Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
|Harry Potter and the Cursed Child|
|Date premiered||30 July 2016|
|Place premiered||Palace Theatre, London|
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a 2016 British two-part play written by Jack Thorne based on an original story by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Thorne. Previews of the play began at the Palace Theatre, London, on 7 June 2016, and it premiered on 30 July 2016. The play opened on Broadway on 21 April 2018 at the Lyric Theatre, with previews starting on 16 March 2018. Its cast is similar to that of the first year in the West End, with returning actors Anthony Boyle, Sam Clemmett, Noma Dumezweni, Poppy Miller, Jamie Parker, Alex Price, and Paul Thornley.
The story begins nineteen years after the events of the 2007 novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and follows Harry Potter, now Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic, and his younger son, Albus Severus Potter, who is about to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The play is marketed as the ninth story in the Harry Potter series.
The play received enthusiastic critical reception, although the script was not received well by some of the Harry Potter fandom. At the 2017 Laurence Olivier Awards, the London production received a record-breaking eleven nominations and won another record-breaking nine awards, including Best New Play. At the 2018 Tony Awards, the Broadway production won six awards, including Best Play. The play also set the record for highest all-time weekly ticket sales of any play, grossing over $2.5 million at the Lyric Theater for the week ending 30 December 2018.
In December 2013, it was revealed that a stage play based on the Harry Potter series had been in development for around a year, with the view to bringing it to the stage sometime in 2016. At the time of the announcement, author J. K. Rowling revealed that the play would "explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast". The following May, Rowling began establishing the creative team for the project.
On 26 June 2015, this project was officially confirmed under the title of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and it was revealed it would receive its world premiere in mid-2016 at London's Palace Theatre. The announcement marked the eighteenth anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, published on 26 June 1997.
On announcing plans for the project, Rowling stated that the play would not be a prequel. In response to queries regarding the choice of a play rather than a new novel, Rowling stated that she "is confident that when audiences see the play they will agree that it is the only proper medium for the story". Rowling also assured audiences that the play would contain an entirely new story and would not be a rehashing of previously explored content. On 24 September 2015, Rowling announced that the play had been split into two parts. The parts are designed to be viewed on the same day or consecutively over two evenings.
On 23 October 2015, it was confirmed the plays were set nineteen years after the conclusion of the final novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and would open at London's Palace Theatre in July 2016. The plays principally follow Harry Potter, now Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and his younger son, Albus Severus Potter.
The play is divided in two parts, consisting of two acts each.
In the opening scene, set during the epilogue of Deathly Hallows in the year 2017, Harry and Ginny Potter send their son, Albus Severus, on the Hogwarts Express to begin his first year at Hogwarts. Harry works a desk job as the Head of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic, while Ginny is the editor of the sports section of The Daily Prophet. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger also send their daughter Rose on the train. Hermione is now Minister of Magic, while Ron manages Weasley's Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley. On his first trip aboard the Hogwarts Express, Albus forms an unlikely friendship with Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Harry's former nemesis Draco and his wife Astoria (née Greengrass). Unlike his father, Scorpius is very polite and very nerdy. The school is stunned when, in a break with the tradition of Potters being sorted into Gryffindor, Albus is sorted into Slytherin alongside Scorpius.
Both boys are bullied by other students over the next few years, Albus due to his perceived failure to live up to his parents, Scorpius due to unproven rumours that he is the son of Lord Voldemort. Scorpius's mother then passes away due to a fatal disease. Albus and Harry drift apart due to Albus's struggles with his father's shadow and Harry's uncertainty on how to deal with his son's problems. Albus also drifts apart from Rose, with whom he was close before meeting Scorpius. Prior to his fourth year, Albus gets into a fight with his father after being given the latter's baby blanket and a love potion from Ron. During the fight, Harry angrily says that he sometimes wishes Albus was not his son, and Albus spills the potion on the blanket.
