How to Succeed in Show Biz Without Really Trying

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“I’m just in love with the city of Seattle and the artists that create here,” says Eric Ankrim, star of The 5th’s upcoming production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. And it’s no wonder. The talented theater artist is one of the most in-demand professionals in the area. At The 5th, audiences love Ankrim not only for his incredible stage presence (Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!First Date), but for his talent in the director’s chair (Grease, ELF – The Musical).

Eric Ankrim in How to Succeed...Taking center stage as J. Pierrepont Finch is coming full circle for Ankrim. “This show is actually the first show I ever auditioned for and performed in, back in my sophomore year of high school. In many ways that experience was the reason I pursued theater moving forward.”

That high school production hooked Ankrim for the same reason that theater continues to be a passion in his life: relationships. “The collaborative spirit of theatermaking creates my favorite kind of friendship and bond. It’s playful and serious, it’s heartfelt and silly, it’s passionate and care free, all at once. The trusting, loving collaboration that theater requires of its artists is something everyone can benefit from in any field.”

“I’ve been cultivating collaborative relationships in this city for 12 years now,” he adds. “I think those relationships and those artists are the reason I am able to do the work I do. I honestly work with some of my best friends on a regular basis, and it’s that type of environment that allows people to be their best selves.”

Ankrim has a particular visible joy in performing, as though every part of him comes alive in the characters he portrays. This is, no doubt, one of the reasons why audiences will love his performance in the exuberant How to Suceed… His secret to this boundless energy onstage? “All I try to do is deal with what is right in front of me, and not waste any energy on things outside my control. The actor’s job is a relatively simple one, and the more we free ourselves to forget everything else, the more fun—and frankly, more easy—the job becomes!”

And on this role, Ankrim has this to say: “To be playing J. Pierrepont Finch on a stage I consider my artistic home, directed by my friend and mentor, Bill Berry… it’s way too much of a dream come true to even put into words.”


FIRST SHOW: How to Succeed…, Curtis High School, 1997
FIRST PROFESSIONAL SHOW: Northwest Bookshelf, 5th Avenue’s Adventure Musical Theater, 2002
FIRST SHOW AT THE 5TH: The Rocky Horror Show, 2003
FAVORITE 5TH AVE ROLE: Curly in Oklahoma!, 2012
HIGHLIGHT OF PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Going to Broadway with Bill Berry and First Date in 2013
PERSONAL LIFE TRIUMPHS: My wedding day, May 31, 2008, and the birth of each of my children.
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: Seattle Supersonics
FAVORITE FOOD: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, also Salsa Con Queso (don’t judge)
DREAM ROLE: Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton

By BRIDGET MORGAN, Public Relations and Communications Manager

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