I can’t imagine in this day and age who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter, the boy who lives under the stairs and becomes a great wizard. At least, not in our family!
This morning we took off not too early and not too late for our train ride to get to the Harry Potter studio tour. We took an express train out of Euston Station, waited in line for the bus to the studio, and started our world exploration. The studio lot is located just 20 miles from London in Leavesden. The walking tour took us behind the scenes onto a good number of sets, where we also saw costumes and props. Many of the special effects and animatronics were also a part of the tour - Buckbeak looked so incredibly real, it was amazing.
The area between the two walking tour locations contained a number of props - a butterbeer stand, the flying car, Hagrid’s motorcycle, the Night Bus (triple decker!), the Hogwarts bridge (closed due to the spattering of rain), the chess pieces, and several others.
While we were there, we got to enter the Great Hall, see the costumes of each House as they matured, look into Gryffindor and Dumbledore’s office, and to see many other set props. Lovely! And Diagon Alley was lots of fun to look at. I really enjoyed the wand room - everyone who was a part of the experience was included, and the gentleman in the room knew precisely where each box was.
Naturally, I asked, “Where’s Dr. Who?” He brought me over to the row and showed me the box, and then said, “The box may not be much to look at right here, but it’s much bigger inside...” I had to laugh at that one.
After our 3 hour tour, we headed back to London to rest for a bit before heading out to Les Miz. I was planning on tea with Mom and Pam and Kate, but eventually fell asleep, only to wake up with just enough time to get ready and then head down to meet up and go with the grown-ups to see Les Miserables.
London’s theater row is on Shaftesbury Avenue, which was created to improve traffic conditions, but now houses many notable venues and Shaftesbury theaters. Les Miz is shown at Queen’s Theater, right in the heart of the West End. Queen’s Theater has housed an eclectic range of productions ranging from drama and comedy to musicals and experimental theater.
The musical opened at the Barbican Centre in London, England, on October 8, 1985, and it continues to run in the West End. It is the second longest-running musical in the world after The Fantasticks, and the second longest-running West End show after The Mousetrap, and the longest-running musical in the West End followed by The Phantom of the Opera. As you can see from the date of this entry, we attended the 27th anniversary performance of Les Miz, and we joined the cast in singing HappyBirthday at the end of the show, and we were treated to an explosion of confetti as a climax.
Funny how the show and Dad were sharing a birthday!
Dinner at the Green Door (too many kitchens were closed by the hotel after we returned at about 11 pm), which was quite nice, followed by a mini-Einstein pajama party in the parents’ room.