Students, profs bring Broadway musical to life at the Majestic

Since the second week of classes, the student ensemble of Gettysburg College’s musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying has been practicing six days-per-week, three to four hours-per-day.

That’s dedication.

And in spite of the tireless performance schedule for the budding actors, not to mention the entire production team—musicians, set designers, makeup artists, and choreographers alike—the Gettysburgians are excited for opening night this week at the College’s Majestic Theater.

The musical is directed by Theatre Arts Prof. Chris Kauffman, who cultivated the talents of students from across campus—representing a variety of majors—to recreate this popular Broadway production right here in Adams County.

Prof. Chris Kauffman at the dress rehearsal“Working with Professor Kauffman is great because he has a clear vision and gives the actors direction, but he also encourages us to explore our own thoughts on characterization and staging, which contributes to a very collaborative environment,” said political science major Jason Spiegel ’17, who will star as protagonist J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

The musical tells the story of Finch—a young and ambitious man—who quickly rises from a window washer to chairman of the board of the World Wide Wicket Company after following the steps of the book “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Kauffman was drawn to this particular Broadway production—based on Shepherd Mead’s 1952 novel—because it “satirically characterizes the culture of the 1960s office in terms of gender roles and power dynamics.”

“Since [the musical] is a satirical comedy set in the 1960s, we have had many discussions throughout the rehearsal process about the 60s and traditional gender stereotypes of the time period, and how our characters fit or do not fit those traditional roles,” said history and music double major Abigail Winston ’19, who will play Rosemary—secretary at the World Wide Wicket Company.

Prof. Buzz Jones at the dress rehearsalThe musical—the first at Gettysburg College since 2013—is made possible through the work of many hands across campus, including Prof. Eric Blair Berninghausen (set design), Julie Buehrer (costume design), and Jonathan Stiles (Majestic Technical Director). The musical is also presented in collaboration with the Sunderman Conservatory of Music. In fact, Kauffman has partnered with Conservatory Prof. Susan Hochmiller for choral direction, as well as Prof. Buzz Jones, who will conduct a pit of 20 students and four professionals. Jones has conducted the pit for Gettysburg's last seven musicals since 2001.

The musical will be performed for one-week only. Purchase your tickets today for the following performance dates and times:

Thursday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 4, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 5, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 6, 2:00 p.m.

($5 Discount for Students)

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying - Fall 2016



Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Article by: Raven Waters ’19, marketing intern

Contact: Mike Baker, associate director of communications and coordinator of development communications, 717.337.6521

Posted: Mon, 31 Oct 2016

Next on your reading list

In his words: Ben Pontz ’20 and the “essence of experiential learning”

The antidote for ignorance: A liberal arts education?

Discovering her resilience: World traveler to future Marine

Share this story: