Muggles and wizards alike are preparing for J.K. Rowling’s latest work to be released July 31
WILKES-BARRE — There’s no doubt Harry Potter and his friends have captivated nations and readers.
The excitement is building again, with not one, but two opportunities locally for fans to celebrate the magic and embrace their inner wizard.
The family-fun begins at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 30, at the Barnes and Noble in the Arena Hub Plaza. The store has planned a “Countdown to Midnight Party” packed with events, giveaways, themed activities and a Muggle wall where attendees can share their favorite memories of the Harry Potter series.
The party was planned in conjunction to the midnight release on Sunday, July 31, of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two,” a special rehearsal edition script.
“We’re very excited,” said assistant store manager Sean Yustat. “The last big Harry Potter release was in 2007, so it’s been about nine years in the making. The fandom surrounding Harry Potter is as strong as it has always been. The fans are still there and it’s particularly exciting to see fans, who were once the same age as Harry Potter, now grown up and sharing those memories with children of their own.”
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child One and Two,” is based on the eighth story in the Harry Potter collection by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.
Rowling’s “Wizarding World” spans some seven novels, with an eight-part film series and has generated millions of fans, igniting a firestorm of success for the England-born author. In October 2010, Rowling attained the honor of “Most Influential Woman in Britain,” and continues to support numerous charities and foster the imaginations of minds, young and old, via the world she created by happenstance after missing a train in 1990.
While area residents are embracing their inner wizards, a stage production will premiere in London’s West End based on this, the first official Harry Potter story formatted for theater.
And while the official party is on July 30, those unable to attend Saturday’s festivities are in luck, as the wizards behind the magical celebration have planned more family fun kicking off at 9 a.m. July 31.
“We’re going to have a lot of the same activity stations throughout the store from the previous night,” Yustat said. “Little Theater of Wilkes-Barre will be with us Saturday night and back in the store at 1 p.m. to present a table reading. This type of Harry Potter experience is so unique because fans will have the opportunity to experience the Harry Potter world this way, via a stage play.”
According to Yustat, this event has been in the works for the past few months.
“It’s important, presenting these type of programs and activities to the community,” he said. “Harry Potter was one of those series that got children excited about reading. We are passionate about holding events that encourage reading as a fun experience and always look for opportunities to offer events to the local community that are free and open to all ages.”
Shannon Keith is a Times Leader correspondent. Reach the arts and entertainment department at [email protected]