Conversation several weeks ago between me and m'best friend:
BFF: Do you work on your birthday?
Me: Hm? Yeah, usually. I mean I don't take off work specially on that day.
BFF: Do you think others do?
Me: ...are we talking about our trip? As in, certain people we would like to see doing their job while we're there?
Me: When's Dan Radcliffe's birthday, then?
BFF: Saturday the 23rd.
Me: Aha. Well, the man is supposed to be a conscientious entertainer. I read that he didn't do the "let the understudy do one of my shows in the last week" thing during Equus because he knew audiences were coming to see him and he felt his duty was to the audience, so the story goes.
BFF: So should we go on Saturday anyway?
Me: Let me make this observation: I don't think Radcliffe is the sort to say, "Hey, I think I'll skip out on the Broadway eight o' clock Saturday night audience because it's my birthday that day." I think that's a safer bet than the matinee show, anyway.
BFF: Good point. Get tickets.
So of course he was there! And I have great news: the man can act, can sing, can dance, and has great comic timing. I mean, I never expected him to perform La Traviata or be premier danseur in The Nutcracker, but he has a strong singing voice with a pleasant vibrato that sounds great in solo on a stage (do you know how hard that is? envy, I has it!), and he can handle fancy choreography in a complex number just fine, and he can flash a manic grin that has the house roaring. His physical comedy was just as hilarious.
The audience was his, too, that night. The sellout crowd was one collective entity of fangirl all through, eating up the show and eating up his performance. His role in HTSIBWRT is a minor departure from his expected "earnest young man," in that he isn't earnest at all but is still trying to look like an earnest young man. His character has to turn on the charm while staying just this side of smarm. He has to be likeable, and Radcliffe pulls it off. It was absolutely delightful; my warm fuzzy feeling for the guy just tripled.
Having seen the show I feel he's part of the reason John Laroquette got his Tony award. Not that Laroquette isn't a wonderful actor all by himself, but it's as if it's a side commemoration of Radcliffe's very pleasing star turn: Radcliffe's not experienced enough to earn himself a Tony but he was good enough to make the show and the consummate actor alongside him seem all the more deserving.
And the orchestra pit did play a lick of "Happy Birthday" when he came out for his bow, in case you were wondering.
We also saw Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, hoping it would be fun and knowing that even if it wasn't it would be an experience about which we would be able to say, "Oh yes, I saw that debacle." It wasn't a debacle at all; I loved it! There are some genuinely good things in it beyond just the spectacle of it all. Bono did a great job on the music; I bought the OCR and have been playing it nonstop. The actors were top-notch. Spectacle has to be given its due here, because the sets and effects and costumes are terrific and the flying effects thrill. Really, all that's lacking is the awkwardness of the narrative pieces, which is why it's going to continue to be sneered at by critics. There are too many moods trying to fit into this show. It really doesn't succeed at blending Nerdy High School Woes/Campy Mad Scientist Schtick/Greek Mythology/Supervillain Stand-Up Comedy/Young Romance Angst into one show, but that's a tall order for anyone. Ashman and Mencken managed to make one mood conquer with Little Shop of Horrors but they didn't try to wedge in Greek Mythology.
But yeah, the musical numbers gave me chills up my back at times, the Green Goblin's schtick is hilarious (the grand piano bit had me effin' crying), and the finale sets are gasp-worthy. Plus, "Bullying By Numbers" is so homoerotic, you'll moan.
Go see one. Go see the other. Go see both and have really weird dreams the next night.