There are plans to put America under the spell of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.
Once the two-part blockbuster play has its official opening tomorrow, talk will turn to how to apparate (Potter-speak for transport) The Cursed Child to Broadway, though I thought I heard an owl hooting something about it going via Toronto.
Producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, who had the idea of doing the show in the first place, have overseen an extraordinary three-year process to get the plays on stage at the Palace Theatre.
Spellbinding: Anthony Boyle (left) as Scorpius Malfoy and Sam Clemmett as Albus Potter
Magical: The cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child take to the stage – now plans are already underway to take the play to Broadway
Left, Sam Clemmett as Albus Potter and Jamie Parker as Harry Potter in the two-part blockbuster play
‘We’ve got to take a very big breath now and get through the weekend,’ Callender told me.
‘Then we’ll deal with what the next stage looks like — and hopefully Broadway will be part of that.’
Critics delivered their verdicts on Tuesday and the consensus was. . . it’s a hit!
Importantly, Ben Brantley, chief drama critic for the New York Times, gave it a rave review, declaring that Cursed Child captures J.K. Rowling’s sensibility ‘even more persuasively than did the special effects- driven films’.
Of course, putting together a second production would take time: to find the right New York theatre (the Palace is the perfect London home); the right cast; not to mention to allow director John Tiffany and his team of designers, Christine Jones and Katrina Lindsay, composer Imogen Heap, movement director Steven Hoggett and others to coordinate their schedules.
But at least they have a strong piece to start with. Writer Jack Thorne’s play, based on a story by Rowling, Tiffany and himself, is in place and it works.
A new batch of tickets are set to be put up for sale on August 4, covering a booking period through to December 2017
From left: Alex Price as Draco Malfoy, Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, Jamie Parker as Harry Potter and Poppy Miller as Ginny Potter
Callender said he and Friedman knew something special was happening when, during workshops, ‘we would sit in, and when actors were reading the play, people would be crying.
‘We said that if we can make the play work in its rawest state, then everything else is icing on the cake.
‘We knew from the first preview that the piece was on the right track,’ Callender added, though a lot of fine-tuning has been done since then.
I was at that first preview, too, and I felt I was watching a piece of pure theatrical magic — a work of art that was still totally commercial, in the way The Godfather Part 2 was.
The show’s core values of love, family and friendship will never date. So expect Cursed Child to be part of London’s cultural fabric for decades to come…
Left, Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy and right, Sam Clemmett as Albus Potter
As I revealed last week, a new batch of tickets will be put up for sale on August 4, covering a booking period through to December 2017.
My guess is that once that block of seats is sold, another will be made available, going into 2018.
The show’s core values of love, family and friendship will never date. So expect Cursed Child to be part of London’s cultural fabric for decades to come.
A cast recording will be made of the new version of Half A Sixpence, which opened this week at Chichester Festival Theatre, featuring songs from the 1963 original by David Heneker updated by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
The album ought to have a video, highlighting the terrific musical numbers by director Rachel Kavanaugh and choreographer Andrew Wright and featuring brand new star Charlie Stemp and leading ladies Devon-Elise Johnson and Emma Williams.
Cameron Mackintosh wants to transfer it to the West End in the autumn, but no plans have been made yet.
Half a Sixpence with Devon-Elise Johnson as Ann and Charlie Stemp as Arthur Kipps
Preliminary auditions for the London production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton (about American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton), due to open in October 2017 at the Victoria Palace, start next week.
The creative team and casting directors want the cast to reflect the UK; and for it not to be a replica of the show that has become a sensation in America, where it ran at the Public Theater before moving to Broadway and becoming the biggest-selling smash New York has ever seen.