NYCC kicked off with a panel for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The main cast was there to talk about their experiences with the play in London and New York. They did keep the secrets, as the hashtag promotes, so I’ll post this behind a cut incase anything (like the list of characters) gives anything away.
Left to right:
The moderator, I forgot her name.
Jamie Parker is Harry Potter.
Noma Dumezweni is Hermione Granger.
Paul Thornley is Ron Weasley.
Poppy Miller is Ginny Weasley.
Sam Clemmett is Albus Potter.
Anthony Boyle is Scorpius Malfoy.
Alex Price is Draco Malfoy.
So after introductions and naming their houses, they talked about how they first discovered Harry Potter and then how they became involved with HPatCC. Most of them had been working in other projects and were asked to join a workshop for a new play. When Alex Price found out it was for Harry Potter, he thought the idea was mad.
Paul Thornley, who like Ron is very funny, discovered HP while traveling on the tube and everyone was reading it. So he thought he might as well too. Don’t ask him to remember the titles though, his favorite is the 4th one. When he was asked to read for the play he thought he was too old for Ron, until he realized it takes place 19 years later.
Noma Dumezweni also saw everyone on the tube reading HP and heard about it on the radio. She wanted to know why adults were reading a children’s book. When she read it she fell in love and would wait at Waterstones for the midnight releases.
Jamie Parker and Noma were doing another play together. Jamie said it was the worse play and he was awful in it. Noma loved the play. The Italian director would have them do these abstract movements. Somehow the director of HP&tCC saw that play and made the leap to Harry Potter, thinking Jamie would be good for the role of Harry.
Jamie was in performing in Guys and Dolls while in rehearsals for HPatCC. Noma said that Jamie is a phenomenal singer, and towards the end of the panel begged him to sing. He sang “My Time of Day” from G&D. He does have a very nice voice.
Jamie had never read the books before being cast. Now because he works in the evenings mostly, he records himself reading 20 minutes of the books for his son to hear. Awww.
They showed a clip from the production. It was a dance sequence but they point out that it is not a musical. They did have to dance at their auditions in strange, interpretive dance movements.
Sam thought he would be able to jump right in after the production in London but there was an entire new dance choreographed for New York.
Another difference between London and NY, according to Alex Price, is that the NY audience is louder. Which cracked me up, because yeah, we are loud.
Anthony Boyle thought he was going to get fired in London. It was his first job out of drama school and he was shooting in the dark. Here in NY he has more confidence.
I loved what Poppy Miller had to say about not taking the audience for granted. There is such an appetite for more HP stories but it was important to do it right.
They talked about, with some difficulty to keep the secrets, where their characters are now at the start of the play.
Jamie said Harry is 40, but did he very get past his childhood? He is still trying to save those he lost. It picks up from the scene from 19 years later, and the last line was “All was well” but was it? That leaves a lot open.
Sam Clemmett described Albus as being so nervous about starting school. James has been picking on him about being sorted into Slytherin, so he nervous about finding a new circle of friends, especially after Rose ditches him on the Hogwarts Express. He feels a lot of isolation and his relationship with his father becomes turbulent, especially as he develops a friendship with Scorpius Malfoy.
Noma said something that I really loved about how everyone can see themselves in the play because it deals with identity. It is also about parenthood and childhood. Poppy elaborated by talking about Ginny and Harry’s struggles with marriage and how it takes work to make it work.
There were some great questions from the audience:
What will you take away from your character?
Paul said he was not a stretch to play Ron, and what I have seen of his personality during the panel, it is true. He sweetly said it does feel like Ginny/Poppy is his sister.
Anthony jokingly said that his posture has changed by playing Scorpius. He didn’t used to hunch over and he’ll need physical therapy.
Also, he went to Catholic school and playing Draco’s son felt like playing Judas. But then you see he is bullied and he uses humor to mask the pain.
What have they learned from the fandom?
This got me all choked up: Anthony really learned how much HP means to people when a child’s Make-A-Wish was to spend his final moments watching the play.
Jamie said that a mother who lost her child sent in her baby’s blanket and it was kept in the Green Room in London.
Noma said that people tell her at the stage door how they love seeing a different version of Hermione.
This was my favorite question: How do the fans now view the Malfoy Legacy after HPatCC?
Alex said that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the redemption of Draco. Draco defied his father for the first time in his life by choosing to be with Astoria.
Which Hogwarts professor would you or your character be?
Poppy/Ginny – flying.
Jamie/Harry – no question, Defense Against the Dark Arts. Jamie said after reading PoA he would chose this to honor Lupin.
Ron – Care of Magical Creatures.
What would happen 19 years after CC?
Poppy said Ginny would take Harry on a tour to see the world, disguised as Muggles.
Noma said being a grandparent and visiting the Burrow a lot, with an extension for the millions of them.
Alex said Draco would steal Harry’s job.
Jamie said he would be a stay at home dad anyway, (but by then the kids would be grown.)
One last thing is that they played a sample from the score called “Ministry” (Jamie and Noma were so cute doing the dance to it while in their seats) and the soundtrack will be available November 2.
Jamie said he knows when it is 4 bars in that he needs to get to the stage from his dressing room or he will be late. Anthony says Jamie is usually late and swoops by him saying, “Sorry, darling!”