A Spellbinding ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ Panel At BroadwayCon!

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Jan 29, 2020

Posted by: Emma Pocock

Actor Interviews, Broadway, Conventions, Events, Fan Events, Fandom, Fans, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Interviews, News, Noma Dumezweni, Sonia Friedman, Steven Hoggett, Theater, TLC Interviews

We were lucky enough to not only see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway this week and tour backstage with James Snyder (Harry Potter) himself, but also saw the Cursed Child spotlight panel at BroadwayCon! If you missed all the action on social, find a handy round-up of the panel–and other Cursed Child shenanigans at the con–below:

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First up, we saw both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Lyric Theatre on Broadway. If you haven’t seen the result of the $33 million renovation at the Lyric Theatre, brought to life by Cursed Child set designer Christine Jones and her associate scenic designer/international scenic supervisor for the show, Brett J. Banakis, you simply MUST put visiting the theater on your bucket list. The carpets, the walls, the wall decor, the Patronuses (Patroni? cc: PotterCast) — everything in this theater screams Harry Potter, and immerses you in the magic of the show even more.

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Walking backstage (which we were able to do thanks to the ever-gracious James Snyder)  shows the extent of the magic behind the show itself, too, with beautiful costumes boasting fabrics specially imported from Japan, the same feathers used in outfits made for the Queen of England herself, endless pairs of rounded spectacles for James Snyder to use on stage (should a disaster strike and the glasses are forgotten, or break partway through a show!). We even spotted THE Hogwarts map used in the play displayed on the wall!

Part 2, in particular, shows off the full extent of the renovation, and why the show will likely never be able to tour (if you know which moment we’re talking about, you’ll understand!), and the ridiculous amounts of magic that make you go ‘How did they just do that?!’ will leave you with no questions about the talent of the cast, and the crew / creative behind the show. It’s truly theater like never before.

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We were delighted, then, to get a further glimpse into the lives of the Broadway cast, as the Year 2 cast, James Snyder (Harry Potter), Matt Mueller (Ron Weasley), Jenny Jules (Hermione Granger), Jonno Roberts (Draco Malfoy), Nicholas Podany (Albus Severus Potter), Bubba Weiler (Scorpius Malfoy) and Nadia Brown (Rose Granger-Weasley) joined our very own Melissa Anelli on stage to discuss the show at BroadwayCon!

Find our live Twitter thread, and our summary, below:

James Snyder, a Gryffindor with a Black Swan Patronus, kicked off the panel, telling the audience that he had originally auditioned for the role of Draco, but Des Kennedy asked him to come back to audition for Harry himself — he had just three days to study up!

He listened to the audiobooks — like Jamie Parker — when in the role of Harry:

“I listened to the audiobooks as we went through rehearsal. I would time the end of each book as we moved along through the scenes in the play. So the final scene in the play, I timed with finishing the last audiobook.”

Nicholas Podany, a Gryffindor with a St. Bernard Patronus, shared a hilarious story from his casting, too. His sister had an announcement to make at the same time he found out he got the role of Albus (and, as a huge Potter fan himself, he was understandably gobsmacked!). His big reveal to his sister went something like this:

Nicholas – “I got Albus!”

Sister – “Goddammit!”

Nicholas – “What?!”

Sister – “I’m pregnant, this was supposed to be my day!”

 

He also said he ADORED the books, and has a story similar to many younger Harry Potter fans:

“My mom started reading me the books when I was 6. She would do all the voices. There’s something in there that made me want to become an actor.”

 

 Jonno Roberts, a Hufflepuff with a Swamp Harrier Patronus, was with Nathan Fillion when he found out he got the role, and said it was “the ultimate nerdgasm”–never have we had a more relatable Draco quote! He came to the series thanks to one of his friends:
“I had a roommate around the time the third book came out, and they said ‘stop being a w**ker and read these books.”
Jenny Jules couldn’t tell anybody she was touring with that she’d gotten the role, so said in her dressing room she would have silent celebrations to herself – it must’ve been agonising to have to keep it to herself for that long! She also said that Nicholas Podany was on her first flight over to New York City after being cast, but she didn’t realise it was him–the first of many magical coincidences, we’re sure!
She came to the Harry Potter series thanks to her husband:
“My husband said ‘You’d really like this book. You’ll really love it,” and I thought he was making fun of me [being dyslexic] with children’s books, but I absolutely fell in love. I was really attached to Harry when I first read it.”
Nadia Brown , a Hufflepuff with a Minx Cat Patronus, has always been a huge fan of the series:
“I was a HUGE Harry Potter fan as a kid. Like, my first prescription pair of glasses had round lenses… This is just the perfect way for Harry Potter to come back into my life”
Bubba Weiler, a Hufflepuff with an Osprey Patronus, on the other hand, had a pretty unique story about finding his love of Potter:
“I did NOT read the books growing up. When I was going back to third grade, I was nervous to make friends, and everyone was reading the books. So I pretended I read them “and then my friend had a birthday party, and his mom dressed up as the Fat Lady. And to get in, you had to answer a Harry Potter question, and she asked me — it was such an easy question — she asked me “How does mail get delivered at Hogwarts?” and I was like “… the postman?!””
There were definitely a few “yikes”es from the audience between laughs! I think any fan would agree that sounds like a GREAT party.
Matt Mueller, a Gryffindor, didn’t read the final book until being cast as Ron–what a rollercoaster that must’ve been!
“My mom started reading the books to my little brother. But I never read the final book until [getting cast]. Once we started rehearsal, I started back at the beginning and read them again.”
We found out Matt and Jenny had a white and black stallion as a Patronus, and Nicholas Podany’s reaction (captured below) was simply the best — their casting was clearly meant to be!

