The character Harry Potter, in many ways, is perhaps not best described as the protagonist of a series of books and feature films, but an icon at the center of a worldwide phenomenon.
The immensely popular franchise has seen more than 500 million books sold worldwide and some of the highest grossing films ever. The tale of the young wizard coming into his own has connected with so many devoted fans, and on Jan. 16, the Lafon Performing Arts Center in Luling plays host to the story in a unique way, through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert on Thursday, Jan.16. It will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The show is presented by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, which has partnered with the Harry Potter Film Concert Series to offer a new way to relive all of the – in this story, quite literal – magic, if not experience it for the very first time.
The orchestra will perform every note from the film’s iconic score, which was created by legendary composer John Williams. As the orchestra plays, it will accompany the movie itself as it plays on a 40 foot screen for the audience.
As one might imagine given Harry Potter’s popularity, these shows have drawn plenty of interest in its time on stage.
“It’s very wildly popular,” said Leah Oby, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra spokeswoman. “We’ve sold out our upcoming Friday show at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre, and I know the Lafon show has been selling well … so many people love the series, and it attracts such a large audience.”
Oby said orchestra decision makers decided during its last season of shows to become part of the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, which was established in 2016 by CineConcerts and Warner Bros. What’s resulted is a global concert tour celebrating the films, and more than two million fans have experienced shows on the tour live since its debut in summer of 2016, spanning 42 countries.
“We thought presenting with the film would be received very well, so we planned it out as part of (this) season,” she said. “It’s really a once in a lifetime phenomenon, really. And because so many people who grew up reading the books are now parents themselves, they come with their families and they’re like kids again themselves. It’s like a double delight. They get to experience it all over again, almost through a child’s eyes.”
The concert series has crafted shows around all eight Potter movies. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – a film that was renamed in the United States, with the film and concert show named Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone elsewhere – represents the first film in the series.
In this story, Harry Potter learns on his 11th birthday that he is an orphaned son of two wizards and possesses his own magical powers. He goes on to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and encounters new friends along the way – as well as enemies, like the Dark Wizard, who has no intentions of allowing the young wizard the chance to reach his great potential.
Williams’ composition for the film is renowned, and that comes with little surprise: for more than six decades, he’s composed many of the most recognizable and beloved scores in film history – Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park are among the franchises he’s enhanced through his music, highlights of a career that’s garnered 51 Academy Award nominations.
The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra was then a natural fit to carry out this performance, the state’s one full-time professional orchestra that has captured hearts and imaginations since it was formed nearly 30 years ago. It is the oldest full-time, musician governed and collaboratively operated orchestra in the country.
Tickets are on sale for the event through lafonartscenter.org or through the center’s onsite box office.