Northeast Times

Award-winning play comes to Walnut Street Theatre

Show­time: Jeremy Morse stars in How to Suc­ceed in Busi­ness Without Really Try­ing at the Wal­nut Street Theatre from May 13 to Ju­ly 13.

It opened on Broad­way in 1961, and shortly there­after won sev­en Tony Awards (in­clud­ing one for its star, Robert Morse), the New York Drama Crit­ics Circle Awards and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

And now, How to Suc­ceed in Busi­ness Without Really Try­ing comes to the Wal­nut Street Theatre May 13-Ju­ly 13.

In the lead role of J. Pierre­pont Finch, the lowly win­dow wash­er who uses a little hand­book called “How To Suc­ceed In Busi­ness” to climb the cor­por­ate lad­der, is Jeremy Morse (no re­la­tion).

On his way to high-powered ex­ec­ut­ive, Finch deals with such fa­mil­i­ar po­tent dangers as the of­fice party, back­stabbing co-work­ers, caf­feine ad­dic­tion and, of course, true love.

“And what a won­der­ful role it is,” said Morse, 27, who is mak­ing his Wal­nut Street de­but in this show. “Finch is a good man with a good heart. And the show is light, fast-paced and loads of fun.”

Ac­cord­ing to Morse, even after all these years, audi­ences keep com­ing back to en­joy the fun, the char­ac­ters and the mu­sic, which is won­der­ful, “Even though I read some­where that Frank Loess­er, who wrote the mu­sic, didn’t think this was his best work,” Morse said. “But how could any­one ar­gue with such songs as I Be­lieve in You, Broth­er­hood of Man and one of my fa­vor­ites, Rose­mary.

Morse grew up in Haver­town and in­sists he didn‘t catch the act­ing bug un­til he was a ju­ni­or in high school.

“But I al­ways loved mu­sic. I played the vi­ol­in, gui­tar and a little pi­ano, and al­ways loved to sing in my school’s choir.”

So by the time he gradu­ated from Haver­ford High School, he went off to New York Uni­versity to ma­jor in mu­sic.

After gradu­ation, he moved on to fur­ther his ca­reer, ap­pear­ing in such pro­duc­tions as Hello, Dolly at God­speed Op­era House, Oliv­er at Pa­per­mill Play­house, Spamalot at the Gate­way Play­house and oth­ers. His per­form­ance in Blood­song of Love at New York’s Ars Nova earned him a Drama Desk Nom­in­a­tion for Out­stand­ing Fea­tured Act­or In A Mu­sic­al.

“Play­ing the vil­lain in that role was amaz­ing, and the nom­in­a­tion really got my ca­reer go­ing,” Morse vo­lun­teered. “I en­joy play­ing vil­lains, but I very much en­joy play­ing Finch. So it all de­pends on the role.”

Ad­mit­ting he loves all as­pects of show busi­ness, he said he wouldn’t be in it if he didn’t be­cause, with few ex­cep­tions, it doesn’t pay as well as a law­yer or stock broker.

“But be­ing on stage gives me a great high. And with this show es­pe­cially, we have a great cast, so it’s won­der­ful to be with people you like, love and trust.”

When this show ends, Morse will be out there look­ing for his next role, and there are sev­er­al he’d love to play.

“I’d love to play the em­cee in Cab­aret. I might be a little too young yet, but I’ll wait. I’d also love to play To­bi­as in Sweeney Todd. But I’m sure I’ll en­joy any role that comes along be­cause I really love be­ing in the theat­er.” ••

For times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-574-3550. 

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