Will Daniel Radcliffe cast a spell over Tony Awards voters?
Daniel Radcliffe has found his first post-"Harry Potter" role. He is to star next year in a Broadway revival of the Tony-winning tuner "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Radcliffe will play the plum part of J. Pierpont Finch, a window cleaner who rises to the top of a huge company while, of course, wooing and winning a girl along the way.
"How to Succeed" is one of only eight tuners to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The original production won the top Tony for best musical in 1962 as well as six more, including awards for lead Robert Morse and supporting player Charles Nelson Reilly. And the 1995 rialto revival of "How to Succeed" won Matthew Broderick the lead actor Tony. Loads of talent are involved in this second revival. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("Chicago") lead the producing team while Tony Award winner Rob Ashford ("Thoroughly Modern Millie") is to direct and choreograph.
Daniel Radcliffe has been worried about his career prospects once he finishes filming the final two installments of the "Harry Potter" franchise. The 20-year-old knows that many of his contemporaries will just be graduating from drama school. Last year, he explained to Esquire about his decision to take twice-weekly ballet lessons, "They’ve been learning dance or singing and all that stuff, and I’m going to need to compete with them because I won’t have 'Harry Potter' as my safety net anymore. I need to make myself as viable a choice for any part as I possibly can."
After completing the sixth film in the franchise -- "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" -- in 2007, Radcliffe made his stage debut in a revival of the 1975 Tony-winning best play "Equus." He persuaded both the tough London and Gotham theater critics he could actually act. For his efforts, Radcliffe earned a Drama Desk nod in New York and two WhatsOnStage Awards in the West End.
Radcliffe's only other major screen roles since "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" shot him to worldwide fame in 2001 were in two 2007 projects -- the telefilm "My Boy Jack," and the feature "December Boys." He received good reviews in the former as the title character -- the son of Nobel-winning author Rudyard Kipling -- determined to fight in World War I. However, this small-screen success did not translate into any awards recognition for the young actor. Similarly, his work in "December Boys" was well-regarded but was not recognized come kudos time.
Indeed, Daniel Radcliffe has reaped surprisingly little in the way of awards hardware. He has lost five successive Saturn Award bids for best performance by a younger actor. He failed to win any of his three Broadcast Film Critics Assn. nods for best young actor for his performances in "Sorcerer's Stone," "Prisoner of Azkaban," and "Goblet of Fire." And he still doesn't have an MTV Movie Award on his mantle, despite four nominations in various categories.
Photo: Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1." Credit: Warner Bros.