Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe underwent two years of rigorous dance training for the Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Radcliffe, 21, has been a film star since age nine, and also performed on Broadway in the play Equus in 2007, but the intense vocal and dance training for How to Succeed in Business was unlike anything he had ever experienced.
“I have no doubt this will be the hardest I’ve ever worked in my entire life,” Daniel told Gotham. “I’ve been training really hard because I don’t want [director] Rob Ashford to feel like he has to censor himself for me. I want him to be able to treat me as much like a dancer as he can.”
Accordingly, Radcliffe underwent two years of vocal and dance training in London and NYC for the musical, which opened on Broadway March 27, 2011.
In the musical, Daniel is a true triple threat who sings, dances and acts as a J. Pierrepont Finch, a Manhattan window washer who becomes a corporate executive.
While Radcliffe has pushed boundaries before, like when he did a full-frontal nude scene for Equus on stage every night, the grueling dance training was physically and mentally exhausting.
“With the dance, particularly, there were some days when I was just so tired halfway through,” Daniel has said.
“There was one time when I was in my dance class and we were like two-and-a-quarter hours in and I just have 45 minutes left, and I was like, ‘How am I going to get through the last 45 minutes of this lesson.’ “
Amazingly, Radcliffe was so exhausted he fell asleep during a bathroom break!
“I actually went to the toilet, sat down on the toilet with the lid down, [set] my phone alarm for five minutes and just went to sleep for like five minutes, and I just woke up thinking, ‘Jesus, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to hack it if I can’t even get through a lesson’.”
Daniel, who’s wrapping shooting on the last installment of the Harry Potter saga, says he enjoys the anonymity of New York.
“There is something very special about being English in [New York City], because there’s a certain fascination with British culture,” he explains. “I don’t know what it is, but I feel a lot cooler here than I do in England.
“I’ve never felt better about myself as an actor than when I was on Broadway doing Equus, because I felt part of an artistic community.
And I’m not slagging off London, because I love it, but the interplay and the amount of socializing between the shows in New York—it’s just glorious and doesn’t happen in the West End as far as I can tell.”
The 5’5″ Radcliffe, who enjoys taking walks in the West Village and playing ping-pong in Battery Park, says being short helps him move about unrecognized.
“It’s quite good being this short; you just put your hood up and no one gives you a second glance really,” he says.