Members of the Harry Potter fandom squealed with glee when they read the news: three iconic roles in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play based on an original new story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, have been cast.  Harry Potter will be played by Jamie Parker, a member of the cast of The History BoysRon Weasley will be played by Paul Thornley, known for his roles in 2012’s Les Miserables and Broken.  The two actors somewhat resemble the way Harry and Ron were last portrayed in the Harry Potter films; in their mid thirties, somewhat handsome, and wholesome-looking.

L-R Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) and Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley)
L-R Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) and Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley)

Hermione Granger, on the other hand, will be quite different on stage than she was in the films.  Noma Dumezweni, an award winning stage actress and frequent guest star on television, has been cast in the role.  Dumezweni is a woman of color.  While this may seem like a shock to some, others have proclaimed that JK Rowling never specified Hermione’s ethnicity.  Bushy, brown hair and buck teeth are our only true hints to Hermione’s appearance, and they could belong to someone of almost any ethnicity.  The Wizarding World has all shapes, sizes, genders, colors, sexual orientations and socio-economic statuses.  It is a diverse community, as discussed in the books, seen in the films, and explained on JK Rowling’s Twitter account, so this casting should come as no surprise.

The casting was decided by Rowling, Thorne and Tiffany, along with producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender.  The production will include more than thirty actors on stage, and special effects and illusions.  There will be magic.  Called the eighth story in the series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be split into two parts.  Audience members will have the option of viewing them as a matinee and evening show on the same day, or on two consecutive evenings.

The story takes place nineteen years after the Battle at Hogwarts.  It follows the relationship of Harry Potter, overworked Ministry of Magic employee, husband, and father, and his youngest son, Albus Severus Potter.  The family legacy weighs heavily on Albus Severus’ shoulders, which is easy to understand.

Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who played Harry Potter in eight films, is interested in seeing the stage production, though, he says, “…it would be very weird to see someone else play him.”  He’s passed on the torch, so to speak, saying, “I’m no longer part of that world, nor should I be.”

It will be interesting to hear what the rest of the trio has to say about the casting news.  Rupert Grint played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films.  He went on to perform in other films, television programs, stage productions, and music videos.  Emma Watson played Hermione Granger. She went on to attend Brown University and Oxford University between her other film projects.  Watson was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014, and her advocacy for gender equality is well known to her fans and followers.

Tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have sold out from the show’s premiere on July 30, 2016 through the original ending date of January 8, 2017, with exception of late release and lottery tickets.  Due to an unprecedented demand, the Producers have extended the run to May 27, 2017.  These tickets are sure to sell out fast.

Missy Kirtley