This 1961 musical, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, depicts the spectacular rise of window washer J. Pierrepont Finch (Josh Grisetti) as he schemes his way to the top at the World Wide Wicket Company, armed only with boundless ambition, a how-to guidebook, and no conscience whatsoever. Grisetti is long, lanky, and engaging, and his Finch exudes faux innocence as he cheerfully betrays, backbites and undermines both rivals and superiors. He receives top-notch support from John O'Hurley as company boss J.B. Biggley; Simon Helberg as Bud Frump, the boss' sniveling nephew; Nicole Parker as the girl who falls for Finch; Melissa Fahn as the air-head vamp Hedy Larue, and a host of others. Director-choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge gives the piece a broad, slick, stylish, fast-moving production, musical director Darryl Archibald serves up the songs with high energy and crisp precision, and Bradley Kaye provides the clever, colorful set. In the wake of Enron, Goldman Sachs, and corporate bailouts, the satire here seems benign and toothless, but the piece remains an amusing romp. UCLA, Ralph Freud Playhouse, Macgowan Hall, Wstwd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; through May 23. Produced by Reprise Theatre Company. (310) 825-2101.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Starts: May 11. Continues through May 23, 2010
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