The creator of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, announced Friday that she will take the Harry Potter story to the stage in London’s West End. Rowling has selected two well-known producers; and, with the help of Warner Bros. Entertainment, the project is slated for production in 2014.
Rowling said that for many years she has been presented opportunities to bring Harry Potter to the stage, but the idea and timing never coalesced until now. Two power play producers have captured Rowling’s attention and she is ready to move forward with a stage production of the Harry Potter story. Producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, “brought, sensitivity, intensity and intimacy I thought appropriate for bringing Harry’s story to the stage,” said Rowling. With her choices in producers Rowling is positioning Harry Potter for the next level.
Friedman is known for producing a string of successful stage productions, including The Book of Mormon – written by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker as well as Robert Lopez – which received 9 Tony Awards in 2011. It was called the best musical of the year. Friedman also produced Merrily We Roll Along, Twelfth Night and Richard III, starring Mark Rylance. Twelfth Night and Richard III are being directed by Tim Carroll and are currently running at the Belasco Theater in New York City. The all-male Shakespeare’s Globe repertory has created a performance that has broken all box office records at the Belasco Theater and has received critical acclaim, extending its run into February 2014.
Callender may be best known as a former CEO of HBO. As one of the founders of HBO Production Group, he was instrumental in creating HBO as an innovative and groundbreaking production company. Callender, while at the helm of HBO, garnered numerous awards. During his leadership, HBO received 104 Emmy Awards, 29 Golden Globes, nine Peabody Awards, 12 Humanitas Awards, three Oscars and top awards at the Sundance Film Festival four years in a row. Callender brings a powerful alliance to Harry Potter that no wizard could pass on. Callender was recently involved in Lucky Guy on Broadway (starring Tom Hanks) and is currently working with the BBC on its adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
According to Rowling, the Harry Potter stage play’s story takes place before Harry was a wizard and will explore the untold story of Harry’s early years as an outcast orphan. This is the prequel of Harry Potter. Directors and writers are being considered for the project, which is expected to begin in 2014 and be produced in the U.K. The Harry Potter franchise spans seven books and eight blockbuster movies.
The Harry Potter story began with The Philosopher’s Stone in 1997 and spun off eight movies starring Daniel Radcliffe. Further creations are expected in the future, including a Orlando, Florida theme park. The series sold more than 450 million copies and continues to sell well across multiples countries and has been translated into 77 languages. When Rowling takes Harry Potter to the stage she will not go it alone. Rowling has surrounded the franchise with a team of creative power players that can move Harry Potter even further than she ever imagined.
By Anthony Clark