BY: FRANCESCA BRILLI
Last weekend, BroadwayCon invaded the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Midtown in New York City. After an energy-packed Opening Ceremony (led by the hilarious Ben Cameron), the first panel in the “Spotlight” series was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, featuring the seven original members of the West End and Broadway casts including Jamie Parker (Harry Potter), Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley), Alex Price (Draco Malfoy), Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy), Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter) and Poppy Miller (Ginny Potter). Moderated by Mischief Management’s own Melissa Anelli, the panel filled the Grand Ballroom with lots of laughs and, true to their hashtag, a minimum of secrets were spilled – but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some magical moments. Our 8 faves below!
1. Just to clarify: It’s not a musical.
Thornley told a story about one time when a fellow cast member went to pick up their car after a show, they overheard someone say, “There’s just not many songs for a musical.” The story was met with laughs to which Thornley responded, “There’s a spoiler, right there for you.” You can, however, listen to the music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child composed by the incredible Imogen Heap (remember your emo days?), just don’t expect to hear any singing from these cast members.
2. The child in the nest in London has its own Twitter account.
You guys, its @ChildInNest and its everything. They haven’t tweeted in a year, but it’s definitely worth a scroll if you’re looking for a giggle.
3. Noma Dumezweni reminds us why she’s the perfect Hermione.
Asked how she felt playing Hermione, Dumezweni explained, “It’s amazing. Because I do say this, I didn’t grow up seeing people that looked like me… The world always goes on, but how we tell stories changes.” She added, “Books give way to your imagination, books tell you, well you tell the book in a weird way, how you can see that character. And we all have our own versions and our versions are usually to do with us. So, having the privilege of playing this version of Hermione, its changed my life and I am so very, very grateful.”
4. Sam Clemmett didn’t like Albus Severus Potter at first, either.
It’s no secret that to some Potterheads, when the book was released for Cursed Child, it was met with a lot of critique. Primarily, with its central character, Albus Severus Potter. “When I first read it, I was locked in Sonia Friedman’s office for seven hours, reading the script cover to cover. I got to the last page and put it down and went, ‘This young man is incredibly unlikable.’ He’s a real sod. And we’re seeing a lot of this story through his eyes, I have to make him as likeable as possible,” Clemmett recalled. “With Albus I absolutely tried to start with the fun in him, how does he tick and it all comes down to this friendship [motioning to Boyle] and how these two work and their love of things like quizzes, and then once we sort of found that, and we bonded as people and we bonded the two characters together.”
5. The cast confirms: Americans are louder than Brits.
“The enthusiasm over here, the energy, is a lot more like you guys just give and give and there’s a real sort of… unselfconsciousness in American culture and I think it’s a really beautiful thing,” Boyle mused. In other words, we’re louder, but in a likeable way. Dumezweni added that the people they have encountered at the stage door of the Lyric are not only kind, but also incredibly respectful.
6. JK Rowling changes a room… and she has great shoes.
When the cast first met Rowling they were completely blown away. Miller said, “She’s a person who changes the temperature in the room. She’s incredibly charismatic. She’s really funny and adorable and incredibly, well, she just always looks immaculate.” To which Dumezweni added, “And her high heels are fabulous.” Amen to that.
7. Anthony Boyle studied dog breeding to help hone his character.
Anelli brought up an interview that Boyle did a few months back, where he talked about how he developed the physicality of Scorpius. “Yeah, so basically I had this idea: I read on Pottermore all this stuff about the Malfoys was that they were purebred, purebloods. Then I looked at like purebred dogs, and what happens is they usually have physical deformities—like, pugs, like their larynxes sort of get shortened and they have breathing problems—and I just tried that in rehearsals and it seemed to work.”
8. The cast is really (really!) going to miss Broadway.
Dumezweni said, “It’s this lot. It’s this lot I’m going to miss.” Clemmett added, “Not seeing him [Boyle] everyday. We don’t live together, we pretty much do, we shared a dressing room for the past three years.” They have been together for three years, and this is the first time they will really be stepping out of these roles and moving on. Miller said, “I’m really going to miss New York and I don’t think we even comprehend what it’s going to be like not embodying these characters anymore. I think it’s going to be a big, big transition for us.” Broadway will miss you!
You can catch these seven original cast members at the Lyric Theatre from now until their final bows on March 17th. We are also giving away a pair of tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II for February 3rd!!! Make sure you’ve entered!