Harry obtains a prototype of a more powerful version of the Time-Turner that allows one to travel into the past and change history. Simultaneously, Harry's scar starts hurting again, causing him to become concerned that Voldemort may be returning. Amos Diggory, who has become old and is cared for by his niece, Delphi [full name Delphini Riddle, alias Delphi Diggory], asks Harry to use the Time-Turner to prevent the death of his son, Cedric. After overhearing Harry refuse to help the Diggorys, Albus is inspired to do so and convinces Scorpius to help him. The two escape from the Hogwarts Express to visit Amos, and they team up with Delphi to steal the Time-Turner from Hermione's office, in the Ministry of Magic, while disguised with Polyjuice Potion.
Knowing that Cedric's death was the result of him winning the Triwizard Tournament alongside Harry, the boys use the Time-Turner to travel back to the first tournament challenge in 1995. The two disguise themselves as Durmstrang students in an attempt to sabotage Cedric to prevent his victory. The plan fails, and the disguises cause Hermione to become suspicious of Viktor Krum, a Durmstrang student, and go to the Yule Ball with Ron instead. As a result, Ron never experiences the jealousy fundamental to his relationship with Hermione, and the two never marry. Ron instead falls in love with Padma Patil at the Ball, and Hermione becomes a frustrated and mean professor at Hogwarts, teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts.
Meanwhile, Harry has nightmares about Voldemort as he grows suspicious that the wizard will return. A centaur named Bane tells Harry that a "dark cloud" is around Albus. Convinced that Scorpius is a threat to Albus, Harry tries to have the boys kept apart at Hogwarts by attempting to force Headmistress Minerva McGonagall to keep tabs on Albus using the Marauder's Map.
Albus and Scorpius' friendship is destroyed, but the two eventually reconcile after Albus steals Harry's old Invisibility Cloak from Albus's older brother James Sirius. Harry is persuaded to relent after a conversation with Draco and Ginny. Meanwhile, Albus and Scorpius make another attempt to use the Time-Turner to change Cedric's fate, this time by humiliating him during the Triwizard Tournament's second task. When Scorpius returns to the present day, however, Albus is not with him. Dolores Umbridge walks up to him and reveals that Harry is dead and Lord Voldemort rules the wizarding world.
Scorpius discovers that as a result of his actions, Cedric joined the Death Eaters and killed Neville Longbottom, preventing him from killing Nagini and allowing Voldemort to win the Battle of Hogwarts. With Harry now dead, Albus never existed, while Voldemort was able to completely consolidate power and transform the Ministry of Magic into a dictatorial regime. In the new timeline, Scorpius became a popular Head Boy and Quidditch star, helping the staff and students torment Muggle-borns. Umbridge became the new Headmistress of Hogwarts and patrols the school with Dementors and a revived Inquisitorial Squad led by Scorpius.
A powerful dark figure called "The Augurey" leads the Ministry of Magic. With help from Ron, Hermione, and Severus Snape, now the final members of a dwindling anti-Voldemort resistance movement, Scorpius is able to use the Time-Turner to prevent the interference of Albus and his past self and restore the events of the original timeline, the alternate Ron, Hermione, and Snape sacrificing themselves to the Dementors in order to allow him to do so. Scorpius reunites with Albus, and the two boys are eventually found by their parents, as well as Ron and Hermione. Following these events, Harry scolds Albus for his actions, but the two nevertheless begin to reconcile.
Realising the danger the Time-Turner poses, Scorpius and Albus attempt to destroy it themselves, but they are joined by Delphi. Scorpius notices that Delphi has a tattoo of an Augurey and realizes she was in charge of the Ministry of Magic in the alternate timeline. Delphi takes them captive, killing a fellow student in the process, and reveals her intention of restoring the alternate timeline.
