What's better than getting to act in a play based on the Wizarding World created by J.K. Rowling? Being visited by Rowling herself just before the play is set to debut on Broadway, of course! The play would be Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the "eighth" Harry Potter story, which takes place 19 years after the events of Deathly Hallows and focuses on the sons of Harry and Draco Malfoy, Albus and Scorpius, as they try to prevent the death of Cedric Diggory in Goblet of Fire.
Just two days before the show was set to hold its premiere performance in New York City, the cast was visited by Rowling, whose story served as the inspiration for the play. The actual script was written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. It was Tiffany who tricked the cast by saying:
"This is really, really embarrassing, and I know you don't mind, but I've got a friend in town and she's a big Harry Potter fan and I said I'd introduce her to you. Is that okay?"
Watch the incredible prank below, where members of the cast break out into tears, applause, or both.
Despite the fact that Cursed Child is part of the official Harry Potter canon, many purists dislike it and have gone so far as to dub it a "glorified fan fic." Nevertheless, those who have seen it played out onstage have said that it works better in person than it does on the page; it was originally made available in book format, causing many fans to feel as if they'd been "hoodwinked" into thinking that a real Harry Potter novel was coming out. Their shock to find that it was just a script must have been akin to the reaction Tom Riddle Sr. experienced when he realized Merope Gaunt had tricked him into drinking a love potion and marrying her.
The play made its debut on Broadway on Sunday, April 22, and stars all the original members of the cast: Jamie Parker as Harry Potter, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, Poppy Miller as Ginny Potter, Alex Price as Draco Malfoy, Sam Clemmett as Albus Potter, and Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy.
During the intermission, Rowling sat down to have some dinner with actress Jessica Williams (Hot Tub Time Machine 2) to announce Williams' role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. She will play Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, a professor at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the equivalent of Hogwarts in the U.S. Located on Mount Greylock in modern-day Massachusetts, Ilvermorny is where Porpentina (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie (Alison Sudol) Goldstein were both educated. According to Rowling, however, we'll only see "a hint" of Hicks in The Crimes of Grindelwald (out November 16) and the character won't have a major starring role until the third film.
Although many hate Cursed Child, it still broke a Broadway box-office record with over $2 million in early April.