After making a bold Broadway debut in the powerful equine drama Equus and following up with a singing, dancing stint in the glossy 1960s musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, the always astonishing Daniel Radcliffe is back for round three on the Broadway stage — in something completely, totally different.
Radcliffe willreprise his role as Billy in playwright Martin McDonagh’s 1996 black comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan, which follows a disabled Irish boy (Radcliffe) who dreams of appearing in a documentary being filmed by a Hollywood crew on a nearby island (the real-life 1934 film Man of Aran). The can’t-miss production reunites the critically acclaimed cast who performed the show last year on London’s West End, as directed by Tony winner Michael Grandage.
“We were fortunate enough that we got a great reaction from London crowds, but I remember at the time really thinking, ‘God, this play, I really think it would go down so well in New York, and I really hope we get the chance to do it there,’” Radcliffe tells EW from the set of Frankenstein, which he’s shooting in England with James McAvoy. “And then it just didn’t look like it was going to happen, so when the opportunity came around again earlier this year, I just leapt at it. We had a great time doing it in London, and I’m pretty sure I can speak for everyone involved when I say that.”
Joining Radcliffe for the reprise adventure in New York are fellow castmates Ingrid Craigie, Padraic Delaney, Sarah Greene (newly nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance), Gillian Hanna, Gary Lilburn, Conor MacNeill, Pat Shortt, and June Watson. While most of the characters spend their time deriding Radcliffe’s hopelessly defensive Billy, everyone gets the chance to trade barbs, including the Cripple of Inishmaan himself. “So much of the humor is derived from the characters being incredibly cruel to each other, and yet it manages to have this incredible, tender heart,” says Radcliffe. It’s because of this surprising nature of McDonagh’s viciously funny and politically incorrect comedy that makes Radcliffe eager to see how American audiences will connect with the material as opposed to more “reserved” British crowds.
“New York audiences are always louder, and I mean that in the best possible way,” he laughs. “When somebody says something totally shocking and you hear that wonderful intake of shocked breath from the audience, I remember thinking how great that reaction would be in the States. And there are a couple of lines particularly that relate to America that I think would get a big response. It’s pretty exciting as an actor to get the audience to a point where they’re laughing, almost in spite of themselves.”
In anticipation of Radcliffe’s buzzy return to the stage, check out EW’s first look at a clip from the production. The scene below finds Billy being endlessly teased by his “friends” Helen and Bartley, who recount the story of Billy’s parents supposedly killing themselves because of their son’s disabilities:
The Cripple of Inishmaan begins previews April 12, with opening night set for April 20 at Broadway’s Cort Theatre (tickets at Telecharge.com).