Muggles Rejoice: ‘Harry Potter And The Cursed Child’ Is Now On Broadway

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an original play by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne and J.K. Rowling.
Matthew Murphy/Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown

by Jeff Lunden, April 23, 2018, first appearing on Books : NPR

The most expensive play in Broadway history opened Sunday, April 22. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cost $33.5 million, runs five and a half hours long (in two parts), and has gotten rave reviews. But while it has plenty of special effects, it’s actually designed for audiences to use their imagination.

“You don’t need millions of dollars to stage a CGI-fest,” says actor Jamie Parker. He plays a grown-up Harry Potter in a story that picks up where the last novel left off, with Harry sending his son off to Hogwarts.

Producers aimed to seduce the audience into seeing what the director wanted them to see, so suitcases become seats on the Hogwarts Express, and a young actor becomes an adult with the help of Polyjuice Potion and a big cloak. Many of the tricks are simple stage illusions, or “rough magic,” as director John Tiffany calls them.

Harry’s son, Albus (Sam Clemmett, left), befriends Scorpius Malfoy (Anthony Boyle) on the Hogwarts Express
Matthew Murphy/Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown

“I could just smell the fact that cloaks and suitcases were going to tell our story beautifully,” Tiffany says. “And I loved the idea that we were doing things that kids could also do at home when they do their version of the story.”

Jack Thorne, who wrote the play, is thrilled by this approach.

He says, “My favorite moment in the play has no dialogue in it, sadly. And it’s a staircase dance, and you just see two boys and two staircases, and the staircases are openly being pushed around by members of the company. Everyone can see what’s happening onstage, there’s no pretense about it. And you see the staircases and the boys interact in an emotionally significant way that tells the story of what’s happening to these kids.”

Cursed Child is an original play, not a stage adaptation. (Author J.K. Rowling consistently rejected overtures to adapt her novels.) “She decided that this should be called the eighth ‘story,’ ” Tiffany says, “and that it should be classed as canon and in some ways this would be her last word on Harry Potter as a character.”

Jamie Parker plays Harry Potter, and Poppy Miller plays his wife, Ginny, in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Manuel Harlan/Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Tiffany, Thorne and Rowling collaborated on the story, which the producers have gone to great lengths to protect. They won’t release any scenes to the media, and audiences are given buttons that say #KeeptheSecrets. (Actor Jamie Parker had to sign a nondisclosure agreement when he got hired to do a reading.) But the script is available in bookstores and, at this point, pretty much anyone who cares knows what the play is about.

Tiffany says it’s as epic as the books, and insists he never worried it couldn’t be staged. “I absolutely believe and know that theater can do anything. If you harness the audience, and if you ask just enough of them, and if they’re willing to come with you, then they will make believe that anything is happening.”

As for the producers, they believed Harry Potter’s immense popularity would bring in new theater audiences. Producer Sonia Friedman says, “In our first couple of years in London, over 60 percent of our audience [were] first-time theatergoers.”

That sounds a lot like 9-year-old Domenic Simionetti, who attended a recent matinee (his first play) with his mom. He wore a cloak, just like Harry Potter.

“I saw the special effects and I thought they looked really cool,” he said, “because I’ve never seen special effects like that, only in movies.”

Tom Cole edited this story for broadcast. Nicole Cohen adapted it for the Web.

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Notable Returns, from Harry Potter to J.R.R. Tolkien

BY , APRIL 11, 2018, FIRST APPEARING IN Library Journal

Brian Selznick has created the 20th anniversary covers for the Harry Potter books. They are available starting June 26. USA Today reports “When placed side-by-side chronologically, the seven books create a single image that tells Harry’s story, from his arrival at No. 4 Privet Drive to the final Battle of Hogwarts.” A box set of all the books will issue in September.

 

A new book by J.R.R. Tolkien will publish in late August. Entertainment Weekly reports that The Fall of Gondolin, previously unpublished, furthers the stories of Middle Earth. It is edited by Christopher Tolkien and illustrated by Alan Lee. It is currently soaring on Amazon.

14 Favorite Book Sidekicks to Celebrate on Dr. Watson’s Birthday

Goodreads Blog: Posted by Hayley Igarashi on July 07, 2017

BudsToday is the birthday of one of literature’s most beloved and long-suffering sidekicks, Dr. John Watson. A war veteran as well as an accomplished writer and detective, Watson gives Sherlock Holmes much-needed backup and friendship, all while enduring less-than-complimentary observations about his character. “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson,” Sherlock says at one point. “It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”

To celebrate the good doctor’s birthday, [goodreads.com] asked you on Facebook and Twitter to share your favorite book sidekicks. Check out some of the most popular answers below and add your own in the comments!

Sherlock1. Dr. John Watson
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books and stories

Sherlock’s friend, roommate, biographer, crime-solving partner and on-hand physician

 

Harry Potter2. Ron and Hermione
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books

Harry’s fellow Gryffindors, friends, partners in managing mischief, frequent rescuers (especially Hermione) and family

Click here for the rest of the list…

Happy Birthday Harry!

Harry Potter turns 36 today!

Takes me back

“The Boy Who Lived” (a.k.a. “the boy that got an entire generation of people excited about reading” – 400 MILLION COPIES SOLD) was born July, 31 1980 in the fictional world that inhabits the mind of series creator J.K. Rowling (who coincidentally also happens to have a birthday today).

If you are a fan of the series you might be saying, ‘But wait, the first book came out in ’97 and he turned 11 at the beginning of it so shouldn’t he be…’ You can stop doing the math – no, seriously, stop. I can feel you trying to work it out. It’s giving me goosebumps. Just trust me on this – J.K. Rowling herself has confirmed his birth year as 1980.

 

Crazy rich

While were at it, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JK Rowling!

If you are feeling all nostalgic now, overwhelmed by the desire to dive back into the world of wizards and quidditch and death eaters and so on, then might I suggest you stop by the Moline Library and check out your favorite Potter book today. Or, if you have been there and done that, but still want some exciting wizard action you could stop by our sci-fi/fantasy section and see what else you can find. The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, starting with the book Storm Front, is about a wizard living in Chicago. Or, if you prefer your magic to come with a British accent, you could take a look at the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka -it’s set in modern-day London and starts with the book Fated. Or anything else you’d like – there is plenty of magic to go around at the library.