J.K. Rowling Developing 'Harry Potter' Prequel Stage Play for U.K. Theater
The Harry Potter franchise continues to grow, as a new stage production is headed for London's West End.
Author J.K. Rowling announced that she is co-producing a play to premiere in the U.K., narrating the story of a young Boy Who Lived before meeting Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore and his fellow magical comrades at Hogwarts.
The synopsis reads: "What was it like to be the boy in the cupboard under the stairs? This brand new play, which will be developed for the U.K. theater, will explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast. Featuring some of our favorite characters from the Harry Potter books, this new work will offer a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary young wizard. A seemingly ordinary boy, but one for whom Destiny has plans…"
No word yet on whether the story will focus solely on Potter and the Dursley family at 4 Privet Drive, or also check in on the series' other characters before they all met and became friends.
Rowling also noted that she will work with an as-yet-unnamed writer on the new play, rather than penning the script herself. She is collaborating with award-winning theater producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender.
"Over the years, I have received countless approaches about turning Harry Potter into a theatrical production, but Sonia and Colin's vision was the only one that really made sense to me and had the sensitivity, intensity and intimacy I thought appropriate for bringing Harry's story to the stage," Rowling said in a statement. "After a year in gestation, it is exciting to see this project moving on to the next phase. I'd like to thank [Harry Potter movie studio] Warner Bros. for their continuing support in this project."
Friedman has enjoyed repeated success bringing London productions to Broadway and vice versa. She currently has The Book of Mormon playing in the West End and the Shakespeare double of Twelfth Night and Richard III starring Mark Rylance in New York. Additionally, she is working on a London stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love, set to bow next summer.
Former HBO Films president Callender made a dynamic bow as lead producer on a theatrical venture last season with Tom Hanks in Nora Ephron's smash Broadway hit Lucky Guy (on which Friedman served as associate producer). Callender is also teaming with Manhattan Theatre Club this season on Harvey Fierstein's new play, Casa Valentina, set to open on Broadway in the spring.
Rowling's Harry Potter seven-book series has sold over 450 million copies, and its eight film adaptations have collected more than $7.7 billion worldwide. Since penning the final installment, Rowling also wrote The Cuckoo's Calling (initially under a pseudonym) and The Casual Vacancy.
Writers and directors for the upcoming Harry Potter play are now being considered, and the project will move into development in 2014. Daily Mail reported that the production will open in the West End within two years.
David Rooney contributed to this report.