How Does New How to Succeed… Star Nick Jonas Stack Up to Predecessor Daniel Radcliffe?

Even though Daniel Radcliffe by no means originated the lead role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – the musical’s been around since 1961 — for us he’s the face of the Broadway show. And now he’s stepping down, to be replaced by Nick Jonas. We’re so attached to Daniel’s take on J. Pierrepont Finch, we’re not sure we can welcome a newbie, even one with Nick’s impressive theater pedigree. So, let’s compare these leading men.

Stage Time

How to Succeed… was only Daniel’s second show, after a pretty successful (and naked) run in the dark drama Equus.

No nudity for Nick, but he definitely has the more impressive musical theater resume: He played Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol and Chip in Beauty and the Beast when he was a youngster; he starred in Les Miserables twice, in 2003 and 2008; and very recently, he played Link in a Hairspray revival.


You can clearly see how excited Daniel is to be in the role, from his breathless performance at the Tony Awards to every time he was snapped on the red carpet or at the stagedoor grinning.

Nick has always seemed like the most reserved Jonas Brother: Kevin is portrayed as the goofy one, and Joe‘s the sexy one. Plus, the fact that he was known as the one with diabetes always made him seem more somber. As Daniel said in a 2010 interview, the character of J. Pierrepont Finch is usually played by an actor in his 30s; when you bring in a younger star, “you attribute [to it] youthful chutzpah.” Better work on that smile, Nick!

Dance Skills

Daniel trained nine hours a week starting in November 2010 for the show’s March 2011 opening. At the time — when he had to dance with Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 – he told WENN, ”Emma is actually quite a good dancer, so it was for me to muddle through. I’m a crap dancer but next year on Broadway for How To Succeed in Business I hope to see a large improvement… Dancing is something I’ve never done before.”

To be fair, Nick also has the background on this: As with all boy bands, the JoBros obviously knew their dance skills. Consider the concert tours and the Disney tie-in shows/movies like JONAS and Camp Rock, and he’s pretty set.

So, we’ve gotta say — Nick is actually a pretty keen choice to take over the role. As long as he can show the same exuberance, we’re behind him.

But you know who else is (very briefly) taking the lead role? Glee‘s Darren Criss, who’ll play J. Pierrepont Finch for three weeks after Daniel’s run is over and before Nick takes the stage for his six-month gig. So if Darren’s your favorite, you can always see the show during that time and ignore the Daniel/Nick dilemma.

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    • Gamgee

      I would love to see Darren Criss in How To Succeed! Although I would love to see Daniel Radcliffe, too. Two Harry Potters! This hypothetical situation is difficult.

    • judy semas

      Nick was amazing in Hairspray. His Link Larkin was so hot he displaced Zac Efron in the role. I have no doubt he’ll be equally amazing as J. Pierrepont Finch and make everyone forget all about Daniel Radcliffe as anyone but Harry Potter. In Hairspray, Nick stole the show. He’s a triple threat: a star at singing, acting, and (he proved) dancing…plus he had only 2 weeks’ worth of rehearsals.

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