From left, Kirk Johnson, Kyle Stoner and Brendon North appear in Bay Area Musicals! first production, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” (Courtesy Ben Krantz)

Bay Area Musicals! kicks off with ‘How to Succeed’

Bay Area Musicals! founder and artistic director Matthew McCoy admits that he hasn’t undertaken the sanest endeavor, but he’s quite positive about the future of his new local theater troupe.

“You have be a little crazy to be in the arts,” says McCoy, but adds that so far the company, which presents its first San Francisco show next week, is in good financial shape, thanks to “a great team involved,” varied donors and sponsorships (including funding from the tech sector), effective guerilla marketing and good ticket sales.

Appealing to a broad range of audiences of all ages is primary goal of the nonprofit professional group, which opens “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” on Nov. 28 at Marines’ Memorial Theatre and continues its inaugural season with “Hair” and “La Cage aux Folles” in 2016.

When McCoy (who got a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina and has worked nationally and internationally producing, choreographing and performing musicals, plays and magic productions) decided to settle, he came to San Francisco in 2012 because it has a vibrant theater scene.

“We have a ton of theater. I saw the number, and thought, ‘This is the perfect place,’” says McCoy, who thinks BAM! will fill a niche by offering quality productions of new and old classics at an affordable price, and not necessarily to the same people who attend the region’s established local theaters.

McCoy picked the Tony Award-winning “How to Succeed” as the inaugural show because it’s a parody of the career and commercial world to which many of the theater’s new patrons can relate.

“People came out of the woodwork, a great array of talent, came out to audition,” adds McCoy who’s directing the admittedly dated (particularly in its treatment of women) 1961 show.

“It doesn’t matter, because the cast is so good,” McCoy adds. (Kyle Stoner plays the lead, who journeys from window washer to the executive suite, and Chloe Condon plays his secretary; both have extensive credits in local musicals.)

McCoy says no lyrics in Frank Loesser’s “great” songs will be changed, but that the sexism in the show is being mitigated by blocking and choreography that gives the action a contemporary, feminist tone.

Another BAM! positive is the company’s commitment to community. Grant money will enable 300 high school students to see the show free, in the hopes that, McCoy says, “We’ll give them the bug, then, from that, they’ll move on.”

IF YOU GO
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Presented by Bay Area Musicals!
Where: Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., S.F.
When: Opens Nov. 28; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; closes Dec. 19
Tickets: $35 to $60
Contact: (415) 340-2207, www.bamsf.org

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