‘How To Succeed In Business’ Will Entertain, Honor Ron Bright

J. Pierrepont Finch (center, played by Matthew Mazzella) tries to succeed with (from left) Hedy (Victoria Rawleigh), Bud (Jeremy Hurr), Smitty (Griffin Lockette) and Rosemary (Rachel Wong) in CPAC's 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,' opening Friday in Ron Bright Theatre. Photo from Karen Meyer.

Close on the heels of its Oklahoma! production in February, Castle Performing Arts Center is set to bring to the stage another hit comedy with a much-longer name for its spring musical, complete with a live orchestra accompaniment.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opens this Friday and continues through April 7 in Ron Bright Theatre at Castle High School. Guiding a cast of 40 students from five different schools, CPAC’s current director Karen Meyer said the show honors “50 Bright Years,” and a special recognition ceremony is planned for its founder at the closing performance.

“All CPAC alumni are invited to the final show (3 p.m. April 7), and there will be a special presentation to Ron and Mo afterward,” said Meyer, who took over 11 years ago when Bright retired.

Proceeds from the April 7 matinee performance (and other welcome donations) will go to the Ron Bright Education Scholarship, which is administered through Hawaii Community Foundation. It was established in 1993 by state Sens. Mike McCartney and Charles Toguchi, both Castle alumni.

A veteran teacher, Bright founded CPAC in 1963, and dedicated his life and directing skills to the high school’s drama program over most of its existence. Still active in Paliku Theatre productions, the Maunawili man and his wife Moira were fixtures at Castle High’s campus theater as it evolved from cafeteria stage productions at Ben Parker Elementary School into an award-winning learning center and modern auditorium for the entire Windward side.

The couple is revered by thousands of students over five decades who’ve been lucky enough to have the “Bright experience,” and many aspiring performers have gone on to achieve successful careers in professional theater.

How to Succeed, meanwhile, won seven Tony awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama during its long run on Broadway. It is full of “hummable” songs, jokes and great dancing as the audience follows wily window washer J. Pierrepont Finch on his riotous rise up the corporate ladder with the aid of his trusty self-help book and some clever manipulations.

Hit standards from the show include I Believe in You, Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm, The Company Way, Been a Long Day, Rosemary and Brotherhood of Man. The music and lyrics are by Academy Award and Tony Award winner Frank Loesser.

The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays (except for Easter Sunday, March 31). Tickets cost $15 for adults, and $10 for students, seniors and military. For reservations, call 233-5626 or go online to showtix4u.com.

The cast includes Castle seniors Matthew Mazzella (J. Pierrepont Finch), Rachel Wong (Rosemary Pilkington) and Sayde Carvalho (Miss Krumholtz); juniors Emery Cardenas (J.B. Biggley), Victoria Rawleigh (Hedy LaRue), James Denzer (Mr. Twimble) and Matthew L’Ecuyer (Oving-ton); sophomores Griffin Lock-ette (Smitty) and Kawika Paiwa (Wally Womper); freshman Jeremy Hurr (Bud Frump), Kalaheo High senior Robyn Jones (Miss Jones), Moanalua High junior Chad Masuda (Gatch) and Castle 2012 graduate Gabe Wright (Bratt).

A host of other young talents portray various executives and secretaries of the corporation.