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!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Cursed Child: Rowling Video Testimony

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on 25 November broke the Broadway record for biggest gross earnings in a week with $2.4 million taken in. The record the play broke was also held by Cursed Child in June of this year ($2.3 million). The interview highlights below, though filmed while Rowling was in New York to highlight the last Crimes of Grindelwald trailer’s release, was only published yesterday. It is, for the most part, pablum. You can read the transcript of the interview highlights here.

Rowling was much more forthcoming in an interview she did with her Cursed Child collaborators last year. You can read the transcript of her September 2017 interview here.

Having only read the play, I’m not a fan of Cursed Child — it’s hard to accept, frankly, that it is a Potter story over which Rowling exercised more than veto power — except for the fact that it is bringing non-theater goers into Broadway and London theater seats. Potter Pundits I admire who have seen the play, though, have important things to say about it, much of it in admiration; four of them chatted with Katy McDaniel and me about the experience of Cursed Child on this ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ podcast.