DANIEL Radcliffe, Harry Potter?s one and only ?vivifier,? keeps surprising everybody?but not himself. At only 21 years young, he?s not just in the process of winding up a decade-long involvement in the film world?s most successful franchise, but he?s also already plotted his career moves, A.P. (After Potter).
In 2008, he shocked the entertainment universe with his decision to play the disturbed and exhibitionistic Alan Strong in ?Equus??where, thankfully, he did not bare his shortcomings and earned critical praise.
And now, again springing a huge surprise, although in a sexually and psychologically controversial direction, the non-singing, non-dancing star is about to play the lead in an American musical!
Why does Daniel keep risking failure and challenging himself in this ?suicidal? way? Well, partly because he can. His phenomenal success as Harry Potter is not just money in the bank for him, it?s ?permission? from his adoring public to do his best ?or his worst?in a radically new reinvention of himself as an entertainer.
Other young stars are given just one chance to make it in the biz. Since he?s become a phenomenal success at such an early age, Daniel has earned the right to fail. The fact that ?Equus? was another success has bolstered his fans? faith in him as he again tempts the show biz fates to do their worst by way of his first stage musical.
We?ve seen the show, ?How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying? on Broadway and can thus share our hunch that Daniel should pass muster in it, despite his lack of musical-theater credentials.
First, he?s well-cast in the lead role, that of an obscene window washer who eventually shocks everyone by climbing the corporate ladder, all the way to chairman of the board! The character is supposed to be physically unprepossessing?and the diminutive Daniel fits the bill in that regard, no problem.
The role was originally played by comedian David Morse, so Daniel may have a tougher time matching the appeal of Morse?s performance in comedy. In fact, in his signature Harry Potter portrayal, Daniel comes across as a humorless nerd.
Well, not to worry, the actor is aware of the possible problem, and is working on it in rehearsals. He?s also taking speech lessons to sound convincing as an American.
What about the all-important singing and dancing? If memory serves, the musical demands of the show on its lead player aren?t all that arduous and extreme. So Daniel, who?s determined to make the grade, should pass that test as well.
Fact is, his biggest challenge in ?How to Succeed in Business ?? may be its whimsical, comedic element. How in blazes do you learn to be aw-shucks funny?! Daniel?s mentors can help him only so much, so he?s got to find his inner clown himself.
Being English, he could also learn a lot from the experience in musical theater of another Briton, Richard Harris, who starred in ?Camelot? without much singing or dancing ability going for him. Ditto far Rex Harrison in ?My Fair Lady.? The savvy actors? solution: Instead of singing their songs in full voice (which they really didn?t process), they resorted to the semi-parlando or spoken technique?and more than passed muster!