Radcliffe, Hyde Pierce, Opel, Urie and More Sing How to Succeed in NYC Presentation

By Kenneth Jones
and Adam Hetrick
December 24, 2009

A new revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying would seem to be a step closer to Broadway with a recent private Manhattan reading that featured Daniel Radcliffe as J.P. Finch.



Tony Award winner Rob Ashford directed the Dec. 21 presentation of the Frank Loesser-Abe Burrows-Jack Weinstock-Willie Gilbert musical from 1961. Director-choreographer Ashford won the Tony for his choreography to Thoroughly Modern Millie and was acclaimed for directing Parade and A Streetcar Named Desire in London.

The reading cast was headlined by "Harry Potter" and Equus star Radcliffe as the charming innocent Finch, who goes from window washer to corporate star with the help of the how-to book of the title; the musical satire won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce (Curtains) played the boss, Biggley. The reading principals also included Mary Faber as Smitty, Nancy Opel as Miss Jones, Rose Sezniak as Rosemary, Lewis Stadlen as Twimble, Don Stephenson as Mr. Bratt, Michael Urie as Frump and Renee Goldsberry as Hedy La Rue.

This casting does not necessarily reflect future casting. Indeed, there has been no official announcement about a coming production, though Variety previously reported that the producing partners exploring the material include Broadway Across America, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

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Des McAnuff, who staged the short-lived 2009 revival of Loesser's Guys and Dolls, directed the only Broadway revival of How to Succeed…, which was seen in 1995 starring Tony winner Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullally. The show went on to welcome Sarah Jessica Parker and John Stamos.

How to Succeed… features a score by Loesser. The original 1961 production earned seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Author and Best Score, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Robert Morse earned a Tony Award for his performance as J. Pierrepont Finch.

The score includes "I Believe in You," "Brotherhood of Man," "The Company Way," "Coffee Break," "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm," "Been a Long Day," "Rosemary," "A Secretary Is Not a Toy," "How to Succeed" and more.