We all know Daniel Radcliffe as the actor who played The Boy Who Lived in one of the biggest movie franchises of all time. 10 years, 7 books, 8 films, and $7,667,304,914 later, we catch him onstage at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in New York doing something completely disparate: singing and dancing as the main character, J. Pierrepont Finch, in the Broadway revival of Frank Loesser’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
I had the wonderful opportunity of seeing this man in action when I went to New York last October 2011. I never really expected much (given his credentials) but, suffice it to say, I left the theater completely blown away (ooh, rhyme). Every single moment, from the time he came out from the orchestra pit to when he was hoisted on the shoulders of the executives for the last note of Brotherhood of Man, was just brilliant (if not heart attack-inducing). All previous biases and expectations were thrown out the window once Dan started belting out the first few words to How To Succeed, leaving just me, the audience, the wonderful cast members, and the awesome production that it evidently was.
Alongside Dan were John Larroquette as J.B. Biggley, Rose Hemmingway as Rosemary Pilkington, Tammy Blanchard as Hedy La Rue, Christopher Hanke as Bud Frump, Rob Bartlett as Mr. Twimble/Wally Womper, Mary Faber as Smitty, Ellen Harvey as Ms. Jones, and Michael Park as Mr. Bratt. This ensemble cast, with their incredible nuances, singing, dancing, and comedic timing, was just a perfect complement to Dan’s raw (yet still oddly refined) theater capabilities.
Speaking of singing and dancing, did I mention just how amazing The Swingers were in that show? Check out their performance of Coffee Break:
Credit, of course, also goes to the following: Rob Ashford for the wonderful direction and choreography, David Chase (who graduated with a degree in Biology from Harvard [still can’t get over that!]) for his marvelous and timely musical arrangement, Derek McLane for the stunning set design, Catherine Zuber for the very striking costumes, and the rest of the crew who helped make this production perfect.
Sadly though, after 300+ performances (and without missing even one), Daniel finally ended his run last January 1, 2012, handing over the reigns to Darren Criss (Harry Freakin’ Potter in A Very Potter Musical & Blaine Anderson in Glee) — but not without leaving behind these incredible stats, awards (can you say “Entertainer of the Year“?) and reviews, which once again prove just how brilliant and talented he really is, away from the ever-looming shadow of Harry Potter.
Check out Dan’s speech after his final performance on H2$:
Although I’m still mourning the end of Dan’s run, I’m still quite excited to see what he has in store for us in the future — with the nearest one being his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live this coming January 14th.
Can’t wait! Watch out for that, fellow culture crays! 😉