A few weeks ago, I had a video here of Daniel Radcliffe performing the song, "Brotherhood of Man" from the recent 2011 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on the Tony Awards. Despite the fact that this was always the number that the show seemed to perform on television, it was a special presentation because it was introduced by the start of the original production, Robert Morse, and the star of the 1995 revival, Matthew Broderick.
Before getting to Broadway, that 1995 revival originated at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. And I had driven down to see it. So, it was a pleasure to find a video of Broderick in the show. Alas, it's that same "Brotherhood of Man" number -- but at least you can compare them. Still, any video from that production is worth it.
(As it happens, I not only saw Broderick, but several years before -- maybe a decade or so? -- Robert Morse recreated his starring role in a touring revival of the Frank Loesser musical. And Rudy Vallee even recreated his role as J.B. Bigley, the owner of the World Wide Wickets Corporation. It was a joy, and both were wonderful.)
This was Broderick's first attempt at a musical -- later, of course, going on to The Producers -- and it was an ideal role for him. He was a little tentative with his singing in that pre-Broadway world premiere run, but still terrific in the show. And later won the Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical. And the show had a very successful run of over a year, 548 performances.
There was one odd thing I recall about the show -- and it's with this "Brotherhood of Man" production number. The scene takes place around the company's boardroom, yet for reasons I've never been able to explain, the 1995 version set it in the lobby. Why the executives and their secretaries and staff were all gathered in the lobby rather than the offices, I have no idea, nor why they thought that was better staging -- especially because it wasn't, it was just...well, odd.
But here's that number, which comes from the Tony Awards. And as you'll see, Matthew Broderick is very good. Though, as in all versions of this number, the character of Finch eventually moves over so that the gospel-singing secretary, Miss Jones (performed here by Lillias White) takes over. And you'll see because of the odd staging, rather than have a secretary there at her office, she's sort of stuck off to the side, waiting for her moment to chime in...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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