After Ron reveals he saw Albus and Scorpius with Delphi while he was in Hogsmeade with Neville, Harry and Draco confront Amos, only to discover Delphi had bewitched him into thinking she was his niece. Delphi takes the boys to the final challenge of the Triwizard Tournament, but Albus and Scorpius prevent her from acting, and Delphi uses the Time-Turner again to travel farther back in time. She inadvertently takes the boys with her and then destroys the Time-Turner to leave them stranded in time.
Searching Delphi's room, Harry, Draco, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron discover hidden writing on the walls describing a prophecy that will allow Voldemort to return. Draco questions why she would be so obsessed with Voldemort's return, as Ginny finds writing on the ceiling that claims Delphi is the daughter of Voldemort.
Albus and Scorpius discover they have been taken back to the night before Harry's parents were killed and assume Delphi is planning to kill Harry before Voldemort attempts to do so. Albus and Scorpius write an invisible message on Harry's baby blanket, knowing in the present, the blanket would become stained with a love potion and expose the message. The message reads: "Help.Dad.31/10/1981."
Meanwhile, Draco reveals the Time-Turner was actually a prototype for a perfected model owned by him, but they remain unable to rescue the boys due to their uncertainty over which time period they have entered. After Harry receives the message from the boys, he and his allies use Draco's Time-Turner to travel back in time to save them and stop Delphi. While waiting for Delphi, they deduce she intends to convince Voldemort to abandon his doomed attempt to kill Harry, ensuring her father's survival and allowing her to be with him.
Harry disguises himself as Voldemort using Transfiguration to distract Delphi; after a struggle, the group manages to subdue her. Rather than killing Delphi, it is decided that she will be given a life sentence in Azkaban Prison. Lord Voldemort then appears and is oblivious to the presence of Harry and the group. The group allows the murder of Harry's parents to play out again, unwilling to risk the consequences of altering the past.
After returning to the present day, Delphi is sent to Azkaban. Albus and Scorpius now decide to be more active at Hogwarts, with Scorpius expressing interest in trying out for Quidditch and asking Rose on a date. Harry and Albus visit Cedric's grave, with Harry apologizing for his role in Cedric's death.
|Production||Venue/Location||First Preview||Opening Night||Closing Night|
|West End (London)||Palace Theatre||7 June 2016 (Part One), 9 June 2016 (Part Two)||30 July 2016||Currently running|
|Broadway (New York)||Lyric Theatre||16 March 2018 (Part One), 17 March 2018 (Part Two)||22 April 2018||Currently running|
|Melbourne||Princess Theatre||18 January 2019 (Part One), 19 January 2019 (Part Two)||23 February 2019||Currently running|
|San Francisco||Curran Theatre||23 October 2019 (Part One), 24 October 2019 (Part Two)||1 December 2019||Currently running|
|Hamburg||Mehr! Theater||7 February 2020 (Part One), 8 February 2020 (Part Two)||TBC||TBC|
|Toronto||Ed Mirvish Theatre||2021||TBC||TBC|
|Tokyo||TBS Akasaka ACT Theater||Summer 2022||TBC||TBC|
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part play, was written by British playwright Jack Thorne based on an original story by Rowling, John Tiffany, and Thorne. Some websites were listing all three as authors of the script but by 26 July 2016, the official website for the play and many others were listing Thorne as the sole script writer.
The play is directed by Tiffany with choreography by Steven Hoggett, set design by Christine Jones, costume design by Katrina Lindsay, lighting design by Neil Austin, music by Imogen Heap, and sound design by Gareth Fry. In addition, special effects were created by Jeremy Chernick, with illusions by Jamie Harrison, and musical supervision by Martin Lowe.
The producers and Rowling have maintained a campaign called #KeepTheSecrets to ask people who have seen the play not to reveal its major twists. The slogan is printed on the tickets for the play and badges with the slogan are handed out for free during intervals. People buying their tickets online are emailed a video after the play from J.K. Rowling asking them to support the campaign.
