Harry Potter at 20: Traveling exhibition, new books, Broadway

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Phoenix (detail) by Jim Kay, part of “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” at the British Library. Image: Bloomsbury Publishing

October is an exciting month for Harry Potter fans, with an exhibition and several book releases among happenings as the series turns 20 around the world.

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was published in the United Kingdom in June 1997, launching an internationally bestselling series that has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide in 79 languages, inspired a major movie franchise and sparked imaginations over its 20-year history.

The story of the young wizard was J.K. Rowling’s debut novel; a year after it hit shelves in the U.K., it was published in the United States as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

While the book’s 20th anniversary was marked on June 26, some of the biggest anniversary celebrations are still to come.

“A History of Magic”

On Oct. 20, the British Library in London is set to open “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” which will feature rare books, manuscripts and objects from the British Library’s collection that convey the folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay will also go on display for the first time.

“A History of Magic” runs through February 28, after which Potter fans across the pond will have a chance to see the exhibition at the New York Historical Society beginning in October 2018.

Book releases

Oct. 3 will see the release of a new, illustrated edition of the third Potter novel, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” with art by Jim Kay.

Bloomsbury then plans to release two new books in tandem with the British Library show that will explore the magical world of wizardry. “Harry Potter: A History of Magic, The Book of the Exhibition” will cover the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, while “Harry Potter, A Journey Through a History of Magic” will delve into the history of magic, from alchemy to unicorns, ancient witchcraft to Harry’s Hogwarts.

“Cursed Child” on Broadway

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. After receiving its world premiere in 2016 in London, where it continues its run, the play is now Broadway-bound.

On Oct. 18, tickets for the Broadway premiere of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” will go on sale. The play will begin preview performances on March 16 of next year, with an official opening set for April 22, when the United States is in the midst of its own “Harry Potter at 20” year.

Potential ticket buyers must register for ticket access between Oct. 1 and 5 at HarryPotterthePlay.com/REGISTER. JB

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