Daniel Radcliffe Co-Stars With Anderson Cooper

Daniel-Radcliffe-How-to-Succeed.jpg
I'm serious!

I'm talking about How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, the Broadway revival of the 1961 show about an ambitious young man tirelessly climbing the corporate ladder. (And, no, he doesn't do it naked on top of a horse.)

With Mad Men in the air, this is the third period musical of recent years about the dark but often goofy side of office politics (after Nine to Five and Promises, Promises).

And this one has splashy sets, jangly dancing, and a great closing number ("Brotherhood of Man").

Thankfully, it doesn't try to whitewash the era's view of women, who are generally secretaries who dream of marrying their bosses and keeping hubby's dinner -- along with other things -- warm till he gets home.

And Radcliffe? He's OK. Sweet singing voice, great dancing moves in that last number.

It's just that Robert Morse's performance is saved for all time in the movie, in which he was impish, hilarious, magnetic, devious, and cute.

And Matthew Broderick was winningly slippery in the 1995 revival, which is still fresh in my own anything-to-get-ahead theater-queen mind.

Radcliffe's Finch is mainly earnest. He doesn't come off as someone trying to act earnest to get ahead but as someone who's just plain earnest. It's weird. But Radcliffe's perfectly game and is to commended for continually trying to break out of his ascribed teen idol role.

Alas, the big number "I Believe In You" falters without any sense of unrequited self love to propel it. Ironically, Radcliffe looks terrified! (Update: Maybe it's not ironic. A commenter below says Radcliffe is purposely interpreting the song as an attempt to dispel his fears. Well, unlike Finch himself, it doesn't work.)

But he does nicely on the song "Rosemary" and scores every time he turns to the audience with a grin whenever he's gotten another promotion.

Oh, and he co-stars with Anderson Cooper. Well, his disembodied voice. Anderson is the narrator, the voice of the success manual Radcliffe reads throughout the show. If there were a Tony award for voice, he'd definitely succeed!


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10 comments
CindyLouWho
CindyLouWho

Dan has said in interviews that Finch is "morally reprehensible." Perhaps this is his way of trying to lessen the concept that Finch really is reprehensible, and reinforce the idea that this is just a young man trying to get ahead. It would be natural for a young man Dan's age to question himself, to wonder if he's doing the right thing, while Morse's interpretation really is a guy in his 30s who's probably failed at things before but now is so concentrated on success, he really doesn't care who he steps on. As Dan has also said in interviews, he believes people will say, "Ah, he's young" and be more forgiving of Finch's scheming. I think the performance should be judged based on how it is now, not in comparison to the way older performers (Morse and Broderick) did it. The entire approach to the subject of "getting ahead in life" is much different when you're 21 and just starting out than when you're in your 30s and have been struggling to get ahead for a while.

MSpeer
MSpeer

I went in skeptical but I really liked the show. I enjoyed it much more than Promises, Promises. I am usually pretty critical but for some reason, I was delighted with his performance (indeed all of them) and his rapport with his costars.

Yes, Morse has the trademark (and he is perfect in the role). But the energy of this cast, comic timing, musical direction, and pace all worked for me. And Radcliffe, if you like the his type (and I do) is adorable and professional.

MarkyMark
MarkyMark

To get the closest to how its REALLY done by a pro, see Robert Morse's live Tony stage-recreation of "I Believe In You" on the DVD "Broadway's Lost Treasures II (2004)" - its incredible! Even more amazing is watching Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur having a ball with "Bosom Buddies" from "Mame" - Jessica Fletcher this is NOT! But the topper may be Katharine Hepburn's 15-minute "Always Mademoiselle" segment from "Coco", its staggering. I cannot recommend this DVD highly enough.

Melinda9
Melinda9

Thanks for the tip, Marky Mark. I definitely want to check out Lost Treasures.

Jonny
Jonny

Maybe I also recommend the VHS recording of "That's Singing" (sadly not available on DVD). Taped in the early 1980s, it includes live performances of original cast artists performing their songs, including Robert Morse ("I Believe in You"), Ethel Merman, and an extended sequence with Glynis Johns and Len Carious performing the original "Send in the Clowns," among other jewels.http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Si...

Hallandale
Hallandale

Finch doesn't have any insecurities!! That's a weird interpretation for him to play it like he's filled with them.

Bwayjoe
Bwayjoe

But it didn't come off as someone trying to dispel his own insecurity. Daniel didn't pull that bit off. And all the joy and humor of the song was lost in this attempt at an interpretation.

Barbara
Barbara

"Alas, the big number "I Believe In You" falters without any sense of unrequited self love to propel it. Ironically, Radcliffe looks terrified!"

Actually, in one interview, that is exactly the emotion Radcliffe said he was going for! He meant the song to be taken as something being sung by a person who was trying to dispel their own insecurity! Sadly, very few seem to be getting his interpretation, but rather expecting it to be more like Mr. Morse's. Too bad.

Ter
Ter

Thanks for these Broadway reviews. You come across fair and interested.

egghumor
egghumor

And does that photo of Radcliffe look more like J. Pierrepont Finch, or Pee-Wee Herman?

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