Hairy Botter: Naked on Broadway

Little Daniel Radcliffe grew up before our eyes in the Harry Potter movies. Earlier this year, he did his utmost to break away from the “boy wizard” image by starring in a London production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus.

The headline grabber was that the play _ about a mentally disturbed young man who injures a stable full of horses _ requires its star to go starkers.

Now the news is that 18-year-old Radcliffe and the production, which also stars Richard Griffiths (Tony Award-winner for The History Boys), is coming to Broadway.

In an interview with the AP’s Christy Lemire, Radcliffe joked about being naked on a cold stage. Here’s the exchange:

AP: Is it cold on that stage?

Radcliffe: (Smiles) Yes, it’s very well air-conditioned.

AP: There’s shrinkage?

Radcliffe: (Smiles again) There is an element of retraction, certainly.

On the subject of the media frenzy over Radcliffe’s nudity, Radcliffe addressed all the puns involved:

Radcliffe: I could write so many good puns, I’m sorry. They’ve used “Hairy Botter” about five or six times now.

AP: And then there are the obligatory wand puns, of course.

Radcliffe: The wand puns, yeah, you can have lots of fun with them.

Word is that Radcliffe will make the sixth Potter movie next year, and Broadway will follow. Lemire asked the young actor (who appears in a non-Potter movie this fall, December Boys) about the whole Potter phenomenon.

AP: Do you think you understand the insanity of the Harry Potter phenomenon any better today than you did at the beginning?

Radcliffe: Not at all. I think it’s almost impossible to fully comprehend. When you’re in the middle of something, you can’t see how far it stretches. And that’s sort of my position on it. I met someone the other day who said, “You’re really big in Kuwait.”

Proving that he’s serious about breaking the Potter mold, Radcliffe appeared in the last season of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s brilliant comedy “Extras.” He made fun of the whole Potter thing and was hilarious.

Here’s a lengthy clip from that episode. The scene on the food bus is priceless.

Mamma Meryl and more!

So many interesting tidbits floating around the theater world this week.

First off, they’re actually going to make a movie of Mamma Mia!, which seems logical because the show has made a gazillion dollars around the world and shows no signs of slowing down. And who doesn’t want to rock around the movie theater to groovy ABBA tunes. But has anyone considered that the show, enjoyable as it is, might be a tad, I don’t know, slight?

And Meryl Streep is set to star as the owner of an inn on a Greek island whose past — in the form of her soon-to-be-wed daughter and three men who may be the daughter’s father. Streep and slight don’t mix.

I’m not complaining. I’m a big fan of Ms. Streep’s singing, so bring on Meryl Streep, dancing queen. One of her co-stars, by the way, is Pierce Brosnan.

In other news, 17-year-old Daniel Radcliffe has apparently successfully broken out of his Harry Potter bondage. The enterprising actor, who has grown up as the lead in the Harry Potter movies, proved that he has more than a wand to offer the world when he took to the London stage in Peter Shaffer’s Equus.

Amid all the kerfuffle about Radcliffe’s lengthy nude scene, news of his being a remarkably good actor has sort of gotten lost. But we may get to judge for ourselves. There’s all sorts of buzz out there about the production, which also stars Richard Griffiths (muggle Uncle Vernon in the Potter movies) and Jenny Agutter (who was also in the 1977 Equus movie), coming to Broadway in 2008.

Producer David Pugh told that he “hopes the show will reach Broadway next year.”

Musical sequels traditionally haven’t fared too well: Bring Back Birdie and Annie Warbucks, both flops, spring to mind.

Undaunted, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, writing on his blog (he has a blog? get out!), says: “I am considering writing a sequel to Phantom of the Opera based on an idea presented to me over a decade ago.”

Oh, joy. Let’s start preparing ourselves for more music of the night.

And finally, what would a theater news roundup be without mention of Xanadu: The Musical? Kerry Butler, the appealing actress who starred as Penny in Hairspray on Broadway and in the Magic Theatre’s musical version of The Opposite of Sex in San Francisco (pictured at left, Butler with David Burtka), will play Kira (the role played by Olivia Newton-John in the 1980 movie).

Xanadu begins previews in May and opens June 26.