Friday, July 29, 2011

Play Review - How To Succeed In Business (without really trying)

We went to NYC last weekend to meet up with some of M's family who had never been there before. We took the Staten Island ferry, we saw the Statue of Liberty, we did Chinatown and Little Italy, we put them on a carriage ride through Central Park, we stayed in a hotel in Times Square, we ate at fancy restaurants, and we took in a Broadway show. We had a 15 year old girl with us who is also a Harry Potter fan, so it seemed only appropriate that we see How To Succeed In Business starring Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter in those movies.

I didn't have any expectations of the play prior to seeing it. I had seen the original movie starring Robert Morse. You may remember Mr. Morse as a character actor in a number of t.v. shows and movies in the 1960s and 1970s, or from the series "City of Angels" or from "Mad Men." He's had a very long career on both stage and screen.

Because I had seen the original movie when I was just a child, I only remembered the general gist of the story. So when I saw the Michael J. Fox movie years later, The Secret of My Success, I thought it was the same story, just re-done a little bit. Now that I've seen the play and refreshed my memory on the story, I realize they are not the same story. Anyway, back to the play, it was AWESOME!! I can't begin to describe the talent of the cast, or just how physical this song and dance play was for the actors to perform. They really put their hearts into each number. They seemed enthusiastic and each number seemed fresh to them. When the play opened, there was great applause. When Daniel Radcliffe appeared, the theatre shook with the roar of the crowd, and there weren't that many young girls in the theatre. The audience really loved this guy. I would reserve judgment until the end. John Larroquette also got roaring applause when he appeared as well.

As I mentioned previously, John Larroquette was in this play. He played the boss of the company, even though there was a bigger boss above him. Daniel Radcliffe's character has a book titled, _How to succeed in business without really trying_, and it's through each chapter of this book we see Daniel's character miraculously climb up the corporate ladder with really no experience at all. John's character is a lovely man who is easily manipulated by his wife, his mistress and others. John played this part so well, one moment the imperious boss, the next a boy cheering for his alma mater, and the next a nervous man with his knitting to calm him down and his heart on his sleeve. When the cast came out at the final curtain and the audience roared for John, it was well deserved.

Now back to Daniel Radcliffe's character. It would be easy not to like his character, after all, he's a manipulator and uses people around him to meet his own desires. He is in many ways, taking advantage of situations to get ahead when he's really not qualified. So when you find yourself laughing at the ingenious ways he plants himself into just the right situation and at just the right time, you have to cheer for his boldness, creativity and work to study the company and its employees to put himself in that position. What could have been an arrogant little puss turns into a hero with Daniel's acting. You never feel like he's arrogant. You never feel like he doesn't deserve the promotions he keeps getting. You're more of the frame of mind, "I can't believe he just got that!" His comic timing was also impeccable! His facial expressions were hilarious and helped the audience tune into foreshadowing in the play. By the time the play was over, and all the actors were dripping with sweat from the dance numbers and physicality of the play, I ROARED with the rest of the audience at his curtain call. He just did a spectacularly, fabulous job with this role. I would recommend this play as a good old fashioned song and dance show. Very well done.


Larena said...

wow ! sounds like it was a great weekend ! How did the 15 year old feel about "harry potter" when she left the play ?

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Head over heels of course and so happy! said...

Wow that sounds amazing.. Wish I could to a play like that sometime.. But not in the near future..

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the trip was a great time. Did you enjoy the Statue of Liberty? that is somewhere I've yet to get to. Last time I made it to NYC it was still closed for renovations. Glad every one had a good time.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Pat, we just took the ferry by it so they could see it. They didn't want to wait in lines to go in it. We've been there before and the lines can be horrible.

wunelle said...

My wife (a theatre professor) and I lead a trip through her university to NYC every year for theatre, and this show was on our list for this past year. We didn't manage to get tickets, but we'll keep trying for the next one. Alas, Daniel Radcliffe will almost surely have moved on.

Did you guys see The High Line?

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Hi Wunelle, no, we didn't see that one. I hadn't heard of it. I'll have to go look it up. We'd really like to see _The Book of Mormon_ but it was sold out and very pricey.

wunelle said...

We also tried Mormon, but no hope for tickets short notice (we ominously noted that Spider Man tix were already half price while still in previews. *What's that burning smell?*)

The High Line is an elevated railway wending its way through the Meat Packing District on the Lower West Side that has been requisitioned for a public park (á la Paris's Boulevard Plantée) and is a spectacular view of the city. Thank god there are still people in charge of things there who will spring even a little for something whimsical and beautiful.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Oh, the highline. I actually saw the beginnings of that park years ago when did Chelsea, Greenwich and the Meat packing district. We went on a history & foodie tour of the area and they took us up there and told us about the plans they had for the park. I remember the beautiful view of the river.

wunelle said...

It's just the most magical and serendipitous thing in the middle of the city's crush, so unexpected and whimsical.

Last year we suggested it to our tour folks and on our trip this past June we made it a group event; in both cases most people listed it as a highlight of their trip (well, after the theatre).

They opened the second phase literally two days after we departed for home, so I'm dying to see that on a future visit.

So sad and too soon

Dolores O'Riordan -