Theater Talk

FULL EPISODE

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child director John Tiffany and movement director Steven Hoggett discuss creating the blockbuster show with librettist John Thorne and J.K Rowling. Gordon Cox of Variety co-hosts with Susan Haskins.

AIRED: April 30, 2018 | 0:27:14
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TRANSCRIPT

>> HASKINS: Coming up on...

>> HOGGETT: It's an incredibly

precious event, "Harry Potter,"

and if we've got it wrong,

you can't put lights around it

and then hopefully push it up.

It would have just died.

>> HASKINS: You could

spoil it easy.

>> HOGGETT: It would be

forgotten about.

We'd have been rinsed.

It would have been quietly,

to where nobody remembered it.

>> HASKINS: From New York City,

this is "Theater Talk."

I'm Susan Haskins,

and with me this week is my

guest co-host Gordon Cox,

Theater Editor ofVariety.

Welcome, Gordon.

And this week our focus is

"Harry Potter

and the Cursed Child,"

the most anticipated play

of the season.

It was a smash hit in London,

where it won nine

Olivier Awards, and it has just

opened on Broadway with the

London production in tact.

Our guests are the show's

co-creator and director,

John Tiffany, and the

movement director,

Steven Hoggett.

Both John and Steven are old

hands at creating theater on

Broadway.

And they first made their mark

here on Broadway with their 2011

Tony-winning show, "Once,"

and have gone on to do

so many things.

So, we are taping this

while this show is in

rehearsals and previews,

and I haven't seen it.

But I invited Gordon here,

who went all the way to London

last year, and knows the score.

So, Gordon?

>> COX: So, John and Steven, as

I understand it, this project

came about when the producers,

Sonia Friedman and

Colin Callender, approached

J.K. Rowling, who'd been

sort of besieged with offers

to create the next

chapter of "Harry Potter,"

whatever that is.

Convinced her to do it,

and then you were brought on

board on the project?

I know that you were sort of at

the top of their wish list for

people they wanted to work with.

>> TIFFANY: Well,

that's what they tell me.

[ Laughs ]

>> COX: Well, yeah. Exactly.

>> TIFFANY: Well, actually,

Joe had been approached about

adapting --

>> This is Jo Rowling.

>> Yeah, yeah. Sorry, guys.

Jo. J.K. Rowling. Yeah.

>> COX: She's "Jo" to her fans.

>> TIFFANY: She'd been

approached about adapting the

books as musicals,

and she just said no to all of

it -- or as stadium shows

or as kind of theme-park events.

And she said no to everything.

And then Sonia and Colin

had approached her, met with her

in Edinburgh, and they'd kind of

got her into conversation about

Harry as an adult, and how do

you deal with the fact that, for

11 years, you didn't know that

anyone loved you and that you

were orphan and you had a

horrible, horrible life,

and how that kind of affects you

when you become an adult.

And at that point,

they brought me on.

And I think originally

they were imagining something

a bit smaller than we've

currently got now,

with 40 actors.

>> HOGGETT: The whole to-do.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah, two parts and

a purpose-built theater.

But I started to talk about how

we might move the story on.

>> HASKINS: And the writer...?

>> TIFFANY: Jack Thorne.

>> HASKINS: Jack Thorne.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah.

Jack and Steven came on board

immediately, and we started to

talk about actually starting

from where the last book ends,

which is a chapter called

"19 Years Later,"

the epilogue where Harry and

Ginny are at the

Hogwarts Express, about to send

their middle child,

Albus Severus Potter, to

Hogwarts for the first time.

So we thought that we would

start there and then move on.

>> HASKINS: So when did you

start in on these meetings

between Jack and John and Jo?

>> HOGGETT: I was actually here

in New York when John rang me.

I was working on

"Rocky" at the time.

I was in tech, and it was dark.

And I was cold. It was freezing.

And I was a bit glum,

and John said,

"I've been asked to work on

'Harry Potter.'

What do you think about it?"

I said the word "yes"

before the sentence ended.

[ Laughter ]

And then I realized that John

was, "Okay. Let's,"

and he put the phone down.

