Imagine reading the next “Harry Potter” story before anyone else. English actor Jamie Parker doesn’t have to imagine it — he did it, back when producers were casting the West End premiere of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
“There was a thick veil of secrecy over the entire thing, obviously,” Parker recalled on Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast.
At the time, he was in Birmingham playing Sky Masterson in a production of “Guys and Dolls,” he remembered. “They said, ‘Either we bring a script to Birmingham, so there’ll be like a Securicorps guy in a helmet with a bat and a gun — not really — but basically you’d have to sit under supervision reading it. Or you come down to London.”
So Parker headed down to London for a day, where he read the script — written by Jack Thorne, with a story by J.K. Rowling, Thorne and director John Tiffany — in the office of Sonia Friedman, who produces “Cursed Child” with Colin Callender. “I went to Sonia’s office, signed an NDA, sat in a very small room for four-and-a-half, five hours with 250 pages of an early draft.”
Parker ended up nabbing the role of Harry Potter, who’s all grown up in “Cursed Child,” and winning an Olivier for the role. He, along with several members of the London smash, have now apparated onto Broadway, where “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” opens April 22.
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Before he got the part, he was mostly a Potter newbie: He’d read the first book and seen a few of the movies. He’s now on his fifth or sixth read-through of the entire series — and he’s still finding things that surprise him.
One such moment in New York, as he was cycling around the city on a Citibike and listening to the audiobooks. “I heard a line in ‘Goblet of Fire’ that’s echoed in the play, and I went, ‘How have I only just noticed that now?’ “
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