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In a bold visual gesture that announces the arrival of a potential new commercial behemoth on Broadway while at the same time reclaiming a landmark New York theater district facade, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has literally taken wing.
Producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender have unveiled the elaborate marquee at the newly restored Lyric Theatre, where the two-part continuation of J.K. Rowling’s massively popular wizardry saga begins previews March 16.
The creation of the production’s set designer Christine Jones and international scenic supervisor Brett J. Banakis, the three-dimensional signage is dominated by a 150-foot, 50,000-pound wing that spans from the Lyric marquee up the side of the theater. Perched on top of the building is a sculptural representation of the plays’ logo, a winged nest holding a small child.
As part of the extensive refit of the Lyric to house the complex production, designers made the decision to shift the main entrance from the retail- and pedestrian-clogged tourist trap of West 42nd Street to West 43rd, which in recent years had served as an exit. That switch gave the production more than 200 feet of frontage for additional visibility, while also drawing attention back to the historic facade of the original 1903 building.
“We drew inspiration from the wing artwork from the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child poster art, and tried to translate that imagery into a large, metal installation on the side of the building, to serve as a beacon, a gathering spot, and a piece of public sculpture, here in the heart of Times Square,” said the designers.
Based on an original story by Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, the plays pick up on the adult Harry as an overworked Ministry of Magic employee, a husband to Ginny and father of three school-age children. When his youngest son, Albus, begins to struggle with an unwanted legacy as Harry fights to escape the lingering past, darkness once again descends on the family.
The production premiered to across-the-board raves at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End in July 2016 and has been playing to sold-out houses ever since, with no sign of slowing down. It won a record nine Olivier Awards in 2017, including best new play, director, lead actor, supporting actor and supporting actress.
The Broadway transfer officially opens April 22 at the Lyric, with several of the original London cast reprising their roles, including Jamie Parker as Harry, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, Poppy Miller as Ginny, Sam Clemmett as Albus, Alex Price as Draco Malfoy and Anthony Boyle as his son, Scorpius.
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