And I suddenly was like,

"Ooh. What have I

just thrown him at?"

So, I remember doing a very

quick watch of the films again.

And it was about six months

later, towards the end of the

year, and you'd already started

to talk to Jack about some of

the things in the plot.

And then we had a workshop.

That was 2013.

So it wasn't until 2014 that we

got some workshop time.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah.

>> HOGGETT: And some space

to start making material.

>> COX: Were you fans

before this?

How well did you know the books

and/or movies?

>> HOGGETT: I thought

I was a fan.

Until the fans turned up.

>> COX: [ Laughs ]

>> TIFFANY: Yeah. Yeah.

>> HOGGETT: 'Cause the fans are

devotional, and I do not

count myself as being as

knowledgeable as any of those.

>> TIFFANY: I think you

had to be of a particular age,

didn't you?

If you were 11 when that first

book came out -- and, you know,

which 11-year-old doesn't think

that they're leading the wrong

life, and don't want a letter to

come from an owl to tell them

they really should be going to

Scotland to train to be a wizard

or a witch, you know?

But we were just a little bit

older, a couple of years...

>> HOGGETT: Yeah,

just one or two.

>> TIFFANY: ...when the first

book came out.

But I'd actually met Jo when --

My first-ever job

was in Edinburgh, at the

Traverse Theatre,

which is a new writing

theater there.

And I was an assistant director.

And the Traverse was one of the

first places in Edinburgh to

sell cappuccinos.

And so it had a brilliant café,

and I was in there quite a lot

meeting actors and writers.

And I kept seeing this woman

with a pram that sat writing,

and we got to saying hello to

each other --

>> COX: No.

No, I don't believe that.

Is that true?

>> TIFFANY: Honestly.

Totally true.

>> COX: [ Laughs ]

>> TIFFANY: Got to saying hello

to each other.

She would sit with a cappuccino

for like three hours, writing,

as it turned out,

"Harry Potter and the Philoso--

Sorcerer's Stone," here.

And then I realized, about 18

months later, when the first

book came out, that it had been

J.K. Rowling.

>> HASKINS: Well, when you met

her, did she tell you

what she was doing?

>> TIFFANY: No, no.

Actually, now and again she'd

say, "Do you mind if I...?"

I was like, "No, no, no."

I thought -- yeah.

I was worried she was writing a

play, a terrible play that she

would try and make us put on.

[ Laughs ]

>> HASKINS: Well, did she strike

you, in those conversations, as

this extraordinary mind?

Or you were just taken...?

>> TIFFANY: I mean, it was just

literally a greeting,

and I would just say,

"You're absolutely fine.

You stay there

as long as you want."

She wrote that first book

in three cafés in rotation.

>> COX: So "Harry Potter"

wouldn't have happened without

you, is what you like to say.

[ Laughter ]

>> COX: I think that's right.

Yeah, exactly.

>> HOGGETT: Couldn't have wrote

it without a cappuccino.

>> TIFFANY: I think she'd have

written it anyway.

[ Laughter ]

And so when we met again in

2014 and she recognized me --

obviously I knew who she was --

but she went, "Oh, we've met

before, haven't we?"

And I kind of recapped the

story, and she was like,

"Oh, okay."

So that was a lovely way in.

>> HASKINS: In the description

of -- you're working together

with Jack Thorne and

J.K. Rowling on this story --

you say, "Well, we just let our

imaginations run wild.

We just let it go

wherever it went."

Then you came --

Were there places in the script

where you went, "How are we

going to realize that?"

Or were you just good with

everything?

>> HOGGETT: No, most of it was,

"How are we going to do that?"

Most of it was, I think.

But in some ways -- I think

certainly the way that Jack

has confidence, certainly, in

John's vision of things,

and the way that I might

implement performers.

I mean, John, you kind of just

said, "Jack, just write.

Go for anything."

And as a trio, when they came

back with that first --

Actually, was it the first

20 pages that came first?

>> TIFFANY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

>> HOGGETT: The first 20 pages

came across.

And just from the get-go, you

just knew it would be

incredibly challenging.

But I had never seen something

like that onstage before.

