How To… Address the Sexism in this Year’s Musical

By Emma Diller
Volume 68, Issue III

BHS’s spring musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, is a timepiece that exposes life in corporate America. It is a satire that takes place in the ‘50s, and despite the play being satirical it strikes an all-too-familiar chord with the actors and actresses in the musical.

“The sexism in the show is very obvious and there’s no way around it,” said actress Sarah Kaul, 17, about how she felt about the musical. “The way the writers have approached the sexist work environment makes me proud to be in the show, since it satirizes the situation and delegitimizes the types of men who dominated this sexist time period.”

All of the Hollywood sexual misconduct allegations that have recently come out and the rise of the ‘Me Too’ movement have made it clear sexism isn’t a thing of the past.

“I think it’s up to us as a cast to perform it in such a way that actually calls attention to all the sexual harassment and sexism currently circling the media and entertainment industries,” said actress Juliet Freedman.

Sexual harassment and inequality are still prominent in our society, but after reading through the script a few times I realized how far women have come since the 1950s. Musical Director Mr. Ian Driver has done an excellent job in educating the cast on the time period, and it has been an eye-opening experience. The cast read through interview questions that companies would ask potential secretaries, finding that they all related to a woman’s personal life rather than her intellect.

“We can look at the show in ‘inverted commas,’ as Mr. Driver says, and see it as something to avoid while not on-stage,” said Jack McGranaghan. Although women have so much further to go, the last six decades have seen significant improvements on women’s rights and the progression of women in the workforce.

The performers involved in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying are taking this musical as an opportunity to spread awareness of sexism but also have fun with the show. Despite contemporary issues being tackled the show is rather upbeat, and the satirical elements make the characters laughable.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying will play March 2-4, so come see for yourselves what business was like in the 1950s and how the cast deals with spreading awareness about current sexism.

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