Monday, March 28, 2011

“How To Succeed in Business” excels in entertainment

By Cheryl Thornburg
The question is answered – Daniel Radcliff can sing and dance. Leaving behind his Harry Potter persona and his British accent, Radcliff proves he's got the moves in “How To Succeed in Business” which is currently playing at the Al Hirschfield Theatre in New York.
Radcliff stars as J. Pierrepont Finch, a window washer who uses a self-help book called “How to Succeed” to maneuver his way to the top of the Worldwide Wicket Company at rocket speed.
Radcliff has a clear, strong tenor that delivers the ballad “I Believe in You” with an honesty that pulls the audience in. It is one of two songs that you might find yourself humming when you leave the theater. The other is the rousing “Brotherhood of Man” that wraps up the second act with a hand-clapping feel-good number that leaves the audience feeling more than satisfied.
For a musical, though, this might just as well be called a “dancical” because it is the choreography that puts it a cut above the rest. Its high energy, intricate, interlocking routines are mesmerizing and delivered with precision by a team of first-rate dancers. By the way – Radcliff more than keeps up with them.
Although the entire show is filled with one great routine after another, “A Secretary Is Not a Toy” and “Grand Old Ivy” are over-the top enjoyable. The latter is filled with some of the most agile and hilarious football players you'll ever see, lead by Radcliff and the other star of the show, John Larroquette,
The Emmy Award-winning actor of “Night Court” fame brings his comedic talent to Broadway for the first time. He seems made to play the part of J.B. Biggley, the likable, philandering boss, whom Finch befriends – and manipulates in order to climb the corporate ladder. Larroquette's natural charm, booming voice and swaggering posture put the “big” in Mr. Biggley. His comedic timing is impeccable.
Also impressive is Christopher J. Hanke as Bud Frump, Biggley's ne'r-do-well nephew, Finch's rival, who can't quite outfox the crafty newcomer. Hanke has one of the most fun parts to play in this production and he does so with flair. He particularly shows off his vocal and comedic skills in the first act in “Coffee Break,” as he tries to fend off coworkers and hold on to the last cup of coffee from the now-empty machine.
Other performances of note are Rob Bartlett as Mr. Twimble, the head of the mail room; Ellen Harvey as Miss Jones, Biggley's secretary; Tammy Blanchard as Hedy LaRue, Biggley's sexpot mistress; and Rose Hemingway as Rosemary Pilkington, Finch's love interest.
Hats off to director/choreographer Rob Ashford who has put together a talented cast and brought amazing performances to a delighted audience. “How to Succeed” is the total package with talented actors and dancers, ingenious set designs by Derek McLane (You'll never think of cubicle in the same way again), accentuated by spot-on lighting by Howell Binkley and costumes by Catherine Zuber.” What you'll take away is phenomenal imagery, as all the pieces of this production fit together perfectly. It is well worth the trip and the ticket price.
This particular theater experience came as package through Village Productions at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center in Pottstown, Pa.and it's a great way to see Broadway.If you don't relish the thought of driving in New York City, check into similar bus trips online or through local travel agencies and organizations.
Ticket prices for the show start at $52.
Radcliff's presence has one added bonus for theater lovers. The audience was filled with many young Harry Potter fans, and I suspect that what the Harry Potter books did for encouraging young people to read, his performance in this production may inspire a whole new generation of live theater enthusiasts. And that alone make it a success.


Anonymous Business Coaching said...

Daniel Radcliff take it to the next level beyond what he can do as the Harry Potter character. He's one of the most successful young man of his generation.

Lyle Stephens

March 28, 2011 at 7:23 PM 

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