'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' photo: The unusual way J.K. Rowling is telling 'Potter' story

A new photo of 'Child' cast members playing Harry Potter, his wife Ginny Weasley, and their son Albus has been posted online. The play opens in London in July.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
J.K. Rowling lights the Empire State Building to mark the launch of her non-profit children's organization Lumos in New York in 2015.

Those behind the upcoming "Harry Potter" stage play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" have revealed new information about the production, including a photo of Harry himself, his wife Ginny Weasley, and their son, Albus.

A photo of actor Jamie Parker (Harry), Sam Clemmett (Albus), and Poppy Miller (Ginny) was posted on the website Pottermore, alongside interviews with the actors. 

"It's a unique gig in the sense that you have seven volumes of backstory that you get to bring on with you," Mr. Parker said of taking on the role of Harry. "And we were all very keen to make sure that the first time you see Harry it just feels right." ("Potter" author J.K. Rowling said of Parker, "He simply is Harry now. There's a kind of relief in watching him, he gets it so right.") 

"Child" is set to debut in London this July, with previews beginning in June. 

New stories about Harry and the world in which he lives are taking a far-from-linear path to viewers. The story of Harry of course began with Ms. Rowling's novels, which became a worldwide phenomenon, and the series was then adapted as films that became some of the most successful of all time. 

And another movie is coming, but it's not about Harry (as far as we know). It takes place decades before his birth and centers on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), an expert on magical creatures who has traveled to America. The screenplay for this film, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," is by Rowling. 

Meanwhile, the story of Harry and his family is arriving not by page – at least, not at first – but on the stage. The story of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" was dreamed up by Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. The play is credited as being written by Mr. Thorne. 

A copy of the script will be sold as a book that will be made available July 31. The title is currently the bestselling book on Amazon.

Writer Andrew Liptak wrote for the Barnes & Noble blog that with these various projects, as well as new material being posted on Pottermore, "[the series] is a modern-day literary franchise … This is an interesting step in the evolution of storytelling, freed from the confines of paper and glue or celluloid and screen. Rowling is free to explore her world any way she wants to, and take us all along for the ride."

And Rowling's activity on Twitter, where she often answers fan questions, also is changing the role a writer plays, writes Scott Timberg of Salon.

"Rowling's tweets are just another step in the public and communal evolution of the 'Harry Potter' saga," writes Mr. Timberg. "They may be closer to the stories told around the campfire of a pre-modern society than the private ways novels were consumed for a few centuries … [but] with all due respect to Rowling, who gave these characters life, shouldn't they be released to live their own lives, and to dwell in our imaginations for a change? Is that selfish?"

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