Archive for July, 2011

How to Succeed in Business? Play Harry Potter

In a few minutes Leo and I will go to the final Harry Potter.  I tried to get tickets to midnight shows in New York, but had no luck.  Check out the line!

Potter fans on 84th and Broadway

So, we’re hitting a 9:30 a.m. show.  This will be a big moment for me and the boy (I read the whole series to him except the last one — he actually read the book in London at a kind of Harry Potter camp with my mom).  Strangely, he’s sort of outgrown it.  I have not.  I am a total fanboy.  And so, when we saw How to Succeed in Business on Broadway the other day (starring Daniel Radcliffe), I was all bent out of shape.

Harry Potter and Leo

So, too, were the throngs of thirteen-year-old geek-girls, who were having their own nerdy Justin Bieber moment beside me.  I have never been at a show with this much energy.  So crazy.

First, Daniel Radcliffe is good.  Not the greatest singer in the world, but a huge presence, super athletic, great comic timing, and Harry Potter.

Second, the show is about an uneducated window washer who, through charm and luck, rises to the top of a corporation, falls in love, and defeats a waspy, snobby, blue-blood nephew of the CEO named Frump (not Malfoy). Frump actually delivers some of the funniest lines in the show, but he was unloved by the audience (Malfoy!).

Third, during a Wednesday matinee, during the week the final Harry Potter is being released, the crowd was very young, and was thinking as much about Harry as they were about the experience in front of them.  This was a meta-Potter-1960s musical happening.

Fourth, Radcliffe wasn’t cocky. He didn’t show boat.  He didn’t milk the love.  And, you could tell that the amazing, excellent, very tall, so hilarious, John Larroquette, who is a legend himself, but not Harry Potter, and who plays the CEO in the show, actually really likes Radcliffe.  Larroquette deferred.  Radcliffe wouldn’t allow it.  They both totally sparkled sparkily.  Great comic chemistry.

Fifth, in this Justin Bieber world, thirteen-year-old girls do a lot of screaming and celebrating of those they love.  I have never seen a standing ovation in the middle of a show.  After a big (really, really, really cool) dance number in this one, however, the screaming drove the audience to leap from their seats and weep.

Before the end of the final number the audience was on its feet again, clapping along, screaming like crazy.  I realized at that moment I was seeing Madonna in her prime or The Beatles or Michael Jackson.  Radcliffe’s success is a bit like his character’s in How to Succeed: there’s a lot of luck involved.  But, he’s Harry Potter, now.  He got his icon status from J.K. Rowling not from his own talent (although he is talented). But, here he is.

No matter.  It was awesome.  We all saw Radcliffe/Harry Potter in a musical defeating all comers with pizazz.  And, me and the thirteen-year-old girls screamed with joy.

(My son? Not so much.)


I am…

Geoff Herbach. I am the author of Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, among a bunch of other stuff. When I'm not writing, I teach writing at Minnesota State, Mankato.

Stupid Fast

Nothing Special

I’m With Stupid

Fat Boy (Gabe Johnson Takes Over)

PowderKeg Stage

Herbach's favorite store

My Bizzle

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