Daniel Radcliffe has shed his Harry Potter skin and evolved into a super Broadway song-and-dance man. Who knew he would be a wizard on his feet? In one bit of comic nonsense in the musical How ToSucceed In Business Without Really Trying, he jumps up and down on a sofa with the agility of a champion gymnast, in a nod to the meltdown moment of a certain box office superstar.source: dailymail.co.uk
‘We had an intelligent audience in tonight,’ Daniel quipped, when I visited him backstage at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. ‘They got the Tom Cruise reference.’ They certainly did. Daniel was referring to the infamous television incident when Cruise jumped up and down on Oprah Winfrey’s couch.
There’s also an astute nod, intentional or not, to the Spider-Man musical, right at the top of the show, when a rope and a couple of wires dangle from the rafters and up comes Daniel from the orchestra pit. He succeeds in How To Succeed in a way I could not have imagined. A year ago, he told me he couldn’t dance for toffee. Now he’s charging about the stage with a bunch of the best hoofers on Broadway.
‘Sometimes I was dancing for nine hours a day when I wasn’t filming,’ Daniel told me. ‘The thing was to keep practising and practising until you could do it without thinking about it. The aim was to be effortless — or to appear to seem effortless.’
He praised the team who drilled him in the musical theatre arts. Spencer Soloman was his dance tutor and, as an associate of How To Succeed’s director and choreographer Rob Ashford, he helped Daniel achieve the Ashford ‘style’. Mark Meylan, Barbara Houseman and Penny Dyer were, respectively, his vocal, voice and dialect coaches. He managed to fit all those tasks in between completing the final Potter film, Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and shooting and completing the screen version of The Woman In Black for Hammer Films.
‘I didn’t want the last Harry Potter film to come out and people to say: “So, what does he do now? How does he follow that?” I’m already doing it! I’ve made another film and I’m on Broadway for the second time,’ he told me, in a reference to his five-month run in Equus — a repeat of the part he’d played in the West End.
‘I’m doing this for nine months, and I did Equus for five months here and that felt like a long time. I was exhausted after that, so I have to learn to keep my energy levels up with diet and exercise.
‘The rest of the cast work tremendously hard, but I have just two big numbers — Grand Old Ivy and Brotherhood Of Man — and there’s a lot of dancing and singing. They’re exhilarating to do and I love that this is so different from everything else I’ve done. I’m not repeating myself,’ Daniel added. The show’s in previews for a few weeks and director Ashford and music chief David Chase are still tinkering with it.
‘I hear the word “changes” and I go: “What changes?” But I’m OK with it. That’s what previews are for.’I have to tell you that he gives such a confident and winning performance that it’s hard to believe he’s never done a musical before — plus his comic timing in this satire about manipulating your way to the top is sublime. Daniel has great support from his romantic co-star Rose Hemingway, and from John Larroquette, who plays his boss. He mentioned in passing that there has been talk between him and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron about doing a big-screen version of How To Succeed. But if that were to happen the book (by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert) would have to be overhauled. It works fine on stage, but for the screen someone would have to give it more zing.