Previews at the West End Palace Theatre began on 7 June 2016, with the official opening night for both parts on 30 July, and originally booking until 18 September 2016. Tickets went on sale to pre-registered priority bookers on 28 October 2015, with a public sale scheduled to commence on 30 October. In just under 8 hours of priority booking 175,000 tickets were sold for the world premiere production, with the play's booking period extended to January 2017. On commencement of the public sale booking was extended until 30 April 2017, with a further extension issued the same day to 27 May 2017.
Tickets for the opening performance were priced from £30 up to £130 for a ticket for both parts, although ticket resale agencies were selling seats for up to £3,000. Ticket resale has been banned by the producers, with tickets no longer valid if sold on. In mid-July 2016, the theatre began holding a ticket lottery at 1 pm each Friday, releasing 40 for sale on their website for "some of the best seats" in the theatre for the lowest price, advertised at £20 per part. For example, the "Friday Forty" tickets sold on 29 July 2016 were for performances on 3, 5, 6, and 7 August.
On 20 December 2015, initial casting was announced with Jamie Parker playing Harry Potter, Noma Dumezweni playing Hermione Granger and Paul Thornley playing Ron Weasley. The casting of the dark-skinned Noma Dumezweni as Hermione sparked fervent discussion, to which Rowling responded that Hermione's skin was never specified as white. Further notable casting includes Poppy Miller as Ginny Potter, Alex Price as Draco Malfoy, Sam Clemmett as Albus Severus Potter and Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy. The production features an overall cast of 42.
The production began previews on 16 March 2018, officially opening on 22 April at the Lyric Theatre. Clemmett, Boyle, Dumezweni, Miller, Parker, Price and Thornley reprised their roles, from the West End. The theatre removed 400 seats from the auditorium and moved the entrance to 43rd Street. Tickets initially went on sale on 18 October 2017, for performances from 16 March through 18 November 2018. The New York Times estimates that it is the most expensive non-musical Broadway play ever, incurring $68 million in opening costs. As of March 12, 2020, the show suspended production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show's production will be suspended until May 30, 2021 at the earliest.
On 24 October 2017, the Michael Cassel Group announced that it would be producing the Australian premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The preview shows started on 18 January 2019 at Melbourne's Princess Theatre, and the opening night was on 23 February. The show reportedly has an exclusive two-year residency at the Princess Theatre. Presale tickets were released on 2 August 2018, selling more than 200,000 tickets in just four days, before the public sale tickets were released.
The 35 original Australian adult cast was revealed on 2 September and includes Gareth Reeves as Harry Potter, Paula Arundell as Hermione Granger, Gyton Grantley as Ron Weasley, Lucy Goleby as Ginny Potter, Sean Rees-Wemyss as Albus Potter, Tom Wren as Draco Malfoy, and William McKenna as Scorpius Malfoy.
