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Harry Potter and the Frustratingly Regional play opens in 2016

Harry Potter play

Harry Potter is poised to have a very, very big 2016. The first part of the new film series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will open in November, and it won’t be the only original HP project on the way.

The film will be joined by an original new stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which author JK Rowling confirmed will open in London’s West End next year.

Rowling specifically chose today to make the announcement because it is the 18th anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (originally released in the UK as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, because presumably, publishers were concerned that Americans would confuse it with anther Philosopher’s Stone?). Rowling didn’t write the new Harry Potter play, but she was deeply involved with its creation and plotting.

The play will reportedly focus on the “untold part” of Potter’s early days, including the lives of his parents, who were – spoiler – killed by Voldemort.

The plot is being kept tightly under wraps, with armed ninjas ready to strike down anyone that threatens to leak the details (allegedly), but Rowling went on to say that the play would not be a prequel. Of course, the definition of a prequel can vary.

Rowling also addressed an obvious question – why this is a play and not a novel, or even a new film.

“To answer one inevitable (and reasonable!) question – why isn’t Cursed Child a new novel? I am confident that when audiences see the play they will agree that it was the only proper medium for the story.”

The play is being written by Jack Thorne, the writer of the award-winning British TV miniseries, This is England ’88. Thorne also has experience adapting properties for the stage, after writing the stage version of the horror/love story, Let the Right One In.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will debut exclusively at the 1400-seat Palace Theater in London’s West End. Assuming it will be a success – and it would take people eating puppies on stage for it not to be – don’t be surprised to see it pop up in other theaters around the world, along with traveling shows.

The play will open at some point in summer 2016, which should help to generate hype for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which opens on November 18 and is being written by Rowling herself. The film is set to be the introduction to a new trilogy starring the character of Newt Scamander, played by recent Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne. The series will take play roughly 70 years before the time of Harry Potter.

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