>> HASKINS: But did you feel

like, "I can do it"?

>> HOGGETT: No.

[ Haskins laughs ]

Abject failure, first of all.

>> HASKINS: Really? Yeah.

>> HOGGETT: I think so.

But also, I think,

because the theatricality of it

was so difficult,

I will say that it saved us from

ever really worrying about

whether we were dealing with

Harry Po-- It was so --

That fear was so large and

prominent, as theater-makers.

I genuinely think that we forgot

that it was "Harry Potter," that

it was this massive filmic event

and this huge literary kind of

canon.

It slight got put on the

back burner because we had too

many things to worry about on

our page.

>> HASKINS: What was your

biggest worry?

>> HOGGETT: That it wouldn't

be magical.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah.

>> HOGGETT: And that we'd have

to resort to something

other than theater.

We said from the get-go that

the reason why we decided a yes

on this is because we had a

vision in our heads where

theater did it best.

And that's something that's

hard to make people believe,

that that's a true comment

or statement.

>> HASKINS: So, what would

theater do best?

>> HOGGETT: The light -- yeah.

>> TIFFANY: Everything.

[ Laughter ]

>> HASKINS: Are there

projections?

>> TIFFANY: Video, no.

Not as -- no.

Not that you would know.

>> HOGGETT: So there's no kind

of

big CGI attempt or anything.

It's all very low-fi.

It's theater. It's principle.

Back to basics.

>> HASKINS: But, now, you have

people flying, am I correct?

>> TIFFANY: Uh, maybe.

>> HASKINS: All right.

You see, I can't give away

spoilers because I don't

know them.

But, now, what did you find

particularly magical?

No spoilers, please.

>> COX: You know, actually,

what I found magical...

First of all, there's one really

cool effect, that I'll

tell you about after this,

that was my favorite thing,

and you proceeded to do it

over and over, and it made me

happy every time.

But what I actually found most

magical was, because you

concentrated on making it so

theatrical, I felt like there

were moments --

My favorite moment is this

entirely wordless -- I don't

even know how it's notated in

the script -- sequence that you

guys call the staircase ballet,

that is a really beautiful piece

of theatrical storytelling.

And it could only exist in

theater.

There is no other medium in

which that story could

be told in that exact way.

And it feels...

It's really struck me as the

kind of show, the kind of moment

where at least one kid in that

audience is gonna sit up and go,

"Wait a minute.

Theater can do this?"

And maybe want to see some more.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah. I mean,

it kind of comes out of

me and Steven and Jack working

together, and Christine Jones,

the designer on

"Let the Right One In," as well.

We've known each other

for a long time.

>> COX: Which is another

unlikely story to adapt into

theater.

That's about vampires.

Child vampires, in fact.

[ Laughter ]

One child vampire.

>> TIFFANY: And there was a

sequence in that where --

Basically, it's the

falling-in-love sequence, where

Oscar, the bullied boy, and Eli,

the vampire, and it's where they

run around the stage between

silver birch trees, kind of

swapping and grabbing off each

other foam bananas, don't they?

>> HOGGETT: Mm.

>> TIFFANY: And it's Jack's

favorite moment

in the whole show.

And so when it came to this

particular sequence, where

things are -- the relationship

is in a dark place for Albus and

Scorpius, who are the next

generation two main characters.

We thought that we'd

give that a go.

I mean, it also kind of taps

into the fact that, you know,

how do you put Hogwarts onstage?

Because it is a magical place,

as Steven said.

But we could smell something,

couldn't we, about suitcases,

cloaks, and staircases...

>> HOGGETT: Staircases. Yeah.

>> TIFFANY: ...that we just

thought was very, very, very

theatrical.

>> COX: The visual vocabulary is

very sparse, we should say.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah.

I mean, tell the crew that.

>> COX: Well, exactly.

It's actually quite a lot.

>> HOGGETT: Check the budget.

>> COX: But it's kept to

a very minimal kind of

palette, I guess.

>> TIFFANY: That's right, yeah.

Because, I mean, you know,

theater is all about suggestion

and imagination and all those

things.

