Cursed Child Soundtrack — On Vinyl?

We’ve been discussing all the products that the Wizarding World franchise has been putting out of late. It’s something like the order of the day as we await the rollout of the WizardingWorld.com website that has swallowed PotterMore and will charge a subscription fee for access to Gold Status members’ material. See ‘The Problem with Monetizing Harry Potter.’

Yesterday I learned that the ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ stage production company has produced a soundtrack album. And I mean ‘album.’ It’s a pair of long playing 33 1/3 vinyl records that comes in a real record-album. Check out the article on TheaterMania.com.

I love analog recordings. I have a collection my wife is currently cataloging that covers 47 shelves in our bookcases and we guesstimate includes more than 7,000 records, 33 1/3, 45, and 78s. All of it classical and opera except for the 78s. I have more records than books, and, frankly, that’s saying something. [If you want this library, all Near Mint or better, make an offer!] The resurgence of LPs, consequently, is something of a thrill to me.

But why would Rowling, Inc., decide that vinyl was the way to go for their Cursed Child soundtrack? LPs make up an increasing percentage of music sales every year; some estimate it is more than 10% of dollars paid for recorded music. Has it become such a big deal, though, that the Potter marketers decided it was worth the risk of a fail? Or does this medium mean maximizing profits on gift-purchases especially in theaters? Very few presents are as fun to hold and look over again and again as a new record album.

I have read plenty of reviews of this play-as-staged and been part of podcast discussions with Potter Pundits who are Broadway zealots and attended the productions in London and New York. Not once has anyone I can remember mentioned the music. And yet now we have a soundtrack of just that. Who has been asking for this? Is it just fodder for collectors and souvenir Nifflers? 

Let me know what you think. I’m still scratching my head over this news.

Cursed Child and HogwartsProfessor Fan Fiction post Deathly Hallows

I have worked the same Muggle job in Oklahoma City since 2011. One of my fellow ‘Team Members’ who has been with me all this time there recently traveled to New York City to watch ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ on Broadway. He reminded me yesterday that he was the first to tell me the play’s title when it was announced and that it would feature Albus Severus Potter and Scorpio Malfoy. He said he was astonished that my response was to tell him that, “Of course they’ll be friends and be sorted into Slytherin House together; the boy’s initials are A. S. P.” I told him, in what seemed to him a fit of clairvoyance, that their unlikely friendship would begin on the Hogwarts Express and finally resolve the Gryffindor-Slytherin divide.

I had forgotten all this but it does sound like what I might have said. The only piece of fan fiction to ever be published at HogwartsProfessor.com was in the frenetic months post publication of Deathly Hallows. From Helen, 9 November 2007:

Please excuse me for inflicting a spot of fan fiction on this illustrious thread, but… I wrote this snippet very shortly after I read DH (and yes, before I heard John speak at Biola). I think John must have trained me to notice the right things…. 🙂

****************
The hat settled softly over the boy’s head, completely hiding his green eyes. The bridge of his nose tickled where the brim rested.

“Hmmm… So you’re the younger one. I remember all of you, of course. You’re quite like your father and your brother. What shall be done with you?

“You’re bright enough to go in Ravenclaw, but I think I won’t put you there. Learning isn’t your first passion.

“A strong sense of loyalty and fair play here… ah, that’s why you were afraid of where I might put you, isn’t it? You don’t like underhandedness and double dealing. Well, there’s very little of that in Hufflepuff. But somehow I don’t think your gifts would be best employed among the badgers.”

The boy thought, “Gifts?”

“Yes, child, you have many. You’re brave as any Gryffindor, certainly, but I believe your greatest gift is the one your grandmother had: to see the good in your friends, so that they can become what you see. Are you brave enough to let me put you where your gift is needed most?”

A tiny nod from the boy under the hat.

“Well then, remember that there’s nothing wrong with ambition if you choose your means and your goals rightly, and go help remake your namesake’s House. Go to SLYTHERIN!”

Albus Severus Potter scrambled down from the high wooden stool and went over to sit at his new House table, next to an obviously gobsmacked Scorpius Malfoy.

“Your father’s going to go off like a Blast-ended Skrewt when he finds out where you got Sorted, Potter!”

“Nah, Dad’ll be all right. He named me after Headmaster Snape, didn’t he? Hey, maybe I was supposed to be here in Slytherin! Do you know what my initials spell?”
***************************
We now return you to more edifying reflections.

This story has expanded from Helen’s original to include a first meeting on the train, in which Scorpius and Albus compare their different but comparable family miseries in a shadow of Harry and Ron’s first conversation. Rose Weasley, sorted after both Malfoy and Potter, chooses Slytherin House as Harry chose Gryffindor during their Sorting Hat experiences.

Could this have inspired the ‘Cursed Child’ script writing trio? Sure. But I guess it’s a fairly well choreographed next step from Harry’s conversation with Albus on the Hogwarts Express platform and one too many other fan fiction writers must have followed to claim any originality. Wasn’t one of the chief complaints about Cursed Child that it reads like fan fiction? Isn’t it still?

 

 

Theatrical Decor for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: An Augery’s Nest of Easter Eggs.

