Drawing: Jamie Parker as Harry Potter

Jamie Parker

British actor and singer Jamie Parker plays the title role in J K Rowling’s eighth instalment of the boy wizard’s adventures, HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS 1 AND 2. It’s set nineteen years after the events of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. Harry is no longer a boy. He’s middle-aged with a family and working for the Ministry of Magic as the stressed-out Head of Magical Law Enforcement. His son Albus follows in his footsteps at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The two-part play written by Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany based on an original story by them and J K Rowling, took the West End by storm this year, opening at the Palace Theatre on 30 July and smashing all box-office records.

Thirty-six year old Jamie, who performed  in Alan Bennett’s THE HISTORY BOYS on Broadway and London said that POTTER was ‘a gig of a lifetime’. I caught up with him at the stage door a couple of weeks back as he was arriving for a Saturday matinee and he signed this sketch.

Drawing: Noma Dumezweni, Jamie Parker and Paul Thornley in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Saturday saw the World Premiere gala performance of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO, following six weeks of previews at London’s Palace Theatre.  The eighth story in the Harry Potter adventure, set nineteen years after the final novel ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ is a play by John Thorne, based on an original story by J.K. Rowling and directed by Jack Tiffany. It’s actually split into two plays, cunningly named Part One and Part Two and follows a middle-aged Harry, who is now a Ministry of Magic employee and his son Albus Severus Potter. Originally booking until 18 September, tickets went on sale in October 2015 and immediately sold out, extending the run into next year.

Norma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, Minister for Magic, Jamie Parker as Harry, Head of Magical Law Enforcement and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley who is married to Hermione play the leads. Other major casting includes Sam Clemmett as Albus, Poppy Miller as Ginny Potter, Harry’s wife and Cherrelle Skeete as Ron and Hermione’s daughter, Rose Granger-Weasley.

The most pre-ordered book of the year – a ‘Special Rehearsal Edition’ of the script, not a novelisation, went on sale the day after the Premiere (incidentally Harry’s and JK Rowling’s birthdays) with people queuing at bookstores for the midnight release on Saturday. Since revisions were still taking place after it was printed, a ‘Definitive Collector’s Edition’ is due in 2017.

Noma, Jamie and Paul signed this sketch for me in the first week of previews.

Drawing: Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls

The Chichester Festival revival of the classic gambling musical GUYS AND DOLLS arrived in the West End via Manchester and Birmingham to the Savoy Theatre last December before it continues its journey uptown to the Phoenix. Along the way the Gordon Greenberg directed production has gathered great reviews and sell out crowds. The Guardian bylined its review with “outstanding leads (Sophie Thompson, Jamie Parker, David Haig and Siubhan Harrison) and fizzing choreography from Carlos Acosta.”

The production has been nominated for six Olivier Awards, including choreography and nods for Sophie, Jamie and David, who are not transferring to the Phoenix when it starts again on 19 March. I sent this sketch to the Savoy earlier in the run but for some reason it came back ‘return to sender’ ( I know, I feel a tune coming on… wrong musical) and unopened. So I did it the old fashioned way, in person at the stage door yesterday as the central quartet headed in for the matinee and they were all more than happy to graph it.