Ok… So I have seen MANY hyped up shows in my day, and left… well, MAD… SAD… I mean, I feel like someone would rather say they loved a show that got a rave review from the Times than actually say, you know what, I didn’t love it. Well, surprise surprise, I’m not one of those people. But then again, this is Harry Potter… this is sacred ground… this is something that if mishandled I would have lost my mind.
Well, I am happy to report, that so far, this show has exceeded my expectations beyond belief. And there are two reasons for that, the first, is Sonia Friedman.
I’ll tell you a bit about Sonia… We first worked together as co-producers, she was the Lead Producer on La Bête with an incredible resume, look her up, I’m not kidding, she’s a GOD when it comes to producing. But like the female Grande’s, a woman in a man’s world, people said she was tough, bossy, blah blah blah, I ignored it of course… and at our first marketing meeting, there was a point brought up about something or other… and around the table everyone was "yes"ing her to death and I said emphatically, at 20 something years of age at a table filled with lots of much older seasoned producers, "I completely disagree and feel it was 100% the wrong way to go" siting my theatre major and Bachelor of Arts degree along with my general and general knowledge of humanity and the theatre goer. Everyone was silent, presumably trying to figure out who this loud outspoken kid was and what would Sonia do… She said, “Who are you?” I said, “Frankie Grande.” And she said, well ok Frankie you stay, everyone else can leave… and that was the beginning of our beautiful friendship. Mutual respect between intelligent passionate unapologetic people who came together because of their love for theatre…
Now, to Harry Potter. Sonia made this show a reality, that’s it. Without her there would be no show. She also hired Imogen Heap to do the score… ok, wow, BRILLIANT! So now I have two women that I love and respect with all of my soul in control of one of my favorite projects on the planet… stakes are high… and let me just say, they were met, for the average theatre goer… but for a Harry Potter and Imogen Heap fan, it is one of the most spectacular pieces of art I have ever had the privilege of experiencing.
Let me tell you why… Imogen wrote an original score, but used hooks from her previously written songs. Not obnoxiously, but in a way an Imogen Heap fan would perk up… Now I am not just a fan, I am a super-fan. I know all the words to all the songs and have used her music to get thru my life. Imogen’s music has become the score of my life. But, I had the help of the words… In Harry Potter, there are no words, only instrumental music… but of course, if you know the songs as well as I do… the words immediately come, on a subconscious level… and if you know Harry Potter as well as I do… you know what’s about to happen, but what I did not know and could not fathom, was that the score, if the words were added, would reflect the character’s inner monologues throughout the show. A third dimension that has never been attempted in any theatre production that I have ever seen.
SPOILER ALERT! READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY DETAILS OF THE BOOK OR THE SHOW
The beginning of the show starts on Platform 9 & 3/4 and the score is “first train home”… pretty obvious but brilliant none the less. Then when Ginny and Harry are discussing what to do about Albus and their inability to relate to their seemingly odd and despondent son… “Wait it out” begins. Again no words, but I know they are thinking the words of the song:
Where do we go from here?
How do we carry on?
I can't get beyond the questions.
Clambering for the scraps
In the shatter of us collapsed.
It cuts me with every could-have-been.
Pain on pain on play, repeating
With the backup makeshift life in waiting.
Everybody says that time heals everything.
But what of the wretched hollow?
The endless in-between?
Are we just going to wait it out?
Wow… the “subscore” (I made it up)blew me away… now the next song I have a personal connection with, is called “The Moment I Said It”. I didn’t understand it until I said to one of my boyfriends, “I know you are cheating on me.” These are the words:
The moment I said it
The moment I opened my mouth
Lead in your eyelids
Bulldozed the life out of me
I know what you're thinking
But darling you're not thinking straight
Sadly things just happen.... we can't...... explain
In that moment, in my real life, I understood the song where I had not previously, and in the play it comes right after Harry says to Albus, “sometimes I wish you weren’t my son…” boom.
The moment is poignant enough without the words, but hearing Imogen’s lyrics in my head connected me to Harry and Albus in a way I never thought possible…
Many other brilliant moments occurred throughout part one, including the beautiful use of “Half Life” when Albus and Scorpius are forcibly being kept apart and using “little bird” to underscore moaning Myrtle, but I feel the FULL experience of the show must include some knowledge of Imogen’s work. Now, do I think you’ll love the show if you don’t know Imogen Heap, yes, In the same way you will love it if you have never picked up a Harry Potter book, but will you be transformed? I can’t say, cause I already knew all this stuff. Hehe…