Playbill is reporting that Daniel Radcliffe will take part in a reading of Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. With a view to staging a Broadway revival of the show, Tony-winning choreographer Rob Ashford will direct and choreograph.
One of the knee-jerk reactions online in reaction to this news has been about 20 year old Radcliffe – who is most famous for playing teenage wizard Harry Potter on screen – being old enough to take on the role, which has been played in the past by older actors like Robert Morse (31) and Matthew Broderick (33).
But let’s think about this for a second. The argument is that Radcliffe is too young to play an ambitious, young window cleaner. It seems more sound to argue that, in their 30s, Robert Morse and Matthew Broderick were too old! Morse certainly was pushing it age wise, and Broderick had to push his trademark boyish charm to the limits – so neither really could play any sense of youthful ambition completely convincingly.
Furthermore, it’s not as if Radcliffe looks like he’s a boy. He is and looks like a young man, which is surely all the age you need, particularly when taking into consideration that the show is basically a coming of age story set in the world of business. So the idea that he is too young to play the role confounds me.
The other immediate question being asked is whether Radcliffe can sing or not, given that he hasn’t appeared in a major musical as yet. This might really answer that question well enough, but here is a clip from Gypsy of the Year last year, in which Radcliffe sings a little ditty on stage with the cast of Equus.