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Theater Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

How to Succeed Broadway Daniel RadcliffeAt the end of October I was lucky enough to see the Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe and playing at the Al Hirschfeld theater. I love musical theater, Harry Potter, and Al Hirschfeld’s art, so this was a real treat, and I’m very grateful to the two friends who brought me along with them.

Daniel Radcliffe (who is called D-Rad in my head) does an excellent job playing the eager, enthusiastic, ambitious young wannabe-businessman J. Pierrepont Finch. His smaller stature works for him here. He’s shorter than everyone else, but it fits with the shiny-eyed image of the “new kid.” He literally looks up to John Larroquette. (The voiceover narration of the book for which the musical is named is provided by swoon-worthy Anderson Cooper.) Finch’s ambition means he’s a rather distracted love interest, and Radcliffe does that well, too.

How to Succeed Daniel Radcliffe Broadway signI saw Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway in Equus during the winter of 2008, so I already knew that he’s a very athletic and energetic stage performer. In How to Succeed, he throws himself (figuratively and physically) into all of the dance numbers, and because he’s half the size of all the other men on stage it seems like he’s working twice as hard. The Harry Potter movies and Equus showed me how physical he is, but I still wondered: Can Daniel Radcliffe dance? The answer is, yes, yes he can. His singing is good; he can definitely carry a tune and he hits all the right notes, but he does lack the strength of more trained singers. However, his charm, spot-on 1960s-American-stage accent, and enthusiasm more than make up for it. When he’s on stage, you forget he’s Harry Potter. Hell, you forget he’s BRITISH.

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