Too often on Broadway, musicals sacrifice brains and depth for joyous, get-up-and-dance production numbers, as if the two couldn’t coexist in the same show. Rob Ashford’s revival of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying is that rare production that manages to provide audiences with both.
Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter megafame stars as J. Pierrepont Finch, the window washer at the World Wide Wicket Co. who cunningly works his way up the corporate ranks. This is Radcliffe’s second Broadway bow, following a fantastic debut in the psychological thriller Equus in 2008. To answer the questions on everyone’s minds—yes, Radcliffe can sing and dance along with an ensemble full of Broadway babies, born and bred. While his vocals never rise above adequate, Radcliffe both executes and contributes to director Ashford’s lively and challenging choreography.
Ashford cleverly crafted choreography around Radcliffe’s physical traits. During the college-football inspired number “Grand Old Ivy, the ensemble literally lifts and tumbles Radcliffe around as if he were a five-foot pigskin. The effect is nothing short of hilarious, as is Radcliffe’s approval of the physical gag. “Grand Old Ivy” and others like “Brotherhood of Man” display a level of choreography and production value that is filled with such life and invention; How To Succeed surely offers some of the best Broadway spectacle this season. Read more