Yesterday, May 20, was the final performance of Broadway’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Starring Nick Jonas since January, the play was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Revival just last year, when Daniel Radcliffe was starring in the lead role. I was lucky enough to score rush tickets to the final performance, which was simply fun and ended with a poignant goodbye.
Somehow, thanks to two friends, I got superb rush tickets in the box. Not a bad view if you ask me. This was my sixth time seeing the show overall; I saw it once with Daniel Radcliffe and Darren Criss each. Every other time was with Nick. I took my brother and sister, both of whom had never seen the play and knew the bare minimum about its content and songs.
From the second I arrived, I knew it felt weird. That sense that something you love so much is ending; it’s not exactly a fun feeling. A million Jonas fans were pretty much united outside of the theater in one big cluster. Many were already lined up at the barricades at the stage door, waiting what would be hours to meet Nick. As we took our seats, a wave of sadness washed over me. This would be the last time I would ever see this show on Broadway. Well, at least with this cast. It is only so often that you have the perfect storm of cast, lighting, choreography, and lyrics. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was this perfect storm.
From the very first musical cues to that first special moment when Nick pulls his way up onto the stage via a pulley system, it really hit me that I wouldn’t ever be seeing this again. With this realization, it helped it all go down quite a bit smoother though. Everyone was loose and having an over-the-top fantastic time in their respective roles. This is the last show, why not go out with a bang? Once we get to “Coffee Break”, Michael Urie commands the stage entirely. He is so brilliant! His portrayal of Bud Frump was my absolute favorite. Beau Bridges had an unparalleled energy this final performance, and he really gave it his all. Rose Hemingway is perfection as Rosemary. Tammy Blanchard owns the stage as Hedy, and Rob Bartlett has this kind of odd charisma that makes him entirely likable. When literally every cast member made their first appearances on stage, they were rewarded with long applause and hollering. They have all earned it!
“Been a Long Day” is fun, fun, fun and continues to be one of the few tunes from the show that you really cannot get out of your head. Nick in that fedora slays me every time. And then, there is “Grand Old Ivy”. I can never quite decide if my favorite performance is this one or “Brotherhood of Man”, because the two of them are so utterly genius and have such spectacle. Either way, the end of “Grand Old Ivy” got everyone cheering and screaming. Nick seemed to take a little more time relishing in the joy of his final show in several moments, including this one.
When we hit “Rosemary”, there is uproarious applause and Nick hits some of his finest notes during this scene. In terms of acting, he is just incredible. The “Act 1 Finale” gets a wealthy response of cheering as well. The audience was really feeling it today. Hell, even Papa, Mama, and Frankie Jonas showed up to voice their support for Nick.
After the lengthy intermission, “I Believe in You” was magical as always. The final time seeing Nick staring through his imaginary reflection. Sigh. “Brotherhood of Man” got a standing ovation and so much yelling and cheering that I started crying. Yes, I’m bad with the tears. Everyone was feeling it, though. The curtain call was pretty touching; when Nick came out, he treated the whole audience to a really sweet and touching speech about how much the show has meant to him and how incredible the cast has been to work with. Aw, Nick. It can’t really be over!
After the show, the stage door was swamped but somehow I managed to get into the third row. I got my Playbill signed by both Nick and Michael Urie, which I need to frame or something. I can’t begin to express my depression that the show is really done with. After 473 regular performances, the 2011 revival of How to Succeed is really… over.
It’s a sad day indeed. The closing of the show means the end of a Jonas era. But this can only mean good things for what comes ahead, right? While the future may be uncertain, the boys have been hard at work on their new album. I’ll support Nick in any way possible, so hopefully they crank that thing out pretty soon. The rabid fanbase is patiently waiting!