“Puffs”, A Harry Potter-based Story, Premieres at VHS

The cast of “Puffs” works their magic on the stage at Vicksburg’s Performing Arts theater.

Take a group of otherwise normal teens, mix in seven years at a certain school of magic and one big existential threat, and what do you get? You might not have said comedy, but with the play “Puffs,” performing Nov. 22-24 at Vicksburg High School’s Performing Arts Center, that is exactly what you’ll get.

For seven years, fans know that Harry Potter attended this school of magic, conquered evil and eventually saved the world.

But Puffs isn’t his story. Instead, we follow nerdy Wayne, math-savant Oliver and brooding tough girl Megan and see another side of those seven years. They are played by Levi Shephard, Aidyn Knedgen and Lindsay Fleck.

Wayne, Oliver, and Megan have been sorted in with the Puffs – one of the four groups of students at the school, along with the Snakes, the Braves, and the Smarts – and arrived at the same time as their far more famous classmate. “Puffs” takes the mythology you know from J.K. Rowling and the associated films and turns it on its ear to bring you a clever, charming story about just trying to survive when you’re not destined to save the world.

But don’t worry if you’re among the uninitiated. Director Melissa Sparks says while it might help, you don’t have to be a dedicated Potter-head to appreciate the humor and the message contained in these 90-ish minutes.

“Before watching Puffs, I had never seen all of the Potter films or read the books and I was still laughing. Puffs, while it nods to the Harry Potter worlds, it is essentially a growing-up story. At its heart, these loyal, kind friends find out that even when you think you are unimportant, you are still important to someone.”

The play opened off-Broadway in 2016 and enjoyed a nearly three-year run before closing earlier this year. Sparks says she’s excited to bring the show’s madcap energy and big heart to life on stage with her high schoolers.

Puffs runs Friday and Saturday Nov. 22 and 23, with a 7 p.m. curtain, and Sunday, November 24, with a 2 p.m. matinee at the Vicksburg Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $7 for students (through 12th grade), but with advance orders, customers can get a $2 discount per ticket. Tickets can be ordered online at https://www.vicksburgschools.org/performing-arts-center/.

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