Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Broadway Review

Denisa and I headed into New York City over the weekend to catch a performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. So I’m taking a break from my blogging break to pop in and give it a quick review.

For those of you who don’t know, this is a play (not a musical, though it involves a lot of non-sung music) that started in London and made its way over to the US about a year ago. It’s an official part of the Harry Potter universe, written in conjunction with JK Rowling herself, so it’s officially canon. It tells the story of Albus Severus Potter (Harry and Ginny’s younger son) as he heads off to Hogwarts. It’s a two part play, meaning it spans two entire plays. We watched Part One at 2pm (complete with an intermission), and then came back for Part Two at 7:30pm the same day.

We loved it. That said, I don’t think it’s for everyone. The biggest litmus test would be just how big a Harry Potter fan you are. If you know the books backward and forward, you’re likely a good fit. There are tons of references that might sail by a casual fan. You’re going to be with the show for five and a half hours of your Saturday. If that doesn’t fill you with excitement, it’s probably best to move on. But if you *are* a Harry Potter nut (many people attended dressed in robes, for example), then this is definitely for you.

(Assuming you can afford it. The cheapest seats that don’t have obstructed views are about $90/seat (after fees). And you need to buy a ticket for each part, so that means the cheapest seats are more like $175 total. Judging from the theater, I think you’d have a fine time in the lower balcony, but I probably wouldn’t have liked to be sitting in the upper balcony, where the seats are cheapest. You can go here to see pics from most areas of the theater. Denisa and I somehow managed to get tickets in the second row for what turns out is a very good price, but it was still more than I typically would have liked to spend. In the end, I justified it by reasoning the odds of this show going on tour is slim (due to how complex it is to stage), so it was pay the money to see it now, or don’t see it at all . . . But really, they were awesome seats. I could have reached out and slapped the actors, if I leaned forward. Not that I wanted to.)

Why would you want to see the production? It’s pretty elaborate, with amazing special effects. Fireballs. Magic. Flying. Dueling. You name it. The story is a more mature take on Harry Potter, delving into the realistic repercussions of what happened in the story. Sure, some of it is pure fan service, but you’re a Harry Potter aficionado, remember? That’s what you’re all about.

I thought the acting was fantastic, and while there were a few plot holes, I didn’t mind them too much, because they’re nothing that couldn’t have been solved with a bit of explanation, so I just assumed I didn’t have the complete explanation.

Note that the script has been published, but I for one would recommend against reading the script. I really enjoyed being taken along for the ride and learning the ins and outs of the plot as it unfolded. So much of the energy came from the performances, I fear the script would be quite dull in comparison.

In any case, we both loved it. A 9/10 for sure. Glad we went. Glad we spent the money. Glad we took the time. (The chance to stay in the city and have a tour of Queens from one of my illustrious agents was just icing on the cake.) If you’re in the neighborhood of NYC, definitely consider carving out some time for this production. If you have any specific questions, ask away. (Though I’ll avoid giving spoilers, because who wants that?)


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