So I knew that Steven would have

great fun with creating Hogwarts

out of staircases that would be

manipulated by actors.

And you did, didn't you?

>> HOGGETT: But that scene in

particular, it was a scripted

scene to start with.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah.

>> COX: With lines?

>> HOGGETT: Yeah.

Both the boys were speaking

during it.

And I think it is that thing

where, if you're working with a

writer, and John is the

director, and with Christine,

and we just sit there,

and we'd watch it.

And Jack was the person

who took away a few lines

after a few runs of it.

And then he took away

a few more.

And then John and I just waited,

and he was shown it a few more

times, and it is that beautiful

thing where he just said,

"Let's get rid of

all the lines."

And it's not like I thought that

would happen, or John put it in

place so that that would be the

event in the end.

It was just, the lines might

have stayed, but they weren't

necessary.

And Jack as a writer is not

gonna let a line stand in the

way of storytelling.

That's not an oxymoron.

>> HASKINS: That's very

generous.

>> HOGGETT: Well, yeah.

But also he gave us those lines,

with which John and I then

started to build a sequence

onstage that's a visual,

physical sequence.

So, you can talk about it till

the cows come home, but

ultimately it's like a cyclical

event that just --

In the end, there's

a version that sits

in front of an audience.

>> HASKINS: Going back to your

producers, Sonia Friedman and

Colin Callender,

who initiated this project,

did they put any

restrictions on you?

Did they say, "Now,

we really need this," or,

"We don't need that"?

>> COX: Or did J.K. Rowling?

>> HASKINS: Yeah, but she was

there in the room

when they were...

>> TIFFANY: No, all they did was

liberate us, all of them.

I mean, Jo and Jack and I,

we spent probably about a year

developing the story.

But alongside that, we were

doing kind of development

workshops, weren't we,

for how we would develop the

language, for how we would --

you know, with suitcases

and cloaks and staircases,

et cetera, for how we might

start to put the

Harry Potter-verse onstage.

And it was actually Colin and

Sonia who, when Jack and I and

Jo, we had the idea for how

part one ends,

which is quite a cliffhanger.

But obviously I won't tell it.

When we had the idea and we

realized we weren't going to be

able to get to that point within

an hour and a quarter or

something, I remember being in a

café in London, and Sonia and

Colin said -- which is kind of

amazing for producers,

knowing that they would have to

deal with this -- went,

"Why don't you do it

in two parts?"

>> HASKINS: Oh.

>> TIFFANY: Which is a

nightmare for them.

But we just went, "Yes!"

[ Laughter ]

>> HASKINS: It's a nightmare

for them in terms of booking

and all these --

>> TIFFANY: It's just an

audience, they're not used to --

Booking. The booking system.

>> HASKINS: I mean, you get

more money, but...

>> TIFFANY: Well, yes.

Well, you know, you can only do

eight shows a week, still.

>> HASKINS: Very true.

>> TIFFANY: So you do

four of each part.

So, I mean, ultimately --

But you also have the headache

of, you know,

Can people buy tickets for

individual parts?

Are audiences going to devote

from 2:00 to 10:30?

Are they going to be happy

to devote that time to a piece

of theater when they're used to

two and a half hours?

All those things.

But, you know, we were really

excited by that, because it felt

like we were really, really

creating an event.

>> HASKINS: So, speaking of

audiences paying for tickets,

you did an incredible initiative

in London to bring in a wider

range of audiences, some at

prices that they could afford,

and you're doing that here.

Can you tell us a

little bit about that?

>> TIFFANY: Yeah, I mean,

we were very, very aware,

weren't we, from the start

that this was an audience who

were used to paying $20

for a book or a cinema ticket.

And so paying $100 was going to

be a shock to them.

And so we wanted to make sure

that those people, that they had

access to the show.

And something like between 65%

and 70% of our audiences so far

in London -- and I think it's

the same here -- have been

first-time theatergoers.

So, and i think that is in part

due to the fact that you can see

both parts for $40.

>> HASKINS: It's 300 tickets

a performance.

>> TIFFANY: 300 tickets.

And also, then, there are

40 seats per show that go in a

lottery every Friday,

the Friday 40,

also for $20 per part.

