Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Hogwarts Comes To Times Square

If you notice a lot more muggles in Gryffindor ties and wizard cloaks than usual in Times Square, they might be headed to see a singing/dancing Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed, or they might be on their way to see Radcliffe's quidditch robes up close in Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Discovery Times Square on 44th Street.

The exhibit is a touring collection of props and costumes from the films and will be in New York--the last U.S. stop on the tour--through September 5. The $25 adult/$19.50 child (13 and up are considered adults) price tag is steep, especially for families, but for huge fans of the movies, it's worth it. I did see someone handing out discounts on Broadway, so you may be able to shave a few dollars off the price.

Guests are first taken into a room where they have a chance to be sorted by the sorting hat (only a few per group will be chosen, so be sure and raise your hand quickly if you want to participate). It's a little bit of a cheat, because they ask you your favorite house and everyone gets into whatever house they say. The exhibit is nicely laid out and very easy to follow. You can purchase an audio tour for an additional $7, which has interviews with the costume designer, producer, and others, but I don't think this portion is necessary to enjoy the exhibit.

When watching the movies, you don't really see the details on the props, such as the carvings on the wands that make each unique. The exhibit allows you to get a closer look and see how much artistry is involved. Some of the props you'll see include Harry Potter's acceptance letter into Hogwarts, the Marauder's Map, and the time turner (if these objects don't mean anything to you, this exhibit probably isn't for you). I particularly enjoyed a notice board from the Gryffindor common room, which was full of hilarious flyers that I never noticed in the films. You are likely to find costumes worn by your favorite actors/characters, as even secondary characters are represented in some capacity. There are also original models used to create the CGI characters like Buckbeak and Kreacher.

Most of the exhibit is look don't touch, but there are a few interactive activities, such as a game where you can throw quaffles into hoops. Some props may be scary for young children, especially the Death Eater masks, but overall, I think it's appropriate for children (and adults) of all ages. As the release date of the final Harry Potter film approaches, the exhibit is a reminder of why so many fell in love with the books and the movies to begin with.

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