How to pull off a Muggle Mob

If you were in SoHo, New York City last Thursday and happened to walk by the Scholastic building, you could tell something was up. First of all, there were no cars parked on Broadway between Prince and Spring–a very unusual sight for the crowded, tourist-filled neighborhood. There were huge speakers in front of the building. And, starting around 11:30 a.m., large crowds started to gather as NYPD officers and crowd controllers lined the street.

Then ... at noon ... the music started.

It was an exciting, two and a half-minute event that took nearly four months of planning. So, how does one pull off a magical #MuggleMob? Billy DiMichele, VP of Creative Development, explained that he and Scholastic's Trade Marketing & PR team came up with the idea all the way back in April. They originally wanted the event (meant to drum up excitement for the release of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two script book) to be held at a landmark New York City location, but eventually decided to hold it at Scholastic HQ so, as Billy explained it, "we could ‘own’ this event. Once we had decided that, then adding the banner came into play."

The next steps were closing a portion of Broadway that would fit all 300 employees and their children, and making sure there were camera crews there to capture all the action. Billy told us, "we've had a longstanding relationship with the NYPD because of our two Harry Potter Place events out on Mercer Street in 2005 and 2007, so, naturally I called them first. Once they were on board, we needed a film permit. I've worked with an events team that specializes in outdoor events and getting all the necessary permits, so they were my second call."

"For this event we had seven cameras – four on the ground, two on roofs, and one within the Scholastic building to capture the reverse angle."

The Scholastic employees that volunteered to participate – our sign up form filled up in less than 3 hours! – got to practice two separate times before the actual event. We've got some behind-the-scenes photos of those rehearsals below, along with photos of the moments leading up to and immediately after the Muggle Mob! Check them out!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two releases in at 12:01 a.m., on July 31st.

 

The paddle and materials that were inside each Harry potter book held by an employee during the #MuggleMob.

Billy DiMichele preps the Muggle Mob before the event.

Employees and their children wait in the Scholastic lobby for the Muggle Mob to begin.

Police blocked Broadway from oncoming traffic for the Muggle Mob.

Beginning around mid-morning, a large and curious crowd gathered across the street from the Scholastic building.

Employees begin to exit the building and walk onto Broadway.

This lucky bystander received a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix after the Muggle Mob!

Gina Asprocolas