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'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' director John Tiffany talks recasting, Broadway casting, and the truth about *that* owl

By
Andrzej Lukowski
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In this week’s magazine we’ve got an interview with ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ director John Tiffany with regards to his extraordinary West End production of ‘The Glass Menagerie (read our five-star-review here).

He also had a few titbits to share about ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’. First up – recasting is almost complete for the West End run, and will be announced soon.

'It’s almost done. Has it been hard? We’ve put a lot of work into it, but at the same time good actors want to do it because they know it needs good actors, they know their skill will be necessary to make it a success.'

Second, I asked whether the cast for the 2018 Broadway production would be American or British, to which he answered: ‘I think it’ll be a mixture – it’s part of what American audiences want, proper toffs.’

Not a long statement, but if the leads are going to be Brits it’s worth considering that they’ll almost certainly be first offered to Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni and Paul Thornley, the current West End stars (who may of course not want to make another lengthy commitment to the show).

Finally, the really big question: I asked for the full story behind the live owl that featured in the very first preview of ‘The Cursed Child’, but got stage fright and was promptly dismissed.

He said: ‘I’d read “H is for Hawk” the summer before and got very romantic about the idea of birds of prey, and the handlers very much encouraged the idea I might develop a relationship with this bird of prey. And then as we started working in the space it became very apparent – well, they hate the heat, they keep them refrigerated in these vans, and the audience really spook them. It could have worked and it could have been gorgeous, but I realised we didn’t need it. It felt a bit showing off and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. So I decided to cut it and nobody argued with me, including the owls.’

So, there you go.

‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is at the Palace Theatre until Apr 29 2018.

It is due to open at the Lyric Theatre on Broadway in the spring of 2018.

Read our full interview with John Tiffany.

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