He’s starring in a show called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” but no one can accuse 21-year-old Daniel Radcliffe of not “trying” to prove that his talent as an actor stretches beyond potions and wizardry at Hogwarts.
Two years after doing a nude scene as the tormented Alan Strang in “Equus,” Radcliffe has returned to Broadway to headline a revival of Frank Loesser’s Pulitzer-winning 1961 musical satire of big business. Even though the musical depicts a dated, sexist work culture similar to the one found on TV’s “Mad Men,” it remains absolutely timeless and hilarious.
Radcliffe plays J. Pierre-point Finch, the young go-getter who starts out as a window washer and, by using a no-nonsense book on the art of getting ahead, manages to land a job without any experience or education and then work his way up the corporate ladder.
There are many funnier actors with stronger voices that probably would have been better suited to the role. Nevertheless, Radcliffe gives a pretty satisfying performance, showing off earnest acting skills, a passable singing voice and some surprisingly confident dance moves.
But perhaps most importantly, he is so cute and charming that the audience is sure to cheer him on.
Rob Ashford, who also staged the recent Broadway revival of “Promises, Promises,” has directed an excellent and enjoyable revival full of innovative choices, aggressive choreography and joyous humor.
Radcliffe’s terrific supporting cast includes an easygoing John Larroquette as company president J.B. Biggley; winning newcomer Rose Hemingway as Rosemary, the attractive secretary who is eager to be Finch’s future wife; Tammy Blanchard as coarse and idiotic sex kitten Hedy La Rue; and Christopher J. Hanke as whiny villain Bud Frump.