|Daniel Radcliffe performing "How to Succeed"|
|Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette|
(all photos: Ari Mintz)
|John Larroquette and Tammy Blanchard|
Radcliffe's voice is not a soaring tenor but so wasn't Matthew Broderick's who played the same role and won a Tony Award for his performance in the 1995 revival. Radcliffe does a more than capable job in his songs and more than holds his own in the athletic dance numbers. Though his take on Finch lacks the mischievous relish needed for the role, by default he keeps the audience on his side with the smiles his character displays at each luck of good fortune. By contrast to Broderick and Robert Morse who originated the role in 1962, Radcliffe's age at 21 years gives the impression of an upstart corporate climber.
|Daniel Radcliffe and Tammy Blanchard|
|Rose Hemingway and Daniel Radcliffe|
One of the major assets of the production is the strong supporting cast that often overshadows the diminutive lead star. None more so than Larroquette who towers over the entire cast physically and by his comic timing proving his Emmy-winning years doing situation comedy on television was no fluke. Gruff and amusing, he makes a welcome Broadway debut and in the process winning a featured actor Tony for the role earlier this month.
As Finch's love interest, Hemingway's Rosemary is pretty and sweet throughout the show. More beguiling is Blanchard who elevates her role with an unexpected comic flair for playing the bombshell mistress with a heart. Ellen Harvey as the dutiful and no-nonsense secretary to Larroquette's Biggely has several droll moments and gets to join the male company in one of the big production numbers.
|Christopher J. Hanke|
The tuneful and witty songs by Frank Loesser still amuse today and the book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert (unaltered) is filled with sly humor as they satire the corporate world of the time. Bright spots in the score include Finch's self-affirming ballad "I Believe In You" and the rousing "Brotherhood of Man".
With Rob Ashford as both director and choreographer there was no doubt that exhilarating dance numbers would be prominent especially in the songs "Grand Old Ivy" and "Brotherhood of Man." But what Ashford does is send the willing Radcliffe to be the center of the dancing chorus. Radcliffe should be proud of the sweat on his forehead.
|Rose Hemingway, Mary Faber and Daniel Radcliffe|
|Christopher J. Hanke (center) and the male ensemble.|
The honeycomb set of the production design and costumes of pastels and grays captures the sixties without being distracting about it. It's like "Mad Men" the television series but with a bit more color but less sex appeal. One lost opportunity for the design team was the reveal and design of the "Paris Original" dress worn by the female ensemble.
With the popularity of "Mad Men" part of the current pop culture landscape, the values and sensibilities of the musical should come as no surprise. It's a work of its time so nobody should be groaning at the quaintness when Rosemary sings "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm." Ashford and his team maintains the irresistible charms of the classic musical throughout the evening.
It will be worthwhile to learn what next theater project will return Radcliffe to the stage. After taking a sharp turn to tackle this role I doubt he would be interested in "Harry Potter: The Musical." He's grown beyond that.
- Website: HowToSucceedBroadway.com
- Where: Al Hirschfeld Theatre (seating chart)
- Location: 302 West 45th St (between 8th and 9th Avenues), New York City
- When: Tue 7pm; Wed 2pm & 8pm; Thu 7pm; Fri 8pm; Sat 2pm & 8pm; Sun 3pm
- Running Time: 2 hrs 40 min (including intermission)
- Ticket Prices: $52-$132
- Opening: Mar 27, 2011 (previews from Feb 26, 2011)
- Closing: Open Run
- Book Online: telecharge.com
- Book by Phone: 800-432-7250
- Cast Recording: 2011 Broadway Cast Recording
- Book: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying by Shepherd Mead
More photos below.
|Daniel Radcliffe and Ellen Harvey|
|Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette with the male company|
perform "Grand Old Ivy".
|Daniel Radcliffe and Rob Bartlett|
|Christopher J. Hanke and Mary Faber wrestle for a cup in the|
"Coffee Break" number.
|Daniel Radcliffe and the company rehearsing the "Brotherhood|
of Man" number.
|Rose Hemingway and Daniel Radcliffe|