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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?

The Ferryman Himself
#1Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 5:09pm

This afternoon I overheard that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may be reducing the show to a single "part". At first, I was shocked. However, I do recall the show's lackluster performance and this shutdown may have pushed things this far. 

Has anyone else heard of this? Would this be the death of the two-part play, a trend I'm always torn about? 


What time is it?

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TotallyEffed
#2Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 5:19pm

JK Rowling totally sold out and is now destroying her legacy with bizarrely obsessive attacks on trans people. I don’t care what happens to this show or the brand anymore.

Maybe she should get off Twitter and write a sequel herself instead of leaving it to other writers. Or focus on making the Fantastic Beasts films watchable. Or just go away.

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JBroadway
#3Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 5:28pm

Their marketing team sent me an email some time back, asking a lot of questions about what incentives might make me more likely to buy tickets. One of the options was “if the show were only one part.” Maybe a lot of people picked that option.

It’s not surprising. The 2–part model worked really well for them when they were a hot ticket, but now that they’re relying on tourists, and now that the HP brand is losing steam somewhat, they were having to fight tooth and nail to get people into those seats. And when it comes to tourists, it’s really hard for them to block out the time to see 2 shows.

As for your question: “is this the end of the 2 part play?” Absolutely not. But it may be the end of the 2-part play in COMMERCIAL theatre.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about it when it comes to HP. The 2-part structure made for a really exciting, impactful experience when I saw it in London. But the text itself is pretty awful, and could definitely lose 2-hours’ worth of fat, if the play were re-written and re-structured. As a text, I think it would benefit from this change. As an experience? I’m not so sure.

Still, JK Rowling has become utterly insufferable, not just as a person, but as an “artist” too, so even though I enjoyed the production as a 2-parter, I’m also a bit glad to see this cash-grab decision blow up for them (in a small way, at least - it’s still a successful production overall). On some level, I would be curious to go back and see how the show changes as a single part play. But I have no intention of giving JK Rowling another cent.

Updated On: 7/21/20 at 05:28 PM

LushyBear
#4Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 5:35pm

The show needs work. I felt the first part was more impressive and fun from an effects-perspective, but at the end of the day, the story just needs work and should be brought back into the HP universe and the rules that were set-up there, in my opinion. 

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TotallyEffed
#5Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 5:47pm

As much as I enjoyed the production, it was clear that this wasn’t from JK Rowling herself. As Lushy said, the “rules” from the books were totally disregarded and solutions to unsolvable problems magically appeared when necessary (granted, JK is guilty of that in the books a couple of times herself lol). I know some people who don’t even consider it canon and think of it as something closer to fan-fiction.

And yes, I have zero interest in ever giving this woman money again. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt for a while but this is clearly the hill she is determined to die on. These tweets will be a stain on her career forever. Pretty sad all around.

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JBroadway
#6Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 5:58pm

TotallyEffed said: "As much as I enjoyed the production, it was clear that this wasn’t from JK Rowling herself."

The sad thing is...it WAS from her. She wrote the outline for the story, and even the things she didn't write, she gave it all the OK, and slapped her name on it. Her approval says as much about her artistic standards as if she had written it herself. If she thought she could do it better, she would have (as the Fantastic Beasts series proves). 

As Lushy said, the “rules” from the books were totally disregarded and solutions to unsolvable problems magically appeared when necessary (granted, JK is guilty of that in the books a couple of times herself lol).

More than a couple times. She did this ALL the time in the main series. 

I know some people who don’t even consider it canon and think of it as something closer to fan-fiction.

yes, I've heard that from a lot of people. It definitely reads like fan fiction, and considering it as such is an elegant method of trying to ignore it. Understandable. But her majesty says it's canon, so it is. Just like "Hogwarts students used to sh*t on the floor and use magic to make it disappear" is now a canon fact.

And yes, I have zero interest in ever giving this woman money again. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt for a while but this is clearly the hill she is determined to die on. These tweets will be a stain on her career forever. Pretty sad all around."

Totally agree! 

