While still in previews before its official opening March 27 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in New York City, “How to Succeed” already runs like the well-oiled company portrayed in the musical.
Daniel Radcliffe, also known as the boy wizard from the Harry Potter series, shows range by singing, dancing and using an American accent.
It’s a far cry from his critically-acclaimed Broadway debut in 2008 when he played Alan Strang, the psychologically disturbed teenager in “Equus” who blinds six horses.
Here, Radcliffe’s character J. Pierrepont Finch tries to work his way to the top of the World Wide Wicket Company after starting off as a window washer. A book that shares the play’s name, narrated by Anderson Cooper (CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360”), guides him every step of the way.
A secretary is not a toy. Get out of the mailroom. Never end up in the advertising department.
Though he doesn’t possess the best singing voice or dance moves, Radcliffe more than keeps up with his counterparts and portrays a likeable character, despite his manipulative steps to climb the corporate ladder.
One of the play’s highlights comes during “Grand Old Ivy,” when Finch dupes boss J.B. Biggley, played by Emmy winner John Larroquette (“Night Court”), in a football-inspired dance number. The penultimate song, “Brotherhood of Man,” shows off the ensemble’s talent.
With a satirical take on life in the 1950s, the show’s female characters certainly keep up with the boys.
Rose Hemingway’s Rosemary Pilkington is just as ambitious as Finch- her goal is to marry him and keep his dinner warm. Hedy La Rue, played by Tammy Blanchard, is the Joan equivalent from “Mad Men,” and proves to be more than just curves.
The play, which will run through the end of the year, is worth a weekend visit to the Big Apple. “How to Succeed” displays its surprising timelessness with things that never change, regardless of decade.
Just ask all the crazed workers in search of that final cup of coffee.
Christina De Nicola may be contacted at email@example.com.IF YOU GO
Where: Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street, New York City
When: Tuesday 7 p.m., Wednesday 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., Thursday 7 p.m., Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.
Theatrical run: Through 2011
General rush: $30 limited tickets available at 10 a.m. the day of a performance
Ticket prices: Range from $52-132
More info: howtosucceedbroadway.com or @H2SBway