Jamie Parker Talks Harry’s Journey and How the Audiences Help Create the Magic in “Cursed Child”

This week, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened on Broadway at the Lyric Theatre. Jamie Parker, who plays adult Harry Potter, has been making the rounds to discuss the show as fan excitement grows even more (if that’s possible!). Entertainment Weekly recently sat down with him to talk about his experiences with the play, and what audience members might want to know before seeing the show. Here are some highlights from their conversation.

When asked about the difference between the audiences in New York City and those in London, Parker laughed and said New York is “a couple of notches up from what we’re used to. It’s great.” Cursed Child reached No. 6 in box office sales after only its first week and recently set a box office record for highest-grossing play, so it’s no surprise the turnout feels louder and larger than ever.

Parker also explained how the show feels more immersive than it did in London, due to the stunning renovations of the Lyric Theatre, which have made the audience and cast members feel at home.

Entertainment Weekly asked Parker if he thought audience members should read the script before seeing the show, but Parker thinks not:

It’s not the experience of seeing the show. For my money, I wouldn’t read it — I’d discover the show in real time.

Audience members who haven’t read the script, then, might be interested to know what the heart of the story is. Parker believes it’s all about Harry’s journey to become the father he never had while “having no idea how to be a dad, really… The father figures he’s had have all died violently or they’ve been lacking. So that’s what he’s trying to figure out over the course of the show.”

Parker also wonderfully explained how Cursed Child connects the older generation of readers with the newer generation.

Cursed Child is this double-pronged thing where it’s for the original generation who are continuing to relate to these characters and find solace with these characters as they go through their lives, but also introducing a new generation who are coming into this world for the first time and they get to see it through the eyes of Albus and Scorpius and Rose.

On what audience members should expect from the show, Parker explained, “They’re definitely going to see a piece of theater; they’re not going to see a movie or a rehearsed reading of a novel.” He acknowledged that this might be a new and exciting experience for many theatergoers. Parker also described the sense of “conspiracy” between the actors and the audience as they work together to create magic onstage.

There’s that understanding that this is a story that’s full of magic but it’s going to take the audience to make the magic happen just as much as the actors or the budget or the so-called special effects. The effects don’t have anything to do with computer-generated imagery — they’re happening live in the room, sharing the same space. It’s as much about what you can’t see as what you can see. And sharing the space with 1,500 like-minded people who are also keen and eager to hear the story is something that you rarely get in a movie house.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child officially opened on April 22, 2018. When will you be seeing the show? Did you read the script first, or are you waiting until you see it live?