Five Reasons Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two Transcends Traditional Theatre
By Iris Wiener
May 12, 2018: According to Harry Potter’s one-time foil and adversary, Draco Malfoy, “People say parenting is the hardest job in the world. It isn’t. Growing up is.” With the opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, New York audiences are at the very least reminded that they don’t ever have to grow up (entirely, at least), and that the magic of theatre can help to keep the imagination youthful and alive. Because the production is so phenomenal in part due to its well-kept secrets, here we recognize only a few of many reasons the show is a profound experience. (Warning: Wizarding jargon ahead!)
1. Literal magic.
Theatre is magical by nature. Remember when the flying carpet in Aladdin made jaws drop? However, few shows employ actual magic tricks, and none employ them so flawlessly on such a large scale. In Cursed Child, apparating, the floo network and time travel are only a few of the standout moments that are simply stunning in their craftiness.
2. A newly constructed, re-imagined theatre. Three-dimensional signage is only the beginning of the Lyric’s transformation; its new design features fewer seats (an idea that is usually unheard of due to the loss of potential ticket sales), and an unprecedented interior that is revealed throughout the show. (To reveal more here would spoil it.) Don’t forget to take in every detail of Christine Jones’, Brett J. Banakis’ and Gary Beestone’s intricate design components, such as the carpeting, monogrammed glass doors and dragon sconces.
3. Even the house crew is immersed in J.K. Rowling’s world.
Hit intermission and need an extra program? An usher will tell you to visit the “cloak room.” One merchandise seller was even caught demonstrating how to properly hold a magic wand. Whether you’re leaving after part one or returning for part two, be prepared to hear “Happy Voldemort Day” as you take in a lobby that has transfigured while you took in the show.
4. Potterheads are a cog in the immersive experience.
It’s impossible to take in Cursed Child without being surrounded by the biggest fans in New York. Muggles and wizards alike are decked out in garb from Hogwarts houses. Don’t have your Gryffindor scarf yet? No problem. The merchandise shop at the 42nd street entrance is filled with gear from each house, in addition to magic wands for aspiring wizards of all ages.
5. The “Wow” factor.
Both parts of the show generate open mouths aplenty. The surprises, scares, and sensational effects are mind-blowing. Thought you had a fun fright when you took in The Phantom of the Opera years ago? Nothing has prepared you for the brilliant surprises in John Tiffany’s feat, one that even left seasoned theatre critics gasping (and not simply because they were face-to-face with deatheaters). Note that seats in the dress circle allow for the most encompassing experience, as they allow audiences a better vantage point of the enormity transpiring around them.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The Lyric Theatre214 W 43rd St, NYC.
Running time: Part 1: TWO HOURS, 40 MIN.; Part 2: TWO HOURS, 35 MIN.
Photo: Mathew Murphy