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Theater news

J.K. Rowling announced yesterday that she will be working on a play set in Harry Potter's magical world. In a statement, Rowling said that the show will "explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast."

The production will open in the West End in London within the next two years. Although Rowling won't write the play, she will co-produce, alongside Sonia Friedman (The Book of Mormon) and Colin Callender (Lucky Guy). Rowling will also collaborate with the playwright.

For Harry Potter nerds like me who wish the series and film saga had never ended, this could be exciting. But I'm stuck on the part where they'll be focusing on Harry's life before Hogwarts. What? That sounds really depressing! We already know how cruel the Dursleys were to Harry, and we know he was an orphan, and we know he was an outcast. There won't even be magic?

Given that Rowling is actually involved, I know better than to prematurely pass judgment on this play... but still. I already live in the muggle world, and it is boring. Let me learn more about the wizard world, please.

What do you think?

Harry Potter, the person, turned 33 years old this week, on July 31. Okay, fine, he's not real, but real people (like Simon Pegg) were celebrating his birthday.

Also happening this week: new cover art for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was revealed and J.K. Rowling released Remus Lupin's biography in Pottermore... none of which you probably know or care about unless you like the franchise.

I know, guys: liking "Harry Potter" books and movies is nerdy. Loving it is even nerdier. But I don't care. I'll always be a fan because "Harry Potter" was such a great part of my childhood. Here are 7 reasons why the Harry Potter franchise the best.

1. The books

The "Harry Potter" books got a whole generation of kids reading, and not just a little bit, but hefty, several-hundred-page novels. Harry Potter transformed the literacy rate among young people. If that's not something phenomenal, I'm not sure what is.

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Backstreet Boys. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m still secretly obsessed with them and I’m suuuper excited about this. All five members are back and they’re performing a 20th anniversary concert in L.A. tonight, for free, where they’ll be debuting new music and showing a new clip from their upcoming documentary. (I’m crying inside because I’m on the East Coast.) On Monday, April 22, the band will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which I think is pretty fitting for the best-selling boy band of all time. On top of that, this year we’re also expected to get a new album (WITH Kevin) and a tour and I. CAN’T. WAIT.

Aside from proving how much of a huge loser I am, here’s what their 20-year celebration also means: we’re all getting old. Seriously, guys. All of the members of the Backstreet Boys are married or soon-to-be and most of them have babies! One of them is 40! When did that happen? Here are 10 other things that will help make you feel seriously old.

1. Zac Hanson is no longer just the cute little "baby" of Hanson, playing drums with his older brothers. Actually, he's 27. Meanwhile, some other boy band "babies"? Justin Timberlake, NSYNC, is 32. Drew Lachey, 98 Degrees, is 36. Joey McIntyre, New Kids on the Block, is 40.

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Child stars who made it to Broadway

How to Succeed marquee

Do you remember Olivia from The Cosby Show? The uber adorable little girl who stole scenes everywhere she went? Well, now she's a nun. On Broadway, that is. She's currently playing Deloris in the Broadway production of Sister Act.

Time will tell whether Raven-Symoné's time on the big stage proves successful. But overall, former child stars who make it to Broadway have had mixed results. Here are a few child stars who have made the leap, some who have soared and some who have flopped.

Daniel Radcliffe, Equus and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Harry Potter star first made waves on Broadway in Equus, a very not-appropriate-for-children production that was a stark departure from the role that made him famous (along with some disturbing subject matter, the role required him to appear fully nude onstage). Radcliffe received rave reviews for his performance, and last year he returned to Broadway as the lead in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, for which he also received plenty of praise. I saw him in How to Succeed last summer, and he was amazing. Radcliffe's Broadway future seems pretty secure.

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The TN Team Blog’s top posts of 2011

Best of 2011

As 2011 winds down, I thought it would be fun to look back upon our first year of blogging here at TN and see which posts readers liked the most. So, based on various social media and Google analytics data, here are the best posts of 2011:

Most comments: Win Free Concert Tickets!
What concert do you NEED to see?

This one doesn’t surprise me, since people love free stuff and all you had to do was comment on the post with the concert you just HAD to see and you’d be entered to win! Still, it’s good to know people like our contests…makes us want to do more in 2012!

Most Stumbleupon views: Daniel Radcliffe: J. Pierrepont Finch vs. Harry Potter

I did not expect this one to take off like it did, but my comparison between the two major characters that have been portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe got almost 9,000 views on Stumbleupon! We never did figure out the ultimate winner of this showdown…

Bieber Fever Flowchart

Most Facebook likes: Funny Flowchart: Do you have Bieber Fever?

This is one of my personal favorites, and apparently it was also a favorite for the Facebookers among you. Not sure if you have the Fever or not? Take our handy dandy quiz! What’s better than a flowchart? (click the image to enlarge the flowchart)

Most page views: 17 funny yet possibly effective pickup lines

This one came from one of our questions during the blog kickoff contest way back in May. One of our readers suggested the post, and we made it happen. I really enjoyed these random Friday-ish posts.

Runners-up:

Before They Were Famous: YouTube All-Stars

This one appeared in second place for a few of our metrics, so I wanted to make sure I mentioned it. Check it out for some crazy flashbacks from some of your favorite celebrities.

Halloween is approaching: vampires vs. werewolves

Who doesn’t love vampires and werewolves? Or at least debating which one could take the other one in a fight?

Happy Fourth of July! Best things about the July 4th holiday

This topical post from July 4 made it into the top 10 out of over 125 blog posts for the year. Not bad, Tim!

Which blog post was your favorite of 2011? What would you like to see in 2012?

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