“How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” by Amy Giacomucci

Posted on December 16, 2011

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Recently, I saw Daniel Radcliffe star as J. Pierpont Finch in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying on Broadway.

Feel free to walk away for a moment while you vent your jealousy. Go get yourself a soda or get some trail mix, or wrap yourself up in your Harry Potter snuggie while quietly murmuring to yourself: “She doesn’t deserve this like I do.” You won’t be the first to say that to me in the past couple of days.

If it makes you feel any better, I actually love Broadway, the actual show, AND Daniel Radcliffe, so it’s not like I’m just one of those girls who is going to rave about how she breathed the same air as Daniel Radcliffe (but I totally did). Besides, I waited outside in New York City in the winter for exactly two hours and eighteen minutes—while an older Jewish man had I never met before caught me in a long, winding conversation about the Kardashian wedding—to get to those tickets, after being stuck in traffic in Manhattan for two and a half hours (not counting the two hour drive from my house to the city). You can’t say I didn’t work for them.

There’s no way you didn’t chortle when you saw this photo. LOOK AT HARRY, Y’ALL!!

Despite all I was willing to do to get the tickets, I have to say that my expectations weren’t all that high—at least, not by Broadway standards. Last year, my mom took me to a Broadway production of West Side Story, so I was well aware what the calibre of the production would be. I simply wasn’t expecting it to exceed that, especially considering that all the advertising was relying on the Rad Daniel’s star power. They didn’t even acknowledge John Laroquette’s pulling power, which was definitely a mistake—the man is talented. He was definitely a big draw for my Mom, and presumably would have been for the rest of her generation.

I assumed that the two stars would be sub-par when compared with those actors who had spent all their lives training and working on the stage. After all, a Broadway musical is a completely different animal from a television show or a blockbuster movie.

DanRad looks so SLY.

I was gravely mistaken. The two men took the stage by storm. Their dancing, singing, and acting was absolutely perfect, and completely on par with the other characters and the ensemble. I don’t know how DanRad surprised me more – with how clean and together even the most difficult of his dance moves were, or with how well he was able to uphold his American accent throughout the show. Obviously, he’s had a lot of practice by now, but still. I give the man props.

Meanwhile, Laroquette proved himself to be quite the comedian, sometimes leaving me covering my mouth with both hands so that I wouldn’t obstruct his lines with my giggles. During just the first act I laughed more than I have in the past week, and on Monday I played Apples to Apples*, so that’s saying something.

*I don’t know if you’ve ever played Apples to Apples, but trust me, if you get the right group of people there’s going to be a lot of snickering. I mean, there’s a ‘Choir Boys’ card. Enough said.

Still, the danger of reviewing this show is in being star-struck by one of my many future brother/husbands and my mom’s silver fox of a crush. To be honest, I don’t think they were the real show-stealers, even though they were the main characters. Even just looking at the ensemble, I knew that each and every one of those people could have starred and probably done just as good of a performance (although My Darling Love and Mom’s Darling Love were as perfect as I could imagine). This is the show that reminded me how much I love watching the background in any musical, because all of the ensemble made every single moment their own. I found myself laughing at the facial expressions and mannerisms of certain ensemble members many times. Furthermore, it reminded me how beautiful and perfect male dancers whose moves cannot be subtitled ‘yes, this is where my crotch is’ can be.

John Larroquette’s boss dance moves.

If I were to pick one person to have been my absolute favourite performance, though, it would be Christopher J. Hanke as Bud Frump. He made Bud just obnoxious, unlikeable, and functionally hopeless enough for me to absolutely love him, and that’s a difficult job for an actor to do. I would love to rave about him, but honestly, I don’t think words can do him justice. He managed to take the spotlight away from the Boy Who Lived for me, and I think that that says enough.

The show was nothing less than magnificent. Believe the hype – it’s not just because of the stars, it’s because of the whole production. And if that’s not enough to get you to board a plane to NYC and brave the cold for some $30 obstructed view tickets (ROW E IN THE ORCHESTRA SECTION HOLLA AT ME!!!11!!1), might I add that I saw Harry Potter both knit AND dance like a chipmunk? Tell me that’s not worth it with a straight face.

I dare you.

Watch and laugh at how hilariously short DanRad is in this performance of “Brotherhood of Man” and the 2011 Tony Awards. 

Amy Giacomucci is You’re Dripping Egg’s newest contributor. Write your comments below.

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Posted in: Music, Theatre