 

 

Jonno went on to explain the depths of the play, and what portraying Draco has given him–he said the role of a troubled parent connects with him personally, and going out there and playing the part of Draco as Scorpius’s dad was particularly moving:
“The performance for me is so personally intense on so many levels … but getting to love this one on stage (Bubba / Scorpius) – he makes it easy”

Matt Mueller said his transformation into Ron thanks to the costuming department was a magical moment for him. He shares a dressing room with James Snyder (“Sorry pal”, James said wen Matt was explaining this), and Matt described the moment they first looked in the mirror in full costume:

“We were seeing ourselves in the mirror for the first time, in costume, we were like ‘WE LOOK LIKE THEM!’ Rehearsal is this massive thing, but to feel it and to see it in the other actors, that’s when you know you’re pulling it off.”

Nicholas Podany can always be relied on to give some heavily thought-out theories on Albus, and he did not disappoint on the BroadwayCon MainStage! He told the audience about how he chose to interpret Albus, making us well up in the process:

Jenny Jules spoke about her friendship with original Hermione, Noma Dumezweni, and asking her for advice about portraying such an iconic character:

“I’m a friend of Noma’s. She’s the most generous woman. So we’d meet and I’d say I CAN’T DO THIS. And I remember asking her “How did you approach Hermione?” … And she said “Darling, I just brought me… I just brought myself.””

“And I thought, I don’t have to be the Hermione people expect. I can just use my craft. I just have to bring myself to Hermione.”

The best part about seeing our favorite characters on stage is that these actors inhabit the characters in their own way, and interpret lines and scenes in their own manner – Cursed Child is a personification of the best parts of the fan community, and seeing a cast be so close-knit and a genuine family (as was said many-a-time on this panel), is simply a delight.

Then came the most dazzling part of the show so far: James Snyder pulled out a list he claimed to hold all the things “Jonno wasn’t allowed to say”, but before he was able to read them out, Jonno cast Incendio and the paper burst into flames — a genuine shock to everybody in the room (mostly Melissa, though!).

Matt Mueller discussed his favorite visual and magical moments of the show:

“The visual moments of the show still blows my mind. Even watching from the wings. And being the year 2 cast, we first got to experience the show as audience members. So we got to see the visuals, and the still blow my mind.”

Jenny shared her favorite magical moment:

“There’s a trick in the show that I absolutely love, and I still have no idea how it happens, even after a year. And that is the phone booth…”

Jonno and Bubba gave us some awesome trivia about one of the most captivating moments in the show–Staircase Ballet:

Now we want to know what that dialogue should have been!

Bubba also shared a game the cast play on set, that sounds pretty lucrative:

“Before each show we play a game called boot ball. And we try to get a ball into a boot. A dollar gets your three throws. It’s actually very difficult so the pot is pretty big. I won like $90 last week.”

Melissa inevitably asked Nick and James about The Pigeon Song, written from Albus’s perspective at the end of Cursed Child based on his joke about wanting to be a pigeon racer rather than a wizard:

Jonno then decided to tell us about a song he was writing — but James was having None. Of. It.:

We also got to hear the favorite lines of the cast members on stage:

James and Jonno acted out a pretty great mishap in their duelling scene — we wish we’d been there to see that! Watch it below:

On the topic of mishaps, Bubba was saying that Scorpius had quite a few lines in which he has to just give it his all and go for it, no regrets. Nick shared that he secretly revels these moments:

“I love when you go for the fences with the “My geekiness is a-quivering” line and there’s just SILENCE… I’m just like “I’m here for you, bud!” 

Finally, Nick drew the panel to a close with a beautiful summary of his thoughts on the play’s message to people:

“This play is about reminding people that no one, no one is ever a spare. No one is ever unloved. You always have help. There is so much love in this world. And there is so much love in this company. And I think that’s what this play is about. It’s about love.”

We were so grateful to see the cast come together before the Year 3 changeover (an owl told us rehearsals have recently started, so look out for the announcement on changeover dates, likely coming soon!), so thanks to the folks at Mischief Management / BroadwayCon and Cursed Child for making this happen!

In addition to the panel, Nadia Brown also visited the Cursed Child fan meet-up, and walked around the marketplace making fans’ days:

We also got to see the costumes up close in the BroadwayCon museum:

Overall, we had a magical time at BroadwayCon, and we’re glad it looks like everybody else did, too! What was your favorite moment of the panel? Have you seen the show on Broadway?





The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.