in order to climb the corporate ladder and become the chairman of the World Wide Wicket Company.
While getting his stage makeup put on prior to the dress rehearsal, Hejazi agreed that the show demanded a high-energy performance. He was confident the cast would deliver and said, “every character, from the ensemble to the leads, brings something good” to the table.
The paint on the set was still drying, but perhaps modeling the “fake it ‘til you make it” attitude of the story’s protagonist, most students were bantering in the greenroom or generally goofing around. They did not let on if they were nervous.
At one point, school social worker and longtime backstage assistant, Karen Profita, had to briefly stop buzzing around the hallway to request that one boy stop pouring soda into another student’s mouth at the risk of ruining his costume.
Gemma Small, a senior at YHS, played supporting character Smitty. Small describes Smitty as a no-holds barred, up-for-anything secretary at the company Finch works at. Additionally, she is the best friend of Rosemary Pilkington, the female lead played by one of Small’s real-life best friends, junior Amanda Montgomery. Small said she expected the cast’s authentic chemistry to lend to an enjoyable performance for audience members.
“Everyone is genuinely happy and having a good time,” she said.