Local actor whisks magic to Broadway

Patrick Du Laney, an Iowa City local, recently got cast in the Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.



The second-year cast of Broadway's “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child” pose for a photo.

Josie Fischels, News Reporter

Patrick Du Laney may not have a wand, but that hasn’t stopped him from transfiguring his life as an actor in the Midwest into a budding Broadway career.

Starting March 20, Du Laney will delight eager audiences of Manhattan’s newly renovated Lyric Theater when he makes his Broadway début as part of the second-year cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

For the loyal Hufflepuff, the road to achieving what once was only a faded dream has been nothing short of magical. Rather than beginning in a cupboard under the stairs of Number 4 Privet Drive, Du Laney’s story began the moment he stepped on a stage.

“I did a play in junior high and said, ‘Oh, I’m gonna do this with my life,’ and never looked back,” he said.

Du Laney began performing in Iowa City in 2008, when he arrived for the Riverside Shakespeare Festival at Riverside Theater. After falling in love with the city — and a person — he decided to live in Iowa City permanently in 2010.

Rooting himself in one place has never been the actor’s style, though. Du Laney has performed not only with Riverside but also Old Creamery. He has done work for productions at City Circle Acting Company, Coe College, theUniversity of Iowa, Cornell College, Kirkwood, and even managed to break into the scene in Chicago.

Though most wizards receive their news by owl, the opportunity to audition for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child flew to Du Laney through his agent in Chicago last summer.

“The Harry Potter production team did a nationwide search in several cities,” he said. “I think based on my headshot and résumé I was brought in to read for a role. The next day, they called me back and asked me to read for a completely different role. The day after that, they asked me if I would come to New York for a final audition in September, and I did that. Three weeks later I had the job.”

Despite already working nonstop in Iowa and regionally doing work he was proud of, Du Laney said the sudden change means his life has taken a wonderful and exciting swerve.

“At least once a week I go, ‘How am I here? How did I get here? I live in Iowa,’ ” he said.

Though he admitted to not truly geeking out about Harry Potter until the first movie came out, in 2001, Du Laney is a fan through and through, and he read the first four books in only a week. Now he gets to attend rehearsals with a cast of eager actors, many of whom learned to read on Harry Potter books.

While the plot and even the roles of much of the cast are shrouded in mystery to avoid spoiling any surprises for upcoming audiences, Du Laney said rehearsals have been “a blast,” as well as both physically and mentally challenging. The play itself is five hours long and broken into two parts.

“Every day is different; every day presents fun, new challenges, and ideas,” Du Laney said. “There’s a never-ending level of things to learn, but all of it is fun and exciting.”

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