A week long anticipation of seeing Daniel Radcliffe had finally arrived. As I entered the Broadhurst Theater, I reveled in the building excitement of watching Daniel perform before my very eyes. Unlike watching Daniel’s performance on television or in the movies, this would be a live, in the flesh, once in a lifetime debut. As an adoring fan sitting in this theater, I have an opportunity that few people get to experience; the chance to be up close and personal with the Daniel Radcliffe. While the only dividing factor was the stage, I can claim that I breathed in the same air as Daniel and I would have the ticket stub to prove it. Keenly my senses become aware to every surrounding detail. After soaking in the minimalistic scenery and the various lighting, I was mildly composed. Ironically, the first opening scene was at the office of a psychiatrist, which momentarily subdued my exterior composure. However on the interior, I was bouncing out of my seat. The show commenced when Richard Griffiths took to the stage. Instinctively, I drew my hands to clap, but quickly noticed no one else had done so. As a young enthusiast, I did not think much of it and focused my gaze on Daniel Radcliffe stepping onto the stage. I could not believe how small he was, but then again, I was sitting in the nosebleed section. As the play went on, I began to see Daniel in a new light; he was not the young Harry Potter film character I grew to know. Instead, he was a mature 19 year old, who may share some of the same interests as I do. Throughout the play, Daniel did a great job staying in character; this was a hard task, because Richard was throwing out jokes from all directions. I have to admit, I had a hard time controlling myself. More than a few times, I found my mouth wide open, my hands pounding on the armrests, and the sides of my stomach aching because of the amount of laughing that was involved. The confidence in Daniel was clear throughout the play, especially during the scene where his character becomes nude. I certainly applaud Daniel for taking the initiative to step out of the cookie-cutter Harry Potter role and step into a more mature, serious acting role.
After exiting the theater doors, the blood returned to my comatose legs and my eyes adjusted to the new light; only to find myself sandwiched in a massive crowd of girls and oddly, one man. I mentioned to my classmates, Jenn, that we would not be able to see Daniel from this distance, but she managed to navigate us both through the pandemonium. By having the backstage tickets, we were able to slip through into a private section to see Daniel. This is when time stood still for me. Everything proceeding to this point, prepared me for my up close and personal encounter with Daniel. Out from the hoisters, cameras were in hand to flash at moment’s notice, playbills neatly folded to Daniel’s profile picture, and the wave of screams from adoring fans; everyone was ready to see Daniel Radcliffe. As part of a group we all were assigned a task to help capture this kodak moment. Jenn and Colleen were the paparazzi frontrunners and I followed up by recording the frenzied moment. There were bouts of screams when the side doors would sporadically open, but each time they were short lived. Finally, when Daniel’s bodyguard forewarned us about pushing and knocking over the railing, the doors opened one last time for his arrival. Standing before the crowd was Daniel, looking as normal as possible. I did not really concern myself with what he was wearing because I was more interested in getting his autograph. Screams of girls pierced my eardrums and I could hardly catch my breath as the air was being squeezed out me. Everyone wanted an autograph, and I was no exception. Once my classmates and I to got our playbills autographed, we were left star struck. It was so great of an experience that we momentarily lost track of the time and almost missed our bus. We managed to run from 44th street all the way to Porte Authority and have the chance to relish in our incredible encounter with everyone.
What theatrical elements combine to make a professional production in our nation’s theatre capital critically and/or commercially successful? Do you agree with the New York theatre critics’ picks for best plays, players, and playwrights of 2008? Throughout the fall semester we'll attend productions in New York City and share our critique of the newest musicals on the Great White Way, let you know what we think about Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe's performance in Equus, and explore the theatre behind-the scenes at Little Italy's San Gennaro Festival and the Lower East Side Tenement Musuem. We'll blog about our experiences with you here before you'll have the opportunity to read some of our more formal reviews in the Comenian. We look forward to your response to our critiques and hope that you'll join us in New York City this fall.