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Corrections or additions?

This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the November 28, 2001

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

At the Movies

At the premiere-day show at 6:30 p.m. on Friday,


16, it was like an old-time Saturday matinee: excited kids all over

the place (and popcorn, too) in a general, happy hubbub — and

if hubbubs can be focused, this one was. Some people wore costumes

featuring capes and tall hats; many read a book, the same book, while

waiting in the long, snaking line; still others held stuffed animals

— white owls were rampant.

This would be "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,"

of course, and the show was sold out. Once the lights dimmed and the

feature began, the din immediately stopped, replaced by rapt


Unaware, or properly unconcerned about reviews being mixed, records

being broken, millions being made and far more anticipated, young

viewers wanted only to see their fictional hero and relive with him

the first adventure, as told by J.K. Rowling in the first of her four

books that have made publishing history.

If you weren’t so wrapped up in the Harry Potter phenomenon yourself,

you could tap in to all those eager little minds anticipating what

comes next, anxious to see how it’s done, and eager to know what this

or that character looks like in the movie. Would it match their


and if not, is that OK?

No wonder 11-year-old Ryan Kelly — who had two Lawrenceville

neighbors share his experience of this first Harry Potter movie, as

he had with the books and his Halloween outing as Potter himself (U.S.

1, November 17, 1999) — mentioned having butterflies in his


Given his extensive time investment, including the wait for this


his butterflies must have been the size of Canada geese.

By now, the world knows all about Harry Potter: At age

11, he is freed from an unhappy life with his awful aunt, uncle, and

cousin to attend Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards. There

Harry learns why he was orphaned in infancy, and with two good


continues the fight against the evil wizard — we won’t name him

here — whose early attempt on his young life left a lightning-bolt

scar on Harry’s forehead.

Young Kelly had predicted "lots of special effects" in the

movie, and he was right: the entrance to platform 9-3/4 at King’s

Cross Station, London; the high-speed, high-altitude Quidditch game

played at Hogwarts; "Fluffy," the fierce three-headed dog;

the life-sized and life-threatening wizards’ chess game. Then again,

if a movie about wizards doesn’t call for special effects, what does?

The film is filled with appealing tableaus: Diagon Alley comes right

out of Dickens; the colorfully uniformed Quidditch players resemble

noble knights marching into battle, and the field itself, with posts

and pennants, looks ready for jousting; the Hogwarts banquet hall

suggests a medieval romance. So the conventions are there; only the

basic setting is new.

As for the characters, Kelly was happy with Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid,

Hogwarts’ giant game keeper, even though he was shorter than expected,

and he found Alan Rickman’s Professor Snape "chubbier" than

his imaginings, but otherwise effective. Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley

was just fine with Kelly, and although he had thought Hermione would

"wear glasses and be more of a nerd," he stopped short of

agreeing with us that Emma Watson was just too pretty for the role.

Daniel Radcliffe satisfied as Harry, even though his hair didn’t stick

up and his off-center jagged scar came as a surprise. Overall, Kelly

gave this cast the green light for the six Potter movies yet to come.

And he was less literal than his companions — both about plot

compressions and omissions, probably made to keep the length


and about our hero’s eye color. In the books, Harry is emphatically

green-eyed; Radcliffe’s eyes are a pretty, but somehow less spirited,

blue — much like his rendering of the Potter role: too often


passive. As is the case with Dante’s Satan, Draco Malfoy, Potter’s

student nemesis, is the more interesting character to watch. Blonds

really do have more fun.

Kelly thought the scene with the silver-blooded unicorn and the


"pretty cool." And he liked "how they suspected Snape,

when actually it was (name concealed to protect the guilty)."

And that created a teaching moment, one ripe for "red


"Basically, it was perfect," Kelly determined, awarding


Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" a critic’s A-plus. On a practical

level, Kelly advises having snacks with the movie.


is a long time, and those butterflies must be fed.

— Pat Summers

Top Of Page

Eidolon Arts has open auditions for its adaptation of

Gertrude Stein’s "Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights" on


November 28, and Tuesday and Wednesday, December 4 and 5, at McCarter

Theater. Seeking a male actor-singer, age 25+; dual female leads


ensemble roles, and choreographer/dance director. Call 609-688-1957.

Yardley Players seeks male and female actors ages late

20s to 40s for "The Mousetrap," Kelsey Theater, Mercer County

College. Auditions are Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2, noon

to 3 p.m. Call Marge Swider at 215-968-1904.

