"The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."
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J.K. Rowling is the author of the seven Harry Potter novels, which have sold over 450 million copies and have been translated into 79 languages, and three companion books originally published for charity. She is also the author of The Casual Vacancy, a novel for adults published in 2012, and, under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, is the author of the Cormoran Strike crime series. J.K. Rowling is making her screenwriting debut and is a producer on the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a further extension of the Wizarding World, due for release in November 2016.
Jack Thorne writes for theatre, film, television and radio. His theatre credits include Hope and Let The Right One In, both directed by John Tiffany, The Solid Life of Sugarwater for the Graeae Theatre Company, Bunny for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Stacy for the Trafalgar Studios, 2nd May 1997 and When You Cure Me for the Bush. His adaptations include The Physicists for the Donmar Warehouse and Stuart: A Life Backwards for Hightide. On film his credits include War Book, A Long Way Down and The Scouting Book for Boys. For television his credits include The Last Panthers, Don’t Take My Baby, This Is England, The Fades, Glue and Cast-Offs and the upcoming National Treasure. In 2012 he won BAFTAs for best series (The Fades) and best serial (This Is England 88).
John Tiffany directed Once for which he was the recipient of multiple awards both in the West End and on Broadway. As Associate Director of the Royal Court, his work includes The Twits, Hope and The Pass. He was the director of Let The Right One In for the National Theatre of Scotland, which transferred to the Royal Court, West End and St. Ann’s Warehouse. His other work for the National Theatre of Scotland includes Macbeth (also Broadway), Enquirer, The Missing, Peter Pan, The House of Bernarda Alba, Transform Caithness: Hunter, Be Near Me, Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us, The Bacchae, Black Watch, for which he won the Olivier and Critics’ Circle Best Director Awards, Elizabeth Gordon Quinn and Home: Glasgow. Other recent credits include The Glass Menagerie at A.R.T. and on Broadway and The Ambassador at BAM. Tiffany was Associate Director of the National Theatre of Scotland from 2005 to 2012, and was a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University in the 2010-2011 academic year.
Playwright Thorne and director Tiffany (who previously collaborated on Hope and Let the Right One In) worked with J.K. Rowling to extend the "Harry Potter" universe with an eighth "installment" in the form of the script from the new West End production. The book starts where the last chapter of Deathly Hallows left off—19 years after the main events of the series—with Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione all saying goodbye to their children as they leave for Hogwarts. As Albus, Harry and Ginny's youngest son, attends Hogwarts, he is plagued by the Potter legacy—something he never wanted—and, as he's sorted into Slytherin, is terrible at Quidditch, and constantly compared to his famous father, he becomes reclusive and angsty. His sole friend is Scorpius Malfoy, the only son of Draco Malfoy—prompting further separation from his father. When Albus hatches a plot to go back in time to save the life of Cedric Diggory—what Albus views as the biggest mistake his father made—time becomes distorted and Harry is left to examine his own life, his relationship with his son, and how love can sometimes be much more complicated than it seems. This is an interesting extension of the "Harry Potter" universe, but readers should go into it knowing that it's its own beast. Rowling didn't write it (much to the fury and vitriol of many fans), and it is in script form, so it loses some of the magic that won over millions of readers back when it all began. However, many of the themes that made the original series great are still in abundance—love and friendship conquering all, facing your flaws and accepting them—so that it simultaneously still feels like a "Harry Potter" tale while remaining its own story. VERDICT It is unlikely that the script will create new Potter followers, owing to its format (reading a script vs. reading a novel is a whole other ballgame), but it's a well-crafted and enjoyable read.—Tyler Hixson, School Library Journal
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