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Entertainment

How to Succeed in Replacing Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway

Darren Criss and Nick Jonas to Take Over Leading Role Next Year


Succeed Daniel Radcliffe BroadwayLast spring, Broadway revived the classic musical comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with much success. The musical centers around J. Pierrepont Finch, a window washer who works his way up the corporate business ladder with the help of a book aptly called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Stars John Laroquette and Daniel Radcliffe have received much critical praise for their performances.

Although Radcliffe was overlooked for a Tony Award nomination (some even say snubbed), Laroquette was nominated and won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. However How to Succeed has to at least partly thank Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe’s fan base for the wonderful ticket sales.

With Radcliffe stepping down from the role of J. Pierrepont Finch on January 1, 2012, who has enough pull to keep the ticket sales up and attract the interest of a younger crowd? Why, none other than a “Glee” star and a Jonas Brother, of course.

“Glee’s” Darren Criss will first succeed Radcliffe and move his singing and dancing from screen to stage on January 3.

While this will be his Broadway debut, Criss isn’t a stranger to the stage. He has his own Chicagobased theatre company, Starkid Productions, which he started with his friends from college.

While the San Francisco native was enrolled in the University of Michigan’s theatre program, he first gained notoriety by writing the music for and starring in the Harry Potter parody, A Very Potter Musical.

He and his friends originally just put the musical up on YouTube to share with family and friends who didn’t see the show live, but it ended up going viral and getting quite a bit of attention. Even a sequel was made and a third installment is supposedly coming soon. It’s ironically fitting that one Harry Potter is replacing another.

However Criss is currently starring on “Glee” as gay teen Blaine Anderson (Criss has made it clear that he is straight in real life, hence flocks of adoring teenage girls), and this is obviously where he really attracted a lot of attention.

Criss fans seem to approve of this role. “I think he will be an excellent addition to the Broadway community! He was amazing and lovely in A Very Potter Musical and

I love his portrayal of Blaine on ‘Glee.’ I’m definitely asking for tickets for Christmas!” said sophomore Melissa Safchinsky.

As a full time cast member, Criss can’t miss too many episodes of the hit show, therefore his run as J. Pierrepont Finch will only be three weeks. Criss begins his run on January 3 and will finish on January 22. So what other actor is short with dark hair and loads of teenage girls who will come to drool over him? That would be Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.

Jonas isn’t making his Broadway debut though. His first Broadway appearance was in Annie Get Your Gun as Little Jake in 2001.

The following year Jonas appeared as Chip in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and in 2003 the youngest Jonas Brother appeared in Les Miserables as Young Gavroche. Then of c ourse the New Jersey native took a break from Broadway to put out a few albums, tour, film his own Disney Channel show, and make a couple of Disney Channel movies to become ev ery tween girl’s dream guy.

Going back to his Broadway roots isn’t exactly a move out of left field, however. Jonas appeared in a production of Les Miserables in London last summer, this time as Marius, a supporting role as opposed to the minor ones he had on Broadway.

In August, Jonas appeared in his first leading role in a production of Hairspray at the Hollywood Bowl as Link Larkin. (Somehow it doesn’t seem like playing a teen heartthrob was too hard for him).

On January 24, Nick Jonas will step into Finch’s shoes in How to Succeed and will stay in the role until July 1.

Nick Jonas’ fans have mixed opinions about the role. Ashley

Pacifico, a sophomore at the University and a Jonas fan, hopes that this will further Jonas’ career. “I think it’s going to be great to get to see him in a different element and away from the Disney persona. He is extremely talented, and sometimes I feel like he doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves because he’s has this stereotype as a ‘Disney Star.’ So hopefully this puts him in a better light where he can be respected by a wider audience,” Pacifico said.

Jenna Tshudy, also a sophomore and Jonas fan, is a little more apprehensive. “He hasn’t been a lead yet, and it’s also a very different kind of show from what he’s done. So it’ll be interesting,” Tshudy said.

The show itself doesn’t exactly sound like something teenage girls would be dying to see. Still, How to Succeed is actually a very funny and enjoyable show for people of all ages, even if the synopsis alone doesn’t exactly grab teenagers’ attention.

There probably aren’t a lot of teen girls who are excited to hear of a musical about a guy in the 1950’s breaking into and moving up in the corporate world, so grabbing their attention with Criss and Jonas is probably a smart business move.

How to Succeed will most likely continue to thrive on Broadway while filling seats with teenage girls for at least the first half of 2012.

How to Succeed is playing at the Al Hirschfield Theater.

PHOTO COURTESY of aceshowbiz.com

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