Pennington Players seeks actors of all ages for the


"The Legend of Redwall Abbey" at Kelsey Theater, Mercer County

College, West Windsor. Auditions on Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m.

to 4 p.m., and Sunday, December 9, Noon to 4 p.m. To schedule an


call 609-737-PLAY.

Paper Mill Playhouse has children’s auditions for Rodgers

& Hammerstein’s "The King and I" on Saturday, December 8,

at 9 a.m. and Wednesday, December 12, at 3:30 p.m. The open call is

for Asian children, age 12 and under. Rehearsals begin March 14, for

the production that runs from April 3 to May 19. Call 973-379-3636,


George Street Playhouse is accepting photos and resumes

for non-Equity roles in a workshop of the New Brunswick Community

Bridge Projects’s new play by Ain Gordon, "Public Ghosts-Private

Stories." Workshop is Friday through Monday, December 14 to 17.

Roles are for African-American men, Mexican male and female, Caucasian

male and female. Send photo and resume to George Ryan, Associate


George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

No phone calls.

Puttin’ On the Ritz auditions for "A Raisin in the

Sun" will be on Sunday, December 15. Theater is at 915 White Horse

Pike, Oaklyn. Performance dates are March 5 through April 13. Call

856-858-5230 after December 4 to schedule audition time.

Top Of Page

YWCA Princeton seeks donations of holiday gifts including

food, clothing, shoes, and gifts for its second annual "Adopt-a

Family Program" Help is needed for local low-income families whose

children attend the multicultural nursery school, YWCA Princeton’s

Child Care Center at the Valley Road School. Participants will be

matched with a family and wish lists provided. Call 609-919-6608 for


Franklin Township Public Library is collecting new


and paperback books as gifts for disadvantaged children in Middlesex

County through the "Books to Keep" program. Distribution is

through service clubs and social service agencies. Donations may be

brought to any Middlesex Country library through Saturday, December

15. Call 732-873-8700.

Crisis Ministry is holding a personal care products drive

for Christmas gifts. Basic toiletries may be delivered by Saturday,

December 15, to 123 East Hanover Street in Trenton. Call 609-396-9355.

Disaster Fund for the Children of NJ accepts contributions

from corporations, businesses, and citizens for New Jersey children

who lost a parent in the terrorist attacks. Disaster Fund for the

Children of NJ, New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 216

West State Street, Trenton 08608.

Top Of Page
Participate Please

New Jersey Historical Society seeks donations for their

project, "Changed Lives: Understanding New Jersey in the Aftermath

of September 11th." The society is looking for materials related

to events commemorating or honoring people lost on September 11 or

materials concerning those responding with assistance, photographs

of memorial shrines, or other public displays erected in honor of

the victims, and written personal stories from all perspectives. Send

to Changed Lives: Understanding New Jersey in the Aftermath of


11th, The New Jersey Historical Society, 52 Park Place, Newark, New

Jersey 07102. Call 973-596-8500.

Arts Council of Princeton seeks crafters, artists, food

and merchandise vendors, nonprofit organizations, and local performers

for Communiversity 2002 to be held on Saturday, April 27, from noon

to 4 p.m. Call 609-924-8777.

Mercer Community College seeks summer and fall housing

near both campuses for students. The college will serve as a listing

agent for residents wishing to rest a room or apartment. Call


ext. 3435.

EurAupair seeks community volunteers to share American

culture, provide orientations, and guidance to au pairs and host


EurAupair provides training, support, and guidance, and reimburses

for expenses. Call Susan Borelly at 800-901-2002.

Monroe Township Library offer engraved pavers with a


message as a milestone such as birthday, graduation, anniversary,

memorial for a person, event, or organization. $50. Forms available

at the library, 4 Municipal Plaza.

Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association now

provides non-medical, day-to-day, free transportation to the senior

community within Mercer County. For information or to volunteer, call


Top Of Page
Call for Entries

New Jersey Poetry Society seeks entries for the Winter

Spring 2002 contest. The theme "Crisis," may be in any form

of poetry with a 32-line limit postmarked by March 1, 2002. Prizes

range from $12 to $50 U.S. Bonds. Call 609-882-4784 for complete


rules and information.

Arts Council of Princeton seeks submissions for its 14th

edition of "Underage," an anthology of short stories and poems

from children under the age of 18. The deadline is Friday, March 15,

2002. Call 609-924-8777.

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