So you can see five and a half

hours of theater for $40.

That's 340 seats

for every single show.

>> HASKINS: Ah, we like that.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah,

we like that, too.

>> HOGGETT: Yeah. A lot.

>> COX: Was there ever any talk

of making it a musical?

Ever?

>> HOGGETT: Sure.

Some people still think

that we've made one.

[ Laughter ]

>> TIFFANY: Yeah, they do.

>> HOGGETT: It's so strange.

We've never, ever,

ever declared it as

anything other than a play.

I would say that

it operates a bit like a musical

in the way that Jack and Jo

and John have come to it as a

script, and then just because of

the way John and I do work,

it kind of just rolls forward.

There's certain rhythms in it

that are very much like you look

at a musical.

But the only thing I've ever

heard -- one person said,

there's a moment where Harry

walks up the staircase with

Hermione, and she said, "I

thought for a horrible moment he

was gonna break into song."

And I said, "I don't know if

that's a compliment or not,

but I'll take it anyway.

But, yes, I think it --

Because it's on Broadway,

I guess, and it's a big

two-part thing.

Does it herald itself as a

musical?

So we're having to sort of defy

people that.

So there are no songs in this.

There's lots of music.

So we've scored it like a

musical, as well.

Imogen Heap has created hours of

this beautiful score, which has

been amazing to work with that,

as well as another palette for

us to draw from.

But, sadly, no songs.

Well, not even sadly.

There are no songs. It's a play.

>> COX: But it was never even a

topic of discussion?

>> TIFFANY: It would never have

happened.

Jo was very, very, very clear

that she'd turned down every

single offer about turning it

into a musical.

I think she just

doesn't like them.

Which is all right.

Which is fair enough, isn't it.

>> HOGGETT: But also, we

wouldn't

do it if it was a musical,

I don't think.

>> HASKINS: She hasn't seen the

right ones.

But then, there's plenty of

wrong ones, so...

[ Laughter ]

Now, I read that you

cast a fair amount of

Shakespearean actors

in this company.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah.

>> HASKINS: Going back to the

use of the language.

Why was that important?

>> TIFFANY: Because it's

actually incredibly complex.

The language is complex.

What the characters are

kind of dealing with is very,

very complex.

And I wanted it to have

gravitas.

You know, people do look at

fantasy as a genre which is

dismissed easily,

when actually, when you look at

Grimm's tales, Aesop,

Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis --

Actually, when fantasy works, it

can get to the heart of human

experience much, much deeper

than realism and naturalism can.

And J.K. Rowling certainly

kind of knows that.

But I wanted actors that could

actually take us into that

reality, even though sometimes

they're talking about

pumpkin pasties and

chocolate frogs and

spells and things.

Actually, what they're talking

about is the hell of living.

>> HASKINS: Yeah.

>> TIFFANY: And so Noma, Jamie,

and Paul, who play Hermione,

Harry, and Ron,

they're all very, very kind of

renowned classical actors.

>> HASKINS: I wanted to look

back at the earlier days when

you worked together.

I first became aware of you --

"Black Watch."

>> TIFFANY: That old thing.

[ Laughter ]

>> COX: Speaking of the

Traverse Theatre, right?

Isn't that where that...?

>> TIFFANY: It was in

conjunction with the Traverse.

It was in a drill hole

in Edinburgh.

But yeah, it was first

run at Traverse.

>> HASKINS: And then it came

here to St. Ann's Warehouse

and just blew us all away,

seeing this.

Was that the first time you two

had worked together?

>> TIFFANY: No.

>> HOGGETT: Well, it was

only the second.

We'd worked --

>> TIFFANY: "Mercury Fur"?

>> HOGGETT: We'd done

"Mercury Fur."

>> TIFFANY: Third time.

>> HOGGETT: Third. Yes.

>> TIFFANY: "Straits," "Mer--"

Yeah. Third time.

But the first time we'd been

in a room for the whole

rehearsal process together.

'Cause Steven was always so

busy, I could only get him for

the odd day.

>> HOGGETT: You were quite busy.

