Friday, October 14, 2011

Brotherhood of Man (Musical Review)

 The third musical I want to mention is one which might not be as familiar to most people as Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark is, but the main actor has been thrilling movie goers since 2001 when the first Harry Potter movie was released. As you might have already figured out, the actor I am talking about is Daniel Radcliffe and the musical I am talking about is How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying!

To fit with such a marvelous musical, the theatre was the lovely Al Hirschfeld Theatre. It was an older theatre which seemed to fit the time period of the musical. These New York musicals were good about that. None of the locations didn’t fit their accompanying musical. This theatre had lovely wood paneling which especially fit How to Succeed.

Our seats were wonderful, yet again. We had three balcony seats right in the front in row A. My own seat, lucky number 13a, was comfortable and I could see very well. My only own complain was the group of teenage girls behind us. True, I’m not complaining about having them there, but I could have done without them inhaling loudly when the top billing star appeared or when they stated singing “Brother hood of man”. I can tell you that their voices went up several octaves at numerous points during the performance, though for the most part they were reasonable.
This is actually the curtains for the show...Best Curtains EVER!
The Beginning’s Interesting Events
From the very beginning to the very end, you could tell who ran the show. Daniel Radcliffe didn’t just walk on stage like a normal actor, because frankly he is not so he couldn’t do anything normal. Now, the Al Hirschfeld theatre has this orquestra pit right between the stage and the audience. This is nothing very special, I mean three of the four musicals had a pit, but it was how it was used that was important. They had the conductor move to the left, so when the music began, who other than Daniel Radcliffe was hoisted up into the air. He was helped by (a broom! Sorry, had to say when talking about Harry Potter) some sort of pulley system, which reminded me of those old window washer hoisters which makes sense given that his character actually started out as a window washer. Another interesting fact about this beginning was that while Radcliffe was in the air, some sort of metal piece from the pulley fell off and nearly beaned the conductor in the head. Thankfully, he had not moved back to his original spot, so he was safe from being hit. For Raddcliffe and the conductor’s credit, they never seemed to react to what had just happened, though Radcliffe you could tell had seen it fall.

Daniel Radcliffe and J. Pierrepont Finch
Daniel Radcliffe is the icon of this decade. Anyone who doesn’t know who Daniel Radcliffe is, then they know who Harry Potter is. I’m sure he won this role because of his popularity and fame, but he actually proved himself to be something more than a wizard with a scar; he proved to be an actor who can fit in any role he wants to play and do a good job too. He surprisingly has a great singing voice and his performance was not to be missed. It was cool that I was in the same room as him! I expected the British accent we normally hear from him, but in this role, his voice was almost normal. Throughout the performance, when his character had a break on his way to succeed in business, they would shine a spot light on his face and he would have this great big grin on his face. It was so COOL!

John Laraquette
I feel uncomfortable talking all about Daniel Radcliffe especially with all the great talent which was put into this production! One such talent which also shown bright to me was John Laraquette, who played J. B. Biggley (the president of the company Finch is employed at). I’ll be honest didn’t know him before this production. The older people around me knew him from a show called Night Court, which I have never seen, but if John was in it, I would say it was good. He had some great facial expressions. He didn’t even need to say a word to get the audience to roar with laughter. All he had to do was to give us a look and we would break out laughing. I don’t know many people who have such a power, but John Laraquette sure does have it. He is just such a strong playful force! To tell how playful he seemed, at the end of the musical during the bows right before the final song, I saw him stick his tongue out. I don’t know who he was doing it to, but it was cool to see and sure brought a smile to MY face.

The Plot
Basically, Daniel Radcliffe’s character wants to do well in business and reads a book coincidentally called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. It was one of those self help books where if you follow all the steps given you will succeed in whatever the topic is or so you can be lead to believe. This is the story of a guy trying to move up in the world, but doing it very quickly!

The Songs
There are so many fun songs from this musical, such as “A secretary is not a toy” (where the employees drool over sectaries while reminding themselves what they’re not supposed to do…all the lyrics are actually appropriate!). I think the best song of the whole thing of course is "Brotherhood of Man", which I dedicated our title to…

The Set
 The set was wonderful! They had two different levels to it. The first and bottom level of the set was like any other stage. However, just above that were two balconies like place the actors could stand on. These two balconies could be extended almost across the entire upper part of the stage. There was also a scene where the characters were supposed to be in an elevator. When the character walked through the door way and the doors closed, this elevator box could be turned so we could see inside. Very cool set!

Afterward Memorable Moments
I want to also mention something that happened after we saw the musical, just to add to the magical night and week. You see, when we stepped out of the Al Hirschfeld theatre, it was raining. My parents huddled under one umbrella while I was under a blue cheep flimsy thing. Now, this might be a problem for some people, but this was New York City! And the side walk I was walking on was none other the side walks of Broadway! The place of magic and the place of magic! So, I sang “Singing in the Rain”, stepping through the puddles with an umbrella on Broadway! Granted I didn’t sing too loudly, but still it was very memorable!

It was such a great musical! Its one of those uplifting shows you just enjoy! Addams was odd, Spider-man was rocking, but this WAS a musical! It was just plane fun!

I once again point out I don’t own this musical nor do I claim to represent the owners of the rights of this musical, though I wish I did! The following clip was from the Tony Awards, introduced by two former J. J. Pierrepont Finches (Robert Morse and Matthew Broderick):

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