By Christine Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actor Daniel Radcliffe received a warm response from critics in reviews posted Monday for his Broadway musical debut, if not for his musical prowess, for his enthusiasm and eager manner evident on stage.
The 21 year-old British "Harry Potter" star chose a revival of the 1962 Pulitzer-Prize winning show "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" to make his musical Broadway debut in the central role of the fresh-faced but ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch climbing the corporate ladder.
The New York Times said "while Mr. Radcliffe is clearly not to the musical manner born, I would give him, oh, a 6 out of 10" who "hits his choreographic marks, speaks his lines quickly and distinctly (with a convincing American accent) and often sings on key."
The review continued "and because you so feel the effort and eagerness with which Mr. Radcliffe responds to that voice, you truly want him to succeed, just as you hope a favorite athlete or hip-hop artist will avoid elimination on "Dancing with the Stars."
Radcliffe made his Broadway debut as a psycho stable boy in the 2008 play, "Equus," but "How to Succeed," which runs at two and half hours, is his first Broadway musical and sees him hoisted into the air in a somersault sequence with the chorus.
"Daniel Radcliffe is so adorable in his Broadway musical debut, you just want to pinch his cheeks," said the New York Post, noting his "endearing amount of dedication and enthusiasm."
The Hollywood Reporter said while Radcliffe "doesn't quite pop as a musical theater performer, the 'Harry Potter' star does a capable job of singing and dancing in the revival."
USA Today said "it was fun to watch an actor, particularly a famous one, rise to an obvious challenge" and worked in "conscientious harmony" with his cast members.
Others were more critical of Radcliffe, who has had many obvious "Harry Potter" fans already flocking to see previews.
The Washington Post said while he was "winningly game and diligent," he was "out of his league" and the latest of many Hollywood stars to be miscast on Broadway, which looks to capitalize on big names to boost ticket sales.
(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte)