OH, sure, that's the face of J. Pierrepont Finch.
It's always sad when a star who has given a terrific Broadway
THE REPLACEMENT Nick Jonas, almost 19, will take over the lead role in "How to Succeed" in late January.
production its red-hot center leaves the show. So the news that the adorable and mega-talented DANIEL RADCLIFFE will depart "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" at the end of the year was cause for regret. But it was also expected. Big stars signing a one-year-or-so contract, then moving on, is standard operating procedure in the world of New York theater.
Happily, though, the actor found to replace him was an intriguing choice: DARREN CRISS, 24, who plays the wise, confident, musically talented, proudly gay high school student Blaine Anderson in "Glee," the television series that has given Broadway its biggest prime-time boost since "THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW" used to feature numbers from the latest shows on Sunday nights in the 1950s. Criss should be interesting.
Then the other shoe dropped. It seems Criss is staying only for three weeks. And when he leaves, the spritely but demanding lead role of Finch, an ambitious WINDOW WASHER who climbs the corporate ladder with nothing but chutzpah, high self-regard and a self-help book, will be played by Nick Jonas.
Nick Jonas is 19. Or at least he will be on Friday. He is part of the TEEN-SCREAM musical group the Jonas Brothers. His casting is sure to bring teenage girls into the audience. And that will keep the show going for a while. But at what a price!
There is some hopeful news. Jonas has, at least, been in a big Broadway musical before. In fact, he made his Broadway debut at age 8 as Little Jake in "ANNIE, GET YOUR GUN" (as Nicholas Jonas), then did stints in two long-running shows, as Chip in "Beauty and the Beast" and as Gavroche in "Les Miserables." He even appeared in "Les Miz" in London. So maybe he'll surprise us.
Meanwhile, the great "How to Succeed" supporting cast isn't going anywhere (as far as we know, so far). So audiences will still get an evening with John Larroquette, ROSE HEMINGWAY, Tammy Blanchard, Christopher J. Hanke and Mary Faber. And Rob Ashford's amazing choreography to Frank Loesser's incomparable songs. It's just too bad they'll have missed Harry Potter.
"How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, directed by Rob Ashford, Al Hirschfeld Theater, 302 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200, telecharge.com. Opening night: March 27, 2011.
WANT MORE THEATERGOSSIP? Scroll to read about Hugh Jackman's surefire fall hit on Broadway. Then search to read about Tracie Bennett, who will come to Broadway as Judy Garland this spring; John Larroquette, who'll stay in "How to Succeed"; Daniel Radcliffe, who won't; and other theater notables, including Geoffrey Rush, Colin Donnell, Laurie Metcalf, Julie Taymor and Edward Albee.