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Ben Nordstrom Brings Funny Business To St. Louis Stage

Peter Wochniak

St. Louis native Shepherd Mead used his own experiences to write his satirical best-seller “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” His work was then turned into a musical, and Stages St. Louis is bringing it back to St. Louis.

Cast members Heather Ayers, Betsy Dilellio and Ben Nordstrom talked about the musical comedy, in which window washer J. Pierrepont Finch (played by Nordstrom) moves up to vice president of advertising at the World Wide Wicket Co.

“It’s hard to pull it out of the ‘60s,” Nordstrom said while describing the production’s look and music. “And how they treat women,” added Ayers, who plays determined-to-get-ahead Hedy LaRue, and Dilellio, who plays love interest Rosemary Pilkington.

“We’re playing stereotypes,” Nordstrom said.

“We’re watching the show through Finch’s vision,” Dilellio said. “He gets away with things that definitely now no one would get away with. He’s so conniving.”

Credit Stages St. Louis
Ben Nordstrom describes "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" look as a "heightened, more colorful, bolder version” of TV's “Mad Men.”

Sixties themes carry over to the sets and costumes as well.

“The set was completely built here, and the costumes were designed and built here,” Nordstrom said, referring to it as a “heightened, more colorful, bolder version” of “Mad Men.”

“The costumes are so colorful,” Ayers said.

“It’s so vibrant, it’s just beautiful,” Dilellio said.

The play opens July 18 and runs through Aug. 17 at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood.

Related Event

Stages St. Louis presents “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
July 18-Aug. 17, 2014; various times
Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Civic Center, 111 S. Geyer Road
For more information, call 314-821-2407 or visit the Stages St. Louis website.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.