‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ to Slim Down Before Broadway Return

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the sprawling stage play that imagines Harry and his friends as grown-ups and their children as wizards-in-training, will be substantially restructured before returning to Broadway this fall.

The play, which had been staged in two parts before the pandemic, will return as a single show on Nov. 16.

The show was widely acclaimed, winning the Olivier Award for best new play when it opened in London, and the Tony Award for best new play when it opened in New York. But it was costly to develop, costly to run, and costly for theatergoers, who had to buy tickets to two shows to experience it fully.

The show will continue to run in two parts in London and Australia, but will be a single part in New York and San Francisco. It was not immediately clear how long that single part would be.

Structured essentially as a stage sequel to J.K. Rowling’s seven wildly popular “Harry Potter” novels, the play was the most expensive ever to land on Broadway, costing $35.5 million to mount, and another estimated $33 million to redo Broadway’s Lyric Theater. Before the pandemic, the play was routinely grossing around $1 million a week on Broadway — an enviable number for most plays, but not enough for this one, with its large company and the expensive technical elements that undergird its stage magic.

The play’s lead producers, Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, said in a joint statement that, “Given the challenges of remounting and running a two-part show in the US on the scale of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,’ and the commercial challenges faced by the theater and tourism industries emerging from the global shutdowns, we are excited to be able to move forward with a new version of the play that allows audiences to enjoy the complete Cursed Child adventure in one sitting eight times a week.”

The play was written by Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany, based on a story credited to Rowling, Thorne and Tiffany. Thorne and Tiffany said they had been working on a new version of the show during the pandemic, which, they said, “has given us a unique opportunity to look at the play with fresh eyes.”

(This is a developing story and will be updated.)

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