You were quite busy.

[ Laughter ]

You weren't short on hours.

>> TIFFANY: No. But it was the

first time we'd sat down and

gone, "Okay, let's create

something" that we've got no

idea what it's going to be.

As opposed to the written

script, where you can kind of

guess what -- you know,

you get a good sense of

what it's going to be.

"Black Watch" was

the first time.

It was terrifying, wasn't it?

>> HOGGETT: It was, yeah.

>> TIFFANY: About three weeks

in, we were like, "What on

Earth are we doing?"

>> HOGGETT: Yeah.

>> TIFFANY: "We've got

no idea what this is."

>> HASKINS: And then at what

point did you realize you were

going to New York?

>> HOGGETT: Well, it wasn't in

Edinburgh, 'cause we were told

it was never gonna tour.

>> HASKINS: Right.

>> HOGGETT: That was very

explicit.

So as a creative team, it was

like, "Go for your lives."

It's unfathomably expensive.

"This will never tour.

It's gonna play three weeks

in a drill hole.

Go for it.

>> HASKINS: Uh-huh.

>> HOGGETT: So, when it got the

New York date, it was well after

it closed in Edinburgh.

>> TIFFANY: Yeah.

Although that first preview,

do you remember?

>> HOGGETT: Yeah.

>> TIFFANY: We kind of went,

"Ooh," because the audience --

Because we did it in Traverse,

which is like the

Edinburgh Tattoo, which had been

to Edinburgh Castle every year

during the Edinburgh Festival,

where the audience sit in two

seating banks, and down the

middle parade military

companies, bands, armies,

et cetera.

And so I'd see that, so that's

what I wanted to create

so that we told our story in the

middle of two seating banks.

Which is why it was so unwieldy,

wasn't it.

>> HOGGETT: Yeah.

>> TIFFANY: But I remember

sitting there with Steven and

just watching the people,

and just stand up and feeling

like, "Oh, wow.

This isn't ours anymore."

>> HOGGETT: Yeah.

>> TIFFANY: Which is a lovely

feeling.

>> HASKINS: Yeah.

Now you're Broadway regulars.

So at what point, then --

Was it with that, or with

"Once," that you started to feel

that Broadway was going to bring

you into their fold?

You'd kind of made it as

Broadway artists.

>> HOGGETT: I don't think

anybody

ever feels like they're a

Broadway artist full out.

I mean, I always think, like

most people, you might get

a tap on the shoulder

and told your time's up,

and you've done very well.

>> HASKINS: [ Chuckles ]

>> HOGGETT: Genuinely.

>> TIFFANY: Or not very well.

>> HOGGETT: Or, yeah, in some

instances, not very well.

I mean, it's very odd for us.

I was...

In lots of ways, there's a

career here, and there's a

career in the U.K., which is --

My point in life an absolute --

you know, "What a charmed life."

It really is incredible.

But I don't ever feel like

you can play to Broadway

in some respects.

And I think you can see certain

shows try to arrive here as a

Broadway show and -- you know,

how many of them, really?

But I don't know if we put our

head above the parapet

for long enough.

I don't think we've spent

enough time outside of a

rehearsal room.

We're very lucky to work

regularly and often.

I'm one of the worst people to

talk about their college year of

theater and Broadway, because

I just don't really have --

For the most part,

I don't have a sense of --

>> HASKINS: Well, that's

probably a better thing.

>> HOGGETT: I think it does help

to a degree.

I think it does help us,

certainly in rehearsal rooms.

We're responsible to a

certain kind of vision

of a piece of art.

And we have amazing producers

on "Harry Potter,"

and they've looked beyond

our rehearsal room.

But we had enough of a problem

just getting that thing on its

feet.

So the fact that it's here on

Broadway is spectacular,

and genuinely, hand on heart,

the pair of us would still say

it was a surprise that something

this big landed here.

So there's nothing, inevitably,

in our minds, so I don't really

think we have a very accurate

or a very good sense

of what it is to be.

>> HASKINS: Do you think there

was something inevitable in your

producers' minds?

>> TIFFANY: About it going to

Broadway?

