Kyle McMahon heads to New York Comic Con 2019 to go behind the magic of Harry Potter & The Cursed Child
OK muggles, you know I'm a huge Potterhead, so when I got the owl that requested my presence at the Harry Potter & The Cursed Child panel at New York Comic Con 2019 I just about died! If I could have used Apparate right then and there I would have. Alas, I had to wait until the panel actually started.
When I arrived at Hammerstein Ballroom there was an air of excitement and joy that is very hard to describe. If you've been to any sort of Harry Potter themed event, you know the feeling I'm talking about. All of the Hogwarts Houses were well represented (Hufflepuff forever!) and as the pre-show host went through them, screams abound from the audience.
The current (Broadway) Harry Potter himself, James Snyder, was introduced and moderated the panel. Fittingly, the crowd went wild when he came out. He explained to the uninitiated that Harry Potter & the Cursed Child isn't a musical but essentially an exercise in movement. In fact, movement is used through every scene in many ways including to transition from one scene to the next, to show magic and even to transport a character from one place to another.
Snyder introduced US Movement Director (& first year Broadway Harry Potter) Benjamin Wheelwright and Movement Captain James Brown III to explain a bit behind the magic of Harry Potter & The Cursed Child. While the Wizarding World is known for it's magic, which in books uses our imagination and in movies uses CGI, a stage play must use a different approach. The trio discussed how Harry Potter & the Cursed Child had to re-conceptualize what a Broadway stage show is in order to make it work. And make it work they have.
Wheelwright and Brown explained that Cloak-ography was created by the wardrobe department to help merge shadows and light with movement to create compelling visual effects as minimally as possible using simply a cloak. Going into depth in how this works, including bringing a cast member on stage to demonstrate, you really got a feel for how well thought out the entire production is.
We got a look into some of the movement pieces with the entire cast, who gave a demonstration showing how it's not the wizard that moves the wand it is the wand that moves the wizard. This entertaining piece was essentially a practice in wizardry with the cast allowing their wands to lead them wherever they may.
The rest of the main cast was brought on stage including Matt Mueller (Ron Weasley), Nicholas Podany (Albus Potter), Bubba Weller (Scorpius Malfoy), and Diane Davis (Ginny Potter). Snyder warmly talked with the cast about the experience of bringing these beloved characters to life in this brand new chapter.
If you haven't yet seen Harry Potter & The Cursed Child on Broadway - I haven't yet (I know, I'm awful) - this panel made you want to buy a ticket today. I'll be going to see it in all of my Hufflepuff glory after watching a peak behind the magic. I truly realized how much I've been missing out on seeing this gorgeous show - and I say that having seen the delectable clips shown at the panel. While I've only attended a couple of Broadway shows back when I was a child, I am ready to see how the story continues on stage. And it's quite clear from seeing this panel, I've been missing out.