The Magician of Set Design
Tony award-winning set designer Christine Jones thrives under nearly impossible working conditions. She was thrilled when offered the opportunity to design 2018’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, the most expensive play ever produced on Broadway. In an interview with Variety, Christine noted there were “tons of locations and lots of spectacular magical moments and transformations. But [there were] also many more personal and smaller scenes, so we needed it to be epic and also incredibly intimate. It was a very tall order.” She first honed her theatrical skills on a smaller scale. Nearly a decade ago, when preparing for the opening of her directorial debut in Queen of the Night, Christine simply wanted to dissolve the boundaries between audience and performer, all while redefining the idea of dinner theatre. Her efforts earned her a Drama Desk Award for Best Unique Experience and New York Magazine hailed the show as the “Hottest Nightlife Experience in Town.” All in a day’s work for Jones.
The devil — and the magic — was in the details when Christine Jones designed the intricate set for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two. The craftsmanship was “extraordinary” and “moving,” she says. “There’s little bits of magic spread throughout.” Before accomplishing such a Great White Way feat, audiences were treated to a participatory, emotional journey when Christine’s Queen of the Night opened on Broadway on December 31, 2013. The play was “a warm invitation to experience performance, food and each other intimately and to engage intimately with all different aspects of the evening,” she says. “You equalize the relationship between the audience member and the performer and that equalization heightens the mutual dependence that each has upon the other.”