There's no problem liking J. Pierrepont Finch, the lead character in the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play from 1962, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
"It's about a window washer who pretty much takes over control of a business," said 2016 Berlin High School graduate Nick Edwards, who plays Finch in the Schenectady Light Opera Company production beginning Friday night and running through May 14. "I think most people can relate to that kind of thing. People dream of doing things like that."
The Broadway smash was based on Shepherd Mead's 1952 book of the same name. It was Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser ("Guys and Dolls") who turned it into a musical, collaborating with Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, and it was Robert Morse who played Finch in both the stage production and the 1967 Hollywood movie.
"I think it is a very underrated show," said Edwards, who is working two jobs and going to school at Hudson Valley Community College. "I like all the little puns and innuendo in the show, and the music is fantastic. It really is one of the classics.The collection of characters coming in and going out really take the audience for a ride."
The show is an important one for Edwards. He was in SLOC's production of "Urinetown" earlier this year, and has also performed at Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs and the Not-So-Common Players in Clifton Park. In those plays, however, he wasn't the lead character.
"In the past I've played sidekicks, so yes, this is definitely the hardest and most fun role I've had," said Edwards, who did play the title character in SLOC's junior production of "Shrek" back in 2014. "It's an incredible honor to play Finch, and I'm putting all of myself into this role."
Joining him on stage will be Christine Meglino as Rosemary, Kaeli Heffner as Hedy, Joshua DeMarco as Bud and Matthew Coviello as J.B. Michael Camelo is directing the show, while musical director Adrienne Sherman will be working with an eight-piece orchestra.
Also opening this weekend will be a production of John Patrick's "The Curious Savage," starring Pat Brady as Mrs. Savage.
The play was first produced in New York City in 1950 and starred legendary actress Lillian Gish as Mrs. Savage, who is left $10 million by her dead husband.
The SCP producion is being directed by Jennifer Van Iderstyne, while also in the cast starring as Mrs. Savage's stepchildren are Joe Fava as Samuel, David Rook as Titus and Jean Carney as Lily.
In Albany, Rachel Sheffer is directing an Albany Civic Theater production of "A Shot in the Dark," based on the comic mystery by Frenchman Marcel Achard. An English version of the play reached Broadway in 1962 and earned Walther Matthau a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
Matthau played wealthy banker Benjamin Beaurevers on Broadway, and that role in Albany will be played by Gary Hoffman. Also in the cast are Wayne Bowmanchester as Paul Sevigne and Sara Baldwin as Josefa Lantenay.
'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying'
WHERE: Schenectady Light Opera Company, 427 Franklin St., Schenectady
WHEN: Opens 8 p.m. Friday and runs through May 14; performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and $2 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $28-$18
MORE INFO: (877) 350-7378, www.sloctheater.org
'The Curious Savage'
WHERE: Schenectady Civic Playhouse, 12 South Church St., Schenectady
WHEN: Opens 8 p.m. Friday and runs through May 14; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $20
MORE INFO: 382-2081, www.civicplayers.org
'A Shot in the Dark'
WHERE: Albany Civic Theater, 235 Second Avenue, Albany
WHEN: Opens 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs through May 21; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $18-$10
MORE INFO: 462-1297, www.albanycivictheater.org