Updated On: 7/21/20 at 05:58 PM

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ErmengardeStopSniveling
#7Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 5:59pm

Do it. Reconfigure it as one part. Even one four-hour play is more accessible for the masses than a two-part play. And there's plenty of "fluff" and overly long scenes that can be trimmed without losing much substance. Could also scale down the cast size to reduce the weekly running cost...and a one-part play with a slightly smaller cast could also allow the show to tour traditional markets. A two-part play doesn't really work with subscription houses.

HP also has the value of multiple companies. By trying it out in San Fran or Australia, they could see how it works there, and then adjust the Broadway/West End productions.

Let's put it another way: if they never try it as one part and grosses keep dropping, the producers are going to kick themselves for the rest of their lives that they didn't try it in one city. Maybe it won't work. But thee's only one way to find out.

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Sutton Ross
#8Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 6:03pm

As we have seen from shows like The Inheritance, the two part model is just not popular anymore. I love them personally, but I understand why this show asked people those things, I don't know a thing about anything Harry Potter related, but I'm sure people would feel fine with it being just a one part play. 

Broadway61004
#9Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 6:16pm

This should have had 2 hours trimmed a long time ago and been a 3.5 hour one-part show instead of 2 parts. It will play so much better that way.

Alex Kulak2
#10Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 6:19pm

There is absolutely no reason on earth why a play based on a dumb fantasy book for middle schoolers needs to be 2 evenings long. Unless you're an Angels in America or a Kentucky Cycle, and you have a reason to justify every minute of your presence, make the play one part.

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VotePeron
#11Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 6:57pm

I've always imagined that when they decide to license the show, they will offer a one-part version. As a superfan of the show, I'm interested what it would be like - it can definitely be done, but there will be some larger trade offs than just dramaturgy. Nearly the entire 5.5 hour show is tightly choreographed and set to music, which will probably be a harder part to refigure than rewriting.

A lot of people call the show fan-fiction, and I think that's fair. I don't know if shortening the show and condensing everything that happens into a smaller timeframe will help or make the text issues more apparent. There are certain things you can't lose - they have to visit all 3 Triwizard tasks, Scorpius has to enter the World of Darkness, ending an act with the Dementors, etc - but the 3 minute Trolley Witch fight could 100% be axed. We'd probably see the majority of Part 2 remain, as Part 1 has much more fluff/doesn't push the story forward.

Lots of thoughts on this. But isn't a 3.5 hour, 2 intermission play also a hard sell? Each part as-is runs about 2:35/45, so there would need to be serious cuts to get this to 2:45 overall. We'll see - anything's possible.

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ErmengardeStopSniveling
#12Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 8:27pm

VotePeron said: "Lots of thoughts on this. But isn't a 3.5 hour, 2 intermission play also a hard sell? Each part as-is runs about 2:35/45, so there would need to be serious cuts to get this to 2:45 overall. We'll see - anything's possible."

One long play is much more accessible for audiences, both financially and in terms of time. A family from out-of-town could still see it on a day trip to the city. Someone walking by the theatre at 6:45 could still get the full story in one evening.

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quizking101
#13Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 9:03pm

Sutton Ross said: "As we have seen from shows like The Inheritance, the two part model is just not popular anymore. I love them personally, but I understand why this show asked people those things, I don't know a thing about anything Harry Potter related, but I'm sure people would feel fine with it being just a one part play."

I think the problem with THE INHERITANCE was that it was a primarily unknown entity with unknown actors riding in on a good wave of London press. Where they shot themselves in the foot severely was 1) the ridiculously high initial price the tickets were being sold for and 2) creating an uneven performance schedule and not bothering to offer any sort of discount or incentive to buy both parts at the same time (like Harry Potter or AIA). They got cocky and closed earlier than intended (though COVID was what ultimately put it out of it’s misery).


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Jarethan
#14Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 9:17pm

Sutton Ross said: "As we have seen from shows like The Inheritance, the two part model is just not popular anymore. I love them personally, but I understand why this show asked people those things, I don't know a thing about anything Harry Potter related, but I'm sure people would feel fine with it being just a one part play."

The two-part format was never that popular, with the exception of the original production of Nicholas Nickleby, which was an event before its transfer to NYC was announced.  It was also a limited engagement that did not extend a day.  When it was represented a year or two later, it never really caught on, a key reason being that it was no longer an event.

