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Daniel Radcliffe’s West End Success Arrives on Broadway

High Life
Daniel Radcliffe’s West End Success Arrives on Broadway

Daniel Radcliffe, the child star who won over a generation playing the titular role in the Harry Potter film franchise has, in recent years, initiated a smooth transition into esteemed adult actor. With over $80,000,000 in personal profit generated from his decade long stint as the famous boy wizard, the star’s financial stability has granted him the freedom to work a new kind of magic: leaving his child-actor reputation behind. Radcliffe’s departure from Potter in 2011 has seen him take on more mature film roles such as Allen Ginsberg in 2013’s R-rated independent thriller Kill Your Darlings, and a young version of Mad Men star, Jon Hamm in the currently airing skyTV series, A Young Doctor’s Notebook.

Radcliffe as a young John Hamm

In addition to the five films and regular television appearances filmed since Radcliffe wrapped the final installment of Harry Potter, the 24-year-old has also worked tirelessly to develop a promising career in the theatre after making splashes with his stage debut in Equus in 2007. Most recently, Radcliffe has earned outstanding reviews as the star of the London West End production of The Cripple of Inishmaan, which, following a limited run at the Noel Coward Theatre in the summer of 2013, was in January confirmed to makes its debut on Broadway at the end of this month. Based on the show’s success in Britain, it’s safe to say that despite the title, Cripple will be bounding full speed onto the New York theatre scene next week.

Transfer to Broadway  

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Radcliffe is no doubt pleased to revisit the play, since it struck a particular chord with the actor as he worked with the director, Michael Grandage, to choose the right script for his return to the West End and now to Broadway. Cripple follows the struggle of a young Irish man, Billy, with a physical disability who dreams of abandoning his life on the forsaken island of Inishmaan to pursue an acting career. The trajectory of Radcliffe’s story may appear opposite to Billy’s; Radcliffe booked his first film role in David Copperfield before his 10th birthday, with the Potter madness soon to follow, and is currently worth an estimated $86,000,000 as profiled elsewhere on The Richest, and has been heralded as one of the top 10 highest earning British actors. However, the celebrity struck common ground with the character in their respective needs to prove themselves beyond their community’s (and in Radcliffe’s case, the world’s) preconceived ideas of their abilities.

Escaping Harry Potter

Radcliffe in 'Equus'

“There is still in many, many people’s minds the notion that I’ll never be able to escape Harry Potter,” the actor told Tim Lewis of The Observer shortly before The Cripple of Inishmaan premiered at the Noel Coward on June 8th of last year. “So my drive is to prove to people that I’m not a one-trick pony, basically.” The wildly positive reception of his performance in Grandage’s production ensures he’s well on his way to proving his versatility and staying power as an adult actor. Playing Billy is certainly another well-chosen gilded step for Radcliffe on his journey to mature and sought-after adult actor – The Cripple of Inishmaan was one of the best connected productions on the London theatre circuit this past year, and Radcliffe was only one of many big names associated with what is bound to be a Broadway hit.

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Martin McDonagh

Playing Billy is certainly another well-chosen gilded step for Radcliffe on his journey to mature and sought-after adult actor – The Cripple of Inishmaan was one of the best connected productions on the London theatre circuit this past year, and Radcliffe was only one of many big names associated with what is bound to be a Broadway hit. The script was provided by Irish writer and director Martin McDonagh, who is perhaps best known for his feature films, In Bruges and last fall’s Seven Psychopaths, both featuring Colin Ferrill. 2013’s London production of McDonagh’s dark stage comedy marked the play’s West End debut, and was the third of five plays in the premier season of acclaimed British director Michael Grandage’s own company, formed in 2011 after the end of the Tony, Olivier, Evening Standard, Critic’s Circle, and South Bank Award winner’s decade long tenure as Artistic Director of Covent Garden’s Donmar Warehouse.

Michael Grandage

Michael Grandag

Despite the success of Grandage’s five show season as a whole, only The Cripple of Inishmaan is set to appear in New York at present, and began previews this week at the Cort Theatre, and will officially open on April 20th. The premier is dated strategically just before the eligibility cut-off for the Tony Awards, and if the London reviews are anything to go by, the production stands a solid chance at some nominations. The Guardian’s Michael Billington gave Radcliffe and Grandage’s team-up four out of five stars, commending Radcliffe as “a fine stage actor” and gifted with the ability to seem “artful and vulnerable at the same time,” and praised “Grandage’s strong production” as a whole. Kevin Walker of The Telegraph went further, awarding the play a complete five star rating, praising Radcliffe’s “stupendous performance,” and dubbing the production “theatre with a living, breathing heart.”

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The play’s heart is certain to beat just as hard in New York, as Radcliffe returns home (British-born, the actor relocated to New York following the conclusion of the Harry Potter films, and owns a $4,000.000 property in the city), and brings the entirety of the original cast and production team along with him. The show, which generated millions of British pounds in ticket revenue during its 12 week run at the Noel Coward, is bound to see commercial success in New York this spring, particularly considering the well-deserved hype built with the West End production as the play transfers. And though McDonagh’s script for The Cripple of Inishmaan will be new to Broadway, neither Radcliffe nor Grandage are no strangers to the scene. Radcliffe was last featured in the 2011 Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Al Hirschfield Theatre, adding singing and dancing skills to his ever-expanding resume, while Grandage has seen success with several transfers of plays from the Donmar Warehouse, including Red, for which the Inishmaan director won a Tony.

Future Projects

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Still, Radcliffe’s drive marches him ever forward. Inishmaan may be taking off, but it’s hardly his only project on the circuit at present. Kill Your Darlings, the 2013 indie film in which Radcliffe starred as Allen Ginsberg alongside former Dexter leading man Michael C. Hall and recent breakout star, Dane Dehaaan, will be released in the UK, keeping Radcliffe on international charts. Meanwhile, his films Horns, The F Word and Frankenstein will soon hit theatres and the customary press junkets will ensue, plus shortly after the announcement of his upcoming Broadway appearance, Radcliffe was confirmed to play Brooklyn Bridge engineer Washington Roebling in a feature film directed by Douglas McGrath slated for release in 2016. As Radcliffe returns to the screen, his Cripple of Inishmaan director will try his hand at film work for the first time; Grandage will soon direct the independent film Genius, starring Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender. Trailing bucket-loads of success behind them, and with such hypable projects lined up, the actor and director are inarguably forces to be reckoned with on their own, and their collaboration is sure to live up to its West End reputation and take Broadway by storm.

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