Cast and principal roles
|Character||Original West End Cast
|Original Broadway Cast
|Original Melbourne Cast||Original San Francisco Cast|
|Harry Potter||Jamie Parker||Gareth Reeves||John Skelley|
|Ron Weasley||Paul Thornley||Gyton Grantley||David Abeles|
|Hermione Granger||Noma Dumezweni||Paula Arundell||Yanna McIntosh|
|Ginny Potter||Poppy Miller||Lucy Goleby||Angela Reed|
|Draco Malfoy||Alex Price||Tom Wren||Lucas Hall|
|Albus Severus Potter||Sam Clemmett||Sean Rees-Wemyss||Benjamin Papac|
|Scorpius Malfoy||Anthony Boyle||William McKenna||Jon Steiger|
|Rose Granger-Weasley||Cherrelle Skeete||Susan Heyward||Manali Datar||Folami Williams|
|Delphi Diggory||Esther Smith||Jessie Fisher||Madeleine Jones||Emily Juliette Murphy|
|Craig Bowker Jr.||Jeremy Ang Jones||Joshua DeJesus||Slone Sudiro||Irving Dyson Jr.|
|Moaning Myrtle||Annabel Baldwin||Lauren Nicole Cipoletti||Gillian Cosgriff||Brittany Zeinstra|
|Lily Potter Sr.|
|Polly Chapman||Claudia Grant||Madeline Weinstein||Jessica Vickers||Lauren Zakrin|
|Vernon Dursley||Paul Bentall||Byron Jennings||David Ross Patterson||Andrew Long|
|Rubeus Hagrid||Chris Jarman||Brian Abraham||Soren Jensen||Julian Rozzell, Jr.|
|Yann Fredericks||Jenet Le Lacheur||Jess Barbagallo||Connor Sweeney||Corey Hedy|
|Petunia Dursley||Helena Lymbery||Kathryn Meisle||Hannah Waterman||Katherine Leask|
|Madam Hooch||Theo Allyn|
|Amos Diggory||Barry McCarthy||Edward James Hyland||George Henare||Charles Janasz|
|Trolley Witch||Sandy McDade||Geraldine Hughes||Debra Lawrance||Katherine Leask|
|Minerva McGonagall||Shannon Cochran|
|Cedric Diggory||Tom Milligan||Benjamin Wheelwright||David Simes||William Bednar-Carter|
|James Sirius Potter|
|James Potter Sr.|
|Dudley Dursley||Jack North||Joey LaBrasca||Hamish Johnston||Tuck Sweeney|
|Viktor Krum||Connor Sweeney|
|Bane||Nuno Silva||David St. Louis||Iopu Auva'a||Logan James Hall|
|Young Harry Potter||Rudi Goodman
Tyler Patrick Hennessy
|Lily Luna Potter||Zoe Brough
West End Year 2 replacements
- Harry Potter: Jamie Glover
- Ron Weasley: Thomas Aldridge
- Hermione Granger: Rakie Ayola
- Ginny Potter: Emma Lowndes
|Published||31 July 2016 (Special Rehearsal Edition)|
25 July 2017 (Definitive Collector's Edition)
|31 July 2016|
|Pages||328 (Special Rehearsal Edition)|
321 (Definitive Collector's Edition)
|ISBN||978-1-338-09913-3 (US); 978-0-7515-6535-5 (UK)|
The first edition, the Special Rehearsal Edition, corresponded to the script used in the preview shows and was published on 31 July 2016, the date of Harry's birthday in the series and Rowling's birthday, as well. Since revisions to the script continued after the book was printed, an edited version was released on 25 July 2017, as the "Definitive Collector's Edition". According to CNN, this was the most preordered book of 2016.
In the United States and Canada, the book sold over 2 million copies in its first two days of release. 847,885 copies were sold during the book's first week of release in the United Kingdom. By June 2017, the book had sold over 4.5 million copies in the United States.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has received critical acclaim. Some audiences and critics have complimented the casting and performances, while many debate the quality of the piece and how it compares to entries in the main Harry Potter series.
Publications awarding five star ratings included The Independent, the London Evening Standard, The Stage and WhatsOnStage.com. The Telegraph also gave five, although "there are some quibbles," while The Guardian's Michael Billington awarded four stars.
Anthony Boyle's performance as Scorpius Malfoy garnered particular acclaim. WhatsOnStage.com wrote that "Boyle gives a career-making performance," while The Wall Street Journal described him as "the break-out performance". Variety's critic, Matt Trueman, agreed, writing, "it's Boyle who really stands out", and both Trueman and Henry Hitchings, in the Evening Standard, noted that his performance was sure to be a fan favourite.
Response within the Harry Potter fandom
The response to the play from the Harry Potter fandom was polarizing. Fans responded positively to the play and its characters, with Scorpius Malfoy being particularly popular. Some fans commented that the dialogue between the familiar characters was "spot on", celebrating it as a faithful continuation of the books. Others have noted that the play sheds light on some of the relationships between the characters, such as Harry and Dumbledore's. The response had been particularly positive among fans who watched the play on stage.