Shortly after it ran, maybe a season or two, The Kentucky Cycle -- having already won the Pulitzer Prize -- was presented and never caught on.  Half a dozen years ago, Wolf Hall opened, got some excellent reviews, and never caught on.  The original Angels in America opening was only the Millenium Approaches portion, with Perestroika appearing in the next season.  Re the revival, I remember lots of postings on this board opining that the key reason it was not a bigger hit was probably because it was a two-parter that required a significant investment of time and money.

I did not see The Inheritance because it did not work for my calendar (it began previews right after I passed through NYC on the way South for the winter).  Had it been in previews, I probably would have debated getting tickets because it required 2 of my limited slots (we only had time for 5 'slots' that visit).  

Harry Potter has run as long as it has, despite being two parts, because of the phenomenon that is Harry Potter.  That it could not sustain its initial demand is certainly impacted by the fact that it is two parts.  I have not seen the show thus far because I was initially unable to get tickets; and then, when I focused on their cost, I was unwilling to pay the high prices twice.  By the time I had concluded that I was ready to buy two sets of tickets -- due to pretty good discounts and availability -- the Pandemic hit.  I suspect that I would be ready to purchase discounted tickets post-Pandemic; but I have to admit that I would have already seen it if it were only one part; and, generally limited to some number of performances each visit, I would be much more anxious if it were one part.  Based on everything I have read, it is an extremely well produced production, build on a modest play.  For me, that does not scream 'must see' when I have to sit through two parts.  Get it to a 4 hour play and I am there.

Bottom line IMO: with the exception of Harry Potter and the initial limited engagement of Nicholas Nickelby, both viewed as major events from the outset, 2-part productions have never been successful.

Updated On: 7/21/20 at 09:17 PM

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VotePeron
#15Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 10:11pm

Two things

- The Inheritance was not marketed as two parts in any way in NYC. It wasn’t on posters, the marquee, or ads. They did Part 1 five times a week. The general public had no clue it was two parts until they really looked, and if they did, the website clearly stated that seeing only Part 1 counted as a full experience.

- The idea that seeing both parts of Cursed Child is too expensive is a myth - it’s average ticket price has been lower than most shows on Broadway for over a year. Cursed Child tickets from $40-$60/per part have been readily available for the entirety of Year 2 (March ‘19-March ‘20). This includes the week of the shows, you’ve been able to get front orchestra seats for both parts for less than $100 total. And thats public-facing on Ticketmaster. I think families (and apparently seasoned theater goers alike) just assume it’s sold out/impossible to get tickets, so they don’t try. The show does a ton of same-day ticket sales because of this.

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JBroadway
#16Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 10:57pm

VotePeron said: "- The idea that seeing both parts of Cursed Child is too expensive is a myth - it’s average ticket price has been lower than most shows on Broadway for over a year. Cursed Child tickets from $40-$60/per part have been readily available for the entirety of Year 2 (March ‘19-March ‘20). This includes the week of the shows, you’ve been able to get front orchestra seats for both parts for less than $100 total. And thats public-facing on Ticketmaster. I think families (and apparently seasoned theater goers alike) just assume it’s sold out/impossible to get tickets, so they don’t try. The show does a ton of same-day ticket sales because of this."

 

Everything you said here is true. Including the part about people just assuming they can't get tickets. But ticket price is not the primary issue (at least not anymore). The issue is time commitment.

A family of Harry Potter fans could plan this into their schedule without much trouble. But casual fans who come to NY without planning out their Broadway shows have a really hard time fitting this is, I think. Unless they've planned it out ahead of time, people don't want to spend a full day, or commit two full evenings, to seeing a single Broadway show. By the time they get to NY, they've already planned things during that time, or they feel nervous about making a commitment like that and blocking off their limited time. 

So the production struggles to capture that same-week/same-day market, which is a big market, especially for a show that otherwise would have mass tourist appeal. 

 

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Sutton Ross
#17Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/21/20 at 10:59pm

The Inheritance was not marketed as two parts in any way in NYC. It wasn’t on posters, the marquee, or ads. They did Part 1 five times a week. The general public had no clue it was two parts until they really looked, and if they did, the website clearly stated that seeing only Part 1 counted as a full experience.

