National Edition

Harry Potter prequel about his family life before Hogwarts is coming to the stage

Published: Friday, Dec. 20 2013 12:20 p.m. MST

This Oct. 16, 2012, photo shows author J.K. Rowling at an appearance to promote her latest book "The Casual Vacancy," at The David H. Koch Theater in New York. Rowling, the popular author of the "Harry Potter" series, announced she'll be producing a stage version based on the popular series.

Dan Hallman, Invision, AP

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Harry Potter’s family life before he went to Hogwarts was barely detailed in the books and movies.

But now, J.K. Rowling, the famed author of the “Harry Potter” series, announced she’ll be producing a stage version of what Potter’s life was like before his magic-filled Hogwarts days, USA Today reported.

Telling the tale of Potter’s life before he flew off to magic school will rely heavily on showing his time with his adopted family, the Dursleys, according to JKRowling.com.

“What was it like to be the boy in the cupboard under the stairs? This brand new play, which will be developed for the UK theatre, will explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast,” according to JKRowling.com.

Rowling won’t be writing the script, but she’ll be working with producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, as well as a writer,who has not been named yet, USA Today reported.

The Daily Mail said the play will start in the west end of London and will be aided by Warner Bros., which helped create the Harry Potter feature films.

“Harry Potter’s theatrical adaptation will seek to ‘offer a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary young wizard. A seemingly ordinary boy, but one for whom destiny has plans,’ ” The Daily Mail reported.

Marc Snetiker of Entertainment Weekly initially reacted with joy when he heard the news that Potter's untold family life was going to make its way into the stream of pop culture. But after some consideration, Snetiker wrote that he’s worried this latest installment will be the last good piece of Potter-centric entertainment before the franchise becomes “a step too far, a step too illogical in keeping with the world and preserving the magic. He also said he didn’t want theater to damage Potter’s reputation.

Snetiker also is worried about seeing Potter’s pre-Hogwarts story, as it may be something too familiar to the movies and books. He said the values gained from reading and watching the Harry Potter series might lessen if the story told on stage follows similar themes.

“I believed I knew what Harry’s early years entailed, and I’m not sure how I’d feel about having those explained further. Can you imagine meeting, say, the one classmate who kindly befriended Harry during his Dursley days (thereby lessening the importance of Ron and Hermione in his life) or another Mrs. Figg who kept an eye out for HJP? We know this story, or at least we’ve put together the pieces Rowling provided and filled in the rest ourselves.”

But Rowling said telling this story — based on ideas presented by Friedman and Callender — is important for continuing Potter’s emotional tale, according to The Daily Express.

"It was the only one that really made sense to me,” she said about the story idea, according to The Express, “and which had the sensitivity, intensity and intimacy I thought appropriate for bringing Harry’s story to the stage.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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