On April 22, the eighth story in the Harry Potter saga debuted on Broadway after premiering in London’s West End in 2016.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two bowed at the completely re-engineered Lyric Theatre (courtesy of Tony-winning scenic designer Christine Jones) in a marathon of the two-part play for an audience that included wizarding world creator J.K. Rowling herself.
The story picks up 19 years after Harry and his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, leave Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and sees Harry and his wife Ginny Weasley and (now married) Ron and Hermione sending their children off to Hogwarts at Platform 9 3/4. While we were sure to #keepthesecrets of the production, Playbill spoke to the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to find out what has changed from the original U.K. production, how they crafted the key relationships in the show, balancing playing their character with making the technical magic happen, and what Hogwarts house they belong in.
The livestream kicked off with playwright Jack Thorne, the master behind this eighth part of the Harry Potter legacy. Throne is a self-proclaimed Harry Potter nerd and wanted to stay close to the original magic and bounds Rowling created. And his script has gone through changes since London.
“The fact that we've performed it for a year and then had another opportunity to rehearse it for another three months ... I think it’s much more nourished now,” says Paul Thornley, who plays Ron and transferred as part of the original London cast. “We know what works, we know what didn’t work quite so well. We just had this amazing opportunity to have another go and enrich it. It’s a heartier meal.”
Thornley transferred along with six of his U.K. co-stars including Jamie Parker as Harry Potter, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, Poppy Miller as Ginny Weasley, Alex Price as Draco Malfoy, Samuel Clemmett as Albus Severus Potter (Harry’s son), and Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy (Draco’s son).
The U.K. production earned nine Olivier Awards, including Best Actor for Parker, Best Actress for Dumezweni, and Best Supporting Actor for Boyle. “Physically it’s a lot slicker. It’s got real pace to it here in New York,” says Clemmett of the changes since London’s West End. “We’ve got a few rewrites here and there.”
“It feels more grounded,” added Boyle, who popped in to join Clemmett’s interview and fool around a bit with his onstage bestie.
And while the production feels solid, rehearsals were full of fun. Some of the play’s ensemblists revealed that each week there was a House Cup tournament based on the houses of the actors involved. Who won? Watch the livestream to find out.