Gallery Players' upcoming production of "How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying)" speaks to the #MeToo movement.
"There's a song called 'A Secretary is Not a Toy' in which the women try to explain that they are not to be objectified," said director Ashley Phipps. "We are in the crux of the #MeToo movement so it's relevant to today's society."
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Feb. 23-24; 2 p.m. Feb. 25; 8 p.m. March 2-3; and 2 p.m. March 4 at the Paramount Theater, 128 E. Front St., Burlington.
Alyssa White plays Rosemary Pilkington, a secretary at the World Wide Wicket Company. Pilkington's ultimate goal is to marry a successful businessman and become a homemaker in New Rochelle, which she describes in her song, "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm." She sets her eyes on J. Pierrepont Finch (Bryan O'Kelley Cox), a young window washer who dreams of becoming an executive.
"Some may say the show is dated based on the way it perpetuates old-fashioned gender roles, but this story is especially relevant now as it covers topics like the treatment of women in the workplace," White said.
Jane McLelland plays Miss Jones, the president of the company's secretary.
"The show is set in the 1960s when all of the bosses were men and all of the secretaries were women, and everyone thought that was how it should be," McLelland said. "It's relevant to the #MeToo movement in that it shows you how far we have come since then."
McLelland was in the show at Williams High School years ago.
"It was then, and has remained, one of my favorite musicals. Karla Oakley Anderson, also in this Gallery cast, played Rosemary in the show. Karla and I were best friends back then, and have remained so. She moved back to town a year ago, and we have had such a wonderful time together," McLelland said. "This is the first time I've been directed by my BFF (best friend forever) Ashley Phipps, and she is amazing. I'm so glad to have finally gotten the opportunity — I knew she was a great director."
For Bryan O'Kelley Cox, the role of J. Pierrepont Finch has been a "top bucket list role ever since I saw Daniel Radcliffe perform it on Broadway nearly seven years ago. I memorized the soundtrack and idolized the choreography. I auditioned for the role once before in Wilmington, but not getting it that time was actually what led me to this community instead, and subsequently, opportunities that I wouldn't trade. And that was a good lesson for me. It's been totally surreal to rehearse a part I've sung in the car for so long. I'm so grateful."
While the show is relevant to the #MeToo movement, McLelland said "it's very much tongue-in-cheek. If you are looking for something serious with a lot to say, this isn't it. But it is so much fun. The music is bright and entertaining and the characters are so extreme. Anyone looking for fun will love this show."
Music director Christopher Kiser said "the music for this show is so fun. They will leave the theater singing these catchy songs."
Tickets are $17 for adults and $14 for students and senior citizens; tickets can be purchased between noon and 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and one hour prior to showtime. Credit card reservations can be made by calling 336-222-TIXS. For more details on the show, or The Gallery Players, visit www.galleryplayersonline.com.