NEW YORK (AP) -- Audiences at Wednesday's matinee of "War Horse" likely never noticed a very special actor quietly making his Lincoln Center stage debut.

Best-selling author Michael Morpurgo, who wrote the book the Tony Award-winning play is based on, joined a crowd scene at the auctioning of the horse Joey at the top of the show.

The author, who made a similar appearance in the London production of "War Horse" and is an extra in Steven Spielberg's new movie version, didn't speak and didn't appear again until the curtain call a few hours later.

Said the 68-year-old writer with a smile backstage: "They hide me away."

Morpurgo's New York acting debut was perhaps more meaningful than the others: His father twice appeared at Lincoln Center in the 1960s.