>> HASKINS: Yes, and --

>> TIFFANY: I think

that was the hope.

>> HASKINS: And also that

they're taking on a brand --

excuse that word.

Excuse that vulgar word.

But that they're taking a brand

which is already a theme park

and making it

legitimate theater.

But still, you'd think there

would be high hopes there.

>> HOGGETT: Yeah, but you

have to remember that it's an

incredibly precious event,

"Harry Potter," and if we've

got it wrong,

you can't put lights around it

and then hopefully push it up.

It would have just died.

>> HASKINS: You could

spoil it easy.

>> TIFFANY: We'd

have been rinsed.

>> HOGGETT: It would be

forgotten about.

Yeah, we'd have been rinsed.

It would have been quietly,

to where nobody remembered it.

>> HASKINS: Well, it'd be

"Harry Potter went too far."

>> HOGGETT: Well, it'd be the

thing you don't put on your CV.

>> HASKINS: [ Laughs ]

>> HOGGETT: You know?

So I think the producers, until

the show opened, they did all

they could to make us as a

creative team make the best

version possible for the sake of

the piece.

>> HASKINS: For the

sake of the work.

>> TIFFANY: I had three very

kind of distinct groups that I

really, really was determined

not to let down...

>> HASKINS: Okay.

>> TIFFANY: ...when I

agreed to do this.

The first one was Jo herself,

because she trusted us with

the next story in the most

successful and popular literary

franchise of all time,

and the next chapter, she allows

to be a stage play for the first

time is kind of incredible.

So that's a real honor and

privilege that we had.

The second group was the fans,

because I became very --

As Steven said, you meet them

very quickly, and it's very

clear that this means

everything to them in some ways.

If you've cleaved to

"Harry Potter" when you were 11,

and all through your teenage

years,

then it's part of your makeup.

It's part of your soul

in some ways.

So you can't let them down.

And the third group was theater

as a -- you know, that we were

taking "Harry Potter" -- we've

read the books.

We've seen the films -- and we

were putting it into our

beloved art form and

telling the story there.

And as Steven said, we wanted it

to be magical, but also

I just didn't want to make

"Harry Potter" boring,

or allow theater to make

"Harry Potter" boring

by not having the ambition,

by not having the scope of the

story, by not having the epic

kind of sweep.

Because I believe theater can do

anything as long as the audience

are connected in the right way.

And so I was very, very aware

all through that there were

those three groups that I

really, really --

That were very precious to me.

>> COX: Can I ask, for the,

say, habitual theatergoers who

maybe are not as familiar with

"Harry Potter," what is your

advice to people coming to see

the show?

How much of the "Harry Potter"

story do they need to know

going in?

>> HOGGETT: I can say this.

I've sent people to the show

before, and I've told them to

read the synopsis of the fourth

film or the fourth book, and

that tended to be enough.

>> TIFFANY: That's quite useful.

>> HASKINS: But if they haven't,

are they gonna be okay?

>> COX: What about

the origin story?

Don't you feel like they need

to know the origin story of...?

>> TIFFANY: That too.

>> COX: ...the Boy Who Lived,

I guess is what I mean.

>> TIFFANY: Exactly.

We explore that quite kind of

deeply through Harry's

scenes, because that's what

he's kind of dealing with.

But I mean --

I'm told by people that have

never, ever read a word of

"Harry Potter" that actually we

tell you enough that you can

dive into it okay, but yeah.

>> HASKINS: So, you can do your

"Harry Potter" homework

or you can just go in cold.

>> HOGGETT: Totally.

>> HASKINS: But audiences

have embraced this show.

As I said, nine Oliviers in

London, and now it's such a

wonderful hit here in New York.

It's such a pleasure

to have you here,

John Tiffany, Steven Hoggett.

And thank you, Gordon Cox.

>> COX: Thank you, Susan.

Thanks, gentlemen.

>> HASKINS: All right.

>> COX: Thank you guys.

>> HASKINS: Our thanks to

Friends of "Theater Talk"

for their significant

contribution to this production.

>> ANNOUNCER: We welcome

your questions or comments

for "Theater Talk."

Thank you.

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