'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' Advances Broadway Plans

Harry Potter Cursed Child Theatrical Still 8 H 2016
Manuel Harlan

Producers of the two-part play, a smash hit on London's West End, are in negotiations to open a New York production in spring 2018 in the refurbished Lyric Theatre.

Stateside Potterphiles rejoice. The wait is over, or it will be in a year and a half.

Ending months of speculation, producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callendar on Thursday announced that they are in exclusive advanced discussions with Ambassador Theatre Group to open Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway in spring 2018 at ATG's Lyric Theatre.

One of Broadway's largest venues, the Lyric will be reconfigured from its current 1,900-seat capacity to a cozier 1,500 in a refit scheduled to follow the April 16 departure of the theater's current tenant, Cirque du Soleil's Paramour.

"We are thrilled about ATG's ambitious plans, which will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a unique theater space tailored to the specific needs of the production over the play's two parts," said Friedman and Callendar in a statement. "The remodeled Lyric will include a smaller auditorium redesigned to the specifications of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child team, as well as an adapted proscenium and stage that can house designer Christine Jones' glorious set without swamping or compromising director John Tiffany's brilliant staging. The spacious front-of-house environment will also be transformed to optimize the atmosphere and audience experience.”

The producers added: “Above all, ATG's plans will provide Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with a bespoke home that will be intimate enough for a drama, yet big enough for us to deliver on our commitment to provide audiences with access to low-priced tickets throughout the auditorium."

Commenting on the news, J.K. Rowling said, "I'm delighted we are one step closer in bringing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to Broadway and very excited by the proposed plans."

Written by Jack Thorne from an original story by Rowling, Thorne and Tiffany, the two-part play has a combined running time of just over five hours. It follows the challenges of Harry, Hermione and Ron as they face the unknown territory of parenting teenagers, picking up on the beloved characters, as well as the next generation, 19 years after the final Hogwarts battle chronicled in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Theater industry pundits have been buzzing about which Broadway theater would secure what is expected to be a monster hit since the plays opened at London's Palace Theatre in July to stellar reviews and sell-out business. The London production recently released an additional block of tickets for performances through February 2018. The published play script, released the day after the London premiere, is Amazon's best-selling book of 2016.

Locking in the Harry Potter production will represent a major coup for ATG in the company's bid to expand beyond its U.K. and international footprint with a stronger Broadway presence. In addition to the Lyric, ATG owns the long-closed Hudson Theatre, which has been extensively renovated and is scheduled to reopen as a Broadway venue next year.