Broadway Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Denisa and I went in to New York and had a chance to see a show while we were there. I love me some Broadway, and I don’t get to go nearly as often as I’d like. (That whole “living in Maine” thing tends to make “going to Broadway” more difficult.) One of my all-time favorite musicals is How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying–mainly because of the Robert Morse movie version of the musical, which I grew up watching frequently. It also has a song all about groundhogs. Right up my alley.

So when I saw Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe was starring in the revival, I hoped I’d be able to get in sometime and see it. Then again, I was also more than a little concerned that he’d stink it up and ruin the musical. Harry Potter isn’t known for his great vocals, after all. But it was worth a shot. I’d seen him perform on the Tony’s after all, and he didn’t do an awful job then.

I’m very pleased to be able to report that it’s a wonderful production. Radcliffe threw himself into the role with gusto, even nine months into his ten month stint as the star. The musical numbers were tons of fun, and I’ve never seen the Groundhog number done better. The musical was hilarious. Great choreography (not quite as good as the movie, but then again, the movie reused the Bob Fosse routines, and it’s hard to compete against Fosse), I loved the set and costume design–sort of a Broadway Mad Men vibe, with extra color. (Denisa noticed all sort of things with the costume design that I didn’t even pick up on at all–how the colors changed based on the tone of the musical at the time. Stuff like that. Clearly I’m not that observant when it comes to costumes. But I noticed they looked nice and were . . . colorful.)

The two stand out numbers were the Groundhog one and the finale. Radcliffe’s voice was pretty good. He has a tendency to sing through his nose on some of the words, but I think that might be him doing his American accent. John Larroquette (of Night Court fame) played the boss, and he really hammed it up–in a good way.

There have been times that I’ve seen live productions of shows that I’m already really familiar with via the film adaptations. Sometimes, the comparison is a harsh one. You can get really used to seeing things done a certain way, and when it’s different, it seems worse. Not this time. I really had a blast the whole time through.

On an interesting side note, Radcliffe auctioned off his bow tie at the end of the show (for an annual Broadway charity drive). It went for $2800. (Who said there was a recession on?) It was fun to see him chit chat with the audience as he took bids.

In any case, if you’re in the area and want to catch a good show, I encourage you to see this one. I might be biased because I’m a big fan of the musical to begin with, but it’s just a light, enjoyable production. Very family-friendly, too.

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