Theater Round-Up: ‘Cursed Child’s’ Samuel Blenkin and Steven Hoggett Bring Magic to ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ and More!

Dec 16, 2019

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Broadway, Fandom, Fans, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, HP Cast, Interviews, News, Round-Up, Staunton, Steven Hoggett, Theater, Theater Round-Up, West End

In this week’s theater round-up, Cursed Child features predominantly yet again, though not because of the Potter production alone. Magic, after all, is found on many theater stages.

Samuel Blenkin and Steven Hoggett joined the stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Cursed Child producer Colin Callender invested in the innovative and immersive theater company Witness and Daniel Radcliffe’s Endgame began rehearsals at the Old Vic.

There is Potter news, too, of course. Sarita Amani Nash and Jon Steiger spoke with Theater Mania about their casting in the San Francisco production, and Nicholas Podany did an impromptu performance with a group of high schoolers at the stage door outside the Broadway production last night.

Read on for all the details!

Samuel Blenkin, Steven Hoggett Bring Magic to The Ocean at the End of the Lane


On the other side of the pond, Samuel Blenkin is making a splash in the theatrical adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The best-selling fantasy would be right up Blenkin’s alley, coming from his own run in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Blenkin plays Scorpius Malfoy, taking over from original cast member Anthony Boyle, and the charisma and stage presence necessary to pull off the part is clearly serving him well at the London National Theatre. In a review which makes a point to mention Blenkin’s standout performance, The Hollywood Reporter noted:

“Aptly enough for a story about a lonely, 12-year-old boy (played here by Samuel Blenkin, outstanding) who is befriended by a trio of immortal, near-all-powerful beings posing as a daughter, mother and grandmother in a rural English farmhouse, the production fruitfully teams up young and established talents.”


The play is also well served by the contributions of Steven Hoggett, known for his masterful movement direction on the Cursed Child. The movement, paired with lighting, puppetry and other tricks, comes together to create an astounding production. According to the review: “It’s a magic show in every sense of the phrase.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane runs through Jan. 25, 2020 and is being promoted as suitable for 12 year olds and up. However, those sensitive to frightening material should be cautious. Read the full, in-depth Hollywood Reporter review here.

Daniel Radcliffe’s Endgame Begins Rehearsals at the Old Vic

Daniel Radcliffe, along with acclaimed costar Alan Cummings, kicked off rehearsals for Endgame today at the Old Vic Theatre.

The macabre comedy from Samuel Beckett is described as follows:

“In a bare room, Hamm, an old, blind tyrant, is locked in a stalemate with his servant Clov. Interrupted by the nostalgic musings of Hamm’s ancient, dustbin-dwelling parents, this bleakly funny double act cling stubbornly to their routine of casual savagery and mutual dependence.”

Cummings will play the part of Hamm, while Radcliffe will play Clov. Though synonymous with the name Harry Potter, Radcliffe is also a stage veteran and undoubtedly looking forward to his stage return.

Endgame, directed by Richard Jones, runs from Feb. 1, 2020 through March 28, 2020. Book tickets here!

Sarita Amani Nash and Jon Steiger Talk Casting for Cursed Child San Francisco


The casting of Sarita Amani Nash and Jon Steiger in the San Francisco production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is as magical as the world they find themselves in. Both actors found themselves working as ushers at the Lyric Theater in New York City, the odd “survival” job until the next acting job came along. And both found themselves enchanted by the Broadway production, realizing after watching it over and over, that this was the one they’d been waiting for–they wanted to audition.

According to Theater Mania, Nash said:

“Seeing how they were casting it was really exciting. There were opportunities that I didn’t expect. I realized I could do it.”

Steiger added:

“I told her she needed to go in for it…Once I had seen the show in its entirety, I was hooked. I knew that in some form or fashion, I was going to be in this show.”

So they went through the process and did it the “old-fashioned way.” Neither revealed their positions as house staff until later in the process, wanting to be viewed as actors, not ushers. Steiger, who was eventually cast in the lead role of Scorpius Malfoy, endured two months and seven rounds of auditions, while Nash, now an ensemble player, got the callback in a matter of weeks.

There were many secrets to keep along the way, but now that the San Francisco production has officially opened, and they’ve experienced the demands, and wonders, of the show as actors, they’re to better appreciate the journey and their part in it. Nash observed:

“It’s so fun, but it’s a lot. Two parts, so many capes, lots of running around. I especially have fun because I’m a swing. I get to dip my toe in a lot of different parts in the show, which is really exciting.”

Steiger also reflected:

“I’ve seen the show so many times, but I’m not tired of it. I thought I knew what it was going to be and was quick to learn that I didn’t know. It was like coming in with a clean slate.”

Read the full TheaterMania feature here, and purchase tickets to the San Francisco production here!

Nicholas Podany Joins High Schoolers in Wand Dance


Back on the east coast under Broadway’s Great White Way, Nicholas Podany plays the current Albus Severus Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and after yet another spell-binding performance, something surprisingly special happened at the stage door early this morning.

Podany was met by a group of 40 high schoolers from Florida. This ambitious ensemble of students informed him that they knew the wand dance. So, naturally, Podany joined them and gave it a go. The results were magical. Watch the video of the impromptu wand dance below. What do you think? They did pretty well, didn’t they! 

Colin Callender Invests in Witness Theater Company


Colin Callender, chairman and CEO of the production company Playground, is best known to Potter fans for his partnership with Sonia Friedman, jointly bringing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to stages around the world. According to Deadline, the Tony and Golden Globe-winning company is branching out yet again to invest in the new theater company Witness.

Witness was founded by Artistic Director Michael Bontatibus, formerly the creative executive at Playground, and is now bringing sold-out productions such as Noirtown and The Visitation to the New York theater community. Callender commented:

“What is so exciting about Michael’s work at Witness is that through a brilliant combination of imagination and ingenuity he created fully immersive experiences with both Noirtown and The Visitation that attracted audiences in their droves…The success of both productions is proof positive that people are hungry for experiential storytelling that is bold, innovative and entertaining.”

Playground’s partnership with Witness will enable them to “expand the scale and frequency of their extraordinary productions, and to further explore the possibilities of this form-breaking medium with them.” The next Witness production will be Last Days of the Tsars, running at the Stimson-Green Mansion in Seattle from Feb. 25 to March 15, 2020.

Imelda Staunton Cast in Hello, Dolly

Finally, Imelda Staunton, the renowned theater actress known for her portrayal of Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter film series, has been cast as Dolly in the London production of Hello, Dolly opening in August 2020.

Staunton has signed on for a 30-week run at the Adelphi Theare, and fans can book tickets now here.

Dominic Cooke will direct, but other casting and production information has not been announced. Leaky will report details as they become available.  

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.