Some fans however, said the story seemed more "like a work of fan fiction" and said that it diverged from previously established rules of the universe, criticising the script's characterisation. Some also took issue with the style and plot of the script, complaining that the Time-Turner storylines had already been used, as had Cedric Diggory's death, and that the writers were rehashing old storylines and over-played tropes of the fantasy/sci-fi genre. These criticisms have led to some of the fandom rejecting the play as separate from the Potter canon.
The stage play's "ambiguously gay" portrayal of the male friendship between Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy has been criticized as an example of "queerbaiting", with director John Tiffany stating his belief that it "would not [have] been appropriate" for The Cursed Child to directly address the characters' sexualities.
Awards and nominations
Original West End production
Original Broadway production
|2018||Tony Awards||Best Play||Won|||
|Best Actor in a Play||Jamie Parker||Nominated|
|Best Featured Actor in a Play||Anthony Boyle||Nominated|
|Best Featured Actress in a Play||Noma Dumezweni||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Play||John Tiffany||Won|
|Best Choreography||Steven Hoggett||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design in a Play||Christine Jones||Won|
|Best Costume Design in a Play||Katrina Lindsay||Won|
|Best Lighting Design in a Play||Neil Austin||Won|
|Best Sound Design in a Play||Gareth Fry||Won|
|Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play||Anthony Boyle||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Director of a Play||John Tiffany||Won|
|Outstanding Music in a Play||Imogen Heap||Won|
|Outstanding Costume Design for a Play||Katrina Lindsay||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play||Neil Austin||Won|
|Outstanding Projection Design||Finn Ross and Ash Woodward||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Design in a Play||Gareth Fry||Won|
|Outstanding Wig and Hair||Carole Hancock||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding New Broadway Play||Won|||
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play||Anthony Boyle||Nominated|
|Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)||Imogen Heap||Nominated|
|Outstanding Director of a Play||John Tiffany||Won|
|Outstanding Choreographer||Steven Hoggett||Nominated|
|Outstanding Scenic Design (Play or Musical)||Christine Jones||Won|
|Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)||Katrina Lindsay||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)||Neil Austin||Won|
|Outstanding Projection Design (Play or Musical)||Finn Ross and Ash Woodward||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical)||Gareth Fry||Won|
|Drama League Awards||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play||Won|||
|Distinguished Performance Award||Anthony Boyle||Nominated|
|2020||Grammy Award||Best Musical Theater Album||Imogen Heap (producer & composer)||Nominated|||
- "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child". Harry Potter The Play. harrypottertheplaylondon.com. 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
- Lyall, Sarah (7 June 2016). "'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' Begins Previews in London, as Magic Continues". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- "Some 'Harry Potter' fans are so disappointed with the new story that they're refusing to call it canon". Business Insider. 31 July 2016.
As a longtime "Harry Potter" enthusiast myself, I regretfully agree with the vocal minority who did not enjoy "Cursed Child" and would rather it wasn't part of Harry Potter's story.
- Evans, Greg (2 January 2019). "Broadway's 'Harry Potter' & 'To Kill A Mockingbird' Break Box Office Records; Musicals Set House. Records". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
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The play, written by Jack Thorne, is set 19 years after the seventh and final book in the series by JK Rowling.
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- Hooton, Christopher (21 December 2015). "JK Rowling shuts down anyone with a problem about Hermione being black on Twitter: 'Frizzy hair is canon'". The Independent. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
Responding to (a small pocket of) negative discussion of the casting, she tweeted: "Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair, and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione." UPDATE: Hold up, maybe the logic isn't quite so airtight.
- "In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a black actress will play Hermione". The New York Times. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
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JK Rowling tweeted this morning that she'd never specified Hermione's skin colour in the books
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