I thought it was curious that the instructions for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child specified that audience members should show up a full hour before curtain time. I even wondered if this was a plot to sell you extra butterbeer, chocolate frogs and T-shirts prior to the show. While there were certainly snacks and souvenirs for sale, as there are for all Broadway productions, there was actually plenty to see and do in the lobby area, that made the hour pass quite enjoyably.

The Lyric Theatre spent over 30 million dollars renovating the theater to host this production, so they clearly expect it to be around for a while. They spared no expense or lack of detail, inside or out. Projects ranged from huge (e.g. the black wing that extended from the entrance all the way down the block, with the augurey nest perched on a distant building) to more subtle (the winged sconces that held the outdoor lanterns) but they all added up to a treasure trove of artistry to delight the serious fan. You might even call it an Augurey’s nest of Easter Eggs.   Find out more after the jump!  Spoilers, ho! [Read more…]

Louise’s Post-Cursed Child Review: Stage Spectacle Out-Shines the Script

Yesterday was it: a day of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, with Part 1 at 2 PM and Part 2 at 7:30. I had been eagerly anticipating this experience since the release of the published script almost 3 years ago. In general, I would say that the show fully met my expectations:  the parts I enjoyed from the script were great on stage, and the parts that made me roll my eyes at the script–I’m looking at you, bed-wetting scene, and tearful conversations with Dumbledore’s portrait— did the same thing on stage.  But, the part of the theatrical experience you can’t get from reading–the staging, the sets, the special effects–were amazing, as has been reported by theater-goers since the London premiere. That, as expected, turned the experience into something well worth the price.

More to come:  but, be forewarned.  Despite the neat #keepthesecrets button they gave me, having already read, discussed, blogged and podcasted about the script extensively, I will be discussing many show spoilers.  Please do not read beyond the jump if you do not want to know the Cursed Secrets. [Read more…]

Louise’s Pre-Cursed Child Post: Anticipation, Head-scratching, and Curry.

It’s Cursed Child Eve for this Hogpro faculty member, as, almost exactly a year after I snagged tickets to the Broadway production, I caught the train to NYC from Charlottesville for the big show. I opted for the one day version, so Parts I and 2 are both tomorrow. A long day of theater-going, to be sure!

Headmaster John asked me to write up both pre- and post-performance productions. Confession time… while I read the script through twice when it was published in July 2016, I intentionally have not picked it up since, knowing that I would someday see the play and wanting as fresh a take as possible.  In a perfect world, I would have seen the play before reading the script, but, I couldn’t wait three years. Thus, while John insists he would have read the play multiple times in the weeks before the show, so as to best be on alert for any changes, I took the opposite approach.

I did, however, re-read the previous posts I had written about the script (here, here and here), as well as listen to the MuggleNet Academia episode I recorded on the topic. Another must-read was Elizabeth Baird-Hardy’s brilliant essay of the Oedipal connections to the script.  So, if you want to know my thoughts on the script itself prior to the show, you can go there. 

In the absence of fresh script thoughts, I will share a bit of my Cursed Child Eve festivities in the Big Apple. We arrived in mid-afternoon, just in time to check out our decidedly “cozy” hotel and do a little sight-seeing. After a stroll by the Empire State Building, we visited the NYC Public Library, which turned out to be a great place for getting into the Potter spirit. Not only are there awesome lions– that’s the very Gryffindorly-named Fortitude, above– there was an entire display of Harry Potter material in the library gift shop, including, of course, the Cursed Child script. 

Then, we walked over to the Lyric Theater itself, where the show will start at 1 PM tomorrow.  The gift shop there was open as well, and my husband requested I visit today, before I got overly intoxicated by either the production itself or the drink to which our Headmaster has promised to treat me. As it turned out, his fears that I would go crazy in that retail establishment were groundless.  I noticed on the picture of the house banners outside the theater that a couple of the House color schemes were off. Gryffindor and Slytherin were OK, but Hufflepuff was a light gold, almost beige, paired with a muddy brown. rather than the yellow and black of the series. Ravenclaw, already corrupted from the books’ blue-and-bronze to the blue-and-grey of the movie merchandise, was even worse: a royal blue paired with a sky blue. (Bleah!) As you can see in the photo, the faulty color scheme was repeated in the t-shirts, ties and scarves sold in the theater souvenir shop. This pretty much kills any chance I will add to my Ravenclaw swag collection here.  

On top of that, a lot of the key-chains, pens, etc. carried the slogan “The 8th Story, 19 Years Later.”  If you perused the posts and podcasts, you know I think it was a mistake to marked this as the “8th book” in the series, since it clearly is not. The opening dialogue on Platform 9 3/4 does not match either the book’s or the film’s; where Harry is clearly shown to have a loving relationship with Albus Severus and be OK with him being a Slytherin. That fundamental precept must be changed if the Cursed Child storyline is going to exist. For that reason, I belong to the camp that rejects the play as canon, and considers it a fan-fiction adjunct, albeit the best type, the kind that gets the approval of the Author Herself. So, while I am greatly looking forward to the theatrical spectacle tomorrow, I think I will let my “Best Play” flyer, above, be my only souvenir. Unless that promised drink comes in a keepsake goblet or cauldron….

The final fun bit?  Our hotel is located directly over this awesome little take-out curry place, where we ate a delicious dinner after our touristing. It was enough to help me imagine being in London with Cormoran, Robin, Nick and Ilsa.

Back tomorrow with a review of the play itself!