The cast of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” will be bringing live shows back to Anamosa starting June 11.


For the first time in nearly 18 months, live shows will return to the Starlighters II Theatre stage.

“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” had been close to its debut last March when the theatre was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Director Aimee Jones said the production is about a man who does whatever it takes to rise from nothing to be a success. According to the theatre’s website, the musical will, “follow the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch, who uses a little handbook titled ‘How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying’ to climb the corporate ladder at a major company. He rises from a low window washer to high-powered executive, tackling such familiar but potent dangers as the aggressively compliant ‘company man,’ while the rest of the office party is backstabbing, caffeine addicted and of course, in love.”

Jones said she feels that supporting not only Starlighter productions, but other community theatres as well, is important, and whether sitting in the audience or performing on stage, the arts is a way to escape and experience something outside of reality.

For some of the cast, it’s been a day more than a year in the making; for others, just a couple of months. Regardless of when people joined the cast, there’s plenty of excitement for opening night.

“I’m so glad we’re finally doing the show. It’s been a long time coming,” Emily Burds said, who plays Rosemary, Finch’s love interest, and was part of the initial 2020 cast. “It really was like time stood still when we left. I remember the last day when we were in here last March when the announcement was made that we weren’t going on. Literally, everything stopped, and nothing changed, and then I came back at the end of April to join the new cast, and everything picked up and off we went.

“It really was sort of a weird time warp to be in.”

For Melanie Chervek, a new cast member that was part of the recasting who will be making her Starlighters debut, she enjoyed getting up to speed with the rest of her new cast members and then joining with the cast members like Burds that had been with the production from the beginning. When the opportunity came up, she couldn’t turn down the opportunity to get back on stage after previously performing with a theatre company out of Iowa City.

“After I heard there was a theatre that was closer to where I live…It was just kind of like, ‘Oh, I need to go audition for this show,” Chervek said, who plays Hedy, a rival of Rosemary’s.

Chervek said she enjoys her role because she’s the opposite of Hedy.

“It’s kind of was a challenge, but when you have a fun cast, like what we have, it’s so natural,” she said.

Burds likewise found the fun in getting to play her idealistic character who has her head in the clouds.

You can see Burds, Chervek and the rest of the cast take the stage of the Starlighters stage starting Friday, June 11. For ticket information, or to learn more about the theatre’s COVID-19 protocols, visit

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