Yeah, that's not true. Anyone who was interested in seeing it would have looked it up online. It clearly stated it was in two parts, and when it opened all the reviews stated as such. No one was duped or shocked in any way. 

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darreyl102
#18Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/22/20 at 12:19am

Alex Kulak2 said: "There is absolutely no reason on earth why a play based on a dumb fantasy book for middle schoolers needs to be 2 evenings long. Unless you're anAngels in Americaor aKentucky Cycle, and you have a reason to justify every minute of your presence, make the play one part."

The films themselves averaged about 2 hours and 30 some minutes,  and generally a musical or play has a longer running time than a film so, it's not surprising that the play would be very long. It may be "Dumb" to you, but is a franchise that has been exceptionally popular for 20 years. 

That said, trimming could be done. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was still longer than the average play or musical, given the length of its source material. 


Darreyl with an L!

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ColorTheHours048
#19Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/22/20 at 7:31am

Obviously anything is possible, but from a stagehand perspective, the changeover from part 1 to part 2 is a nightmare. It’s so intense on two show days, it drove a stage manager friend of mine to quit the business entirely. It was the last straw. Shortening that changeover time and possibly creating more times when this would occur is one way that shows how little the producers care about the show itself and how much more focused they are on money.

Also, f*ck JK Rowling. She’ll never get another cent out of me.

Dkinny23
#20Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/22/20 at 8:21am

Not sure if this has ANYTHING to do with anything but when I walked passed the theater the other day, they were doing all sorts of construction on it. Not sure if it was just exterior or also interior. Don’t think they would do a remodel if they were making it a one part play instead of two, but it did make me think twice that they were maybe closing down as a show. Again this was just my thoughts from seeing the construction and not heard from anywhere else.

I would definitely be curious to see the changes they made if it was condensed to a one part play but I didn’t mind the two parts honestly, felt like such an event dedicating the whole day to that show, which I loved!

JennH
#21Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/22/20 at 10:21am

At first when I read this, my brain when immediately to them just nixing part 2 which of course wouldn't make any sense. My brain is still in a morning fog. I feel like this could go either way, not just for the financial implications of having been dark for so long but also JK shooting herself in the foot way too often lately. 

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yankeefan7
#22Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/22/20 at 11:13am

I saw both parts in London at the end of 2018 with my entire family. My wife and two daughters are big "Harry Potter" fans and I was a casual fan. We had had no problem seeing both parts in one day, planned our day in London around it. Went to a few places in London in the morning before the afternoon show and we made reservation to eat at nice place called "The Cambridge" after Part 1. The restaurant was right across the street from the Palace Theater. Everybody really liked both parts of the play and I don't think they should change it to one part.

Updated On: 7/22/20 at 11:13 AM

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Scarlet Leigh
#23Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/22/20 at 11:27am

Can the script be trimmed down from one part to two? Absolutely. It's overstuffed as it is and there is certainly fat to trim out. 

Can the play be trimmed down from one part to two? That's not as easy to do. It would basically mean totally overhauling the entire production and having to put it back into tech rehearsals. It's a very elaborate technical production so to cut from it means you need to now rework the flow of how things move, where they move, how much time you have to move it, re-block your actors so they are in the right places at the time times while not getting in the way of moving sets. And there as so many 'tricks' worked into the show you then also need to decide which tricks you keep and which ones get the ax. And as ColortheHours said above, the tech from Part 1 is totally different from the tech in Part 2. It takes that break between parts for them to reset for what might be the same continued story at the core of the script but is a totally different play in the tech of it all.

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BroadwayGuy12
#24Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/22/20 at 12:35pm

Scarlet Leigh said: "Can the play be trimmed down from one part to two? That's not as easy to do. It would basically mean totally overhauling the entire production and having to put it back into tech rehearsals."

This is true, but we should also remember that they're in a unique place where, regardless of whether or not they cut the show down, they're still going to have to re-rehearse and re-tech should they decide to reopen. Reducing the show to a single part would certainly make this process more laborious and more expensive, but I'm not surprised to hear that the producers are using this time to evaluate ways they can better position themselves if/when they decide to reopen.

SouthernCakes
#25Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - One Part?
Posted: 7/22/20 at 12:45pm

Can you explain what makes the change over so elaborate? Really curious about it!