The award-winning play saw its world premiere take place in London’s West End almost two years ago.
Now seven members of the original cast – Jamie Parker (Harry Potter), Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger) and Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley) with Poppy Miller (Ginny Potter), Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter), Alex Price (Draco Malfoy) and Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy) – have transferred across the pond to Broadway’s Lyric Theatre in New York City.
At a gala opening yesterday, Harry Potter author Rowling attended with Cursed Child’s writers and director Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.
And from the critical reception it sounds like the $68 million play – the most expensive non-musical Broadway production ever – has replicated the five star success it enjoyed in London. Here are some of the review highlights:
The Hollywood Reporter
I’m by no means a Potter obsessive but I was amazed, watching the plays, at how vividly these characters are embedded in our cultural consciousness. You can feel the electric charge in the theatre even before the action begins, and it’s highly infectious, whatever your prior exposure.
New York Times
In embodying the magical with such seeming spontaneity, “Cursed Child” becomes the new gold standard for fantasy franchise entertainment on Broadway.
We love the swirling black cloaks and conical hats of the witches and wizards, the shroud-like garments of the Dementors and the marvels of time travel. But most of all, we love seeing theatre that shows us the true magic of great storytelling.
The show, for its many twisty turns, belongs squarely to its most consistent leads, its equally cursed children: Boyle and Clemmett, two fine English actors who, at 23 and 24, are as exceptional a leading pair as those Mormon boys or Wicked girls.
As such, it remains utterly gripping and entirely original in its own right, while also providing fans with plenty of references and developments for them to enjoy. John Tiffany’s urgent, theatrical production is a continuing marvel, boasting absolutely brilliant effects but always remaining foregrounded in the storytelling.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is haunted by death and pain; it is often suspenseful and sometimes downright frightening. Yet amid the cinematic tumult and dazzle of the densely action-packed plot, Thorne and Tiffany carve out quiet scenes of intimacy and tenderness. Great care has gone into creating each moment of this state-of-the-art adventure. It leaves its audience awestruck, spellbound and deeply satisfied.
Under Tiffany’s shoot-for-the-moon direction, they have presented it in a form that is exuberantly, flabbergastingly, Playbill-shreddingly theatrical.
The play – whose story is credited to Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany – has an emotional honesty that, like the books, never sinks into sentimentality and guarantees its endurance. At its essence is a story about parents and children, specifically fathers and sons, struggling to connect with a loved one they can’t understand.
The Cursed Child will inspire wonder and debate in muggles and Potterheads alike. And if Rowling wishes it so, it’ll make a hell of a movie. But right now, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child seizes the stage by divine right. Like it belongs there. Like it doesn’t want to leave. It’s more than the best new play of the season. It’s some kind of miracle.
Not all the critics were completely positive, however, with some feeling the story and script could have been better – but nevertheless were wowed by the spectacle as a whole.
The pacing is slow but as all Rowling fans know, she won’t be hurried. Thankfully, the plot is ingenious, the characters superb and the set by Christine Jones atmospheric. The magic is well beyond abracadabra levels. (Aladdin, playing just a few streets away here, eat your heart out.) The stagecraft is out of this world, literally.
Though the script is tinny in parts, and the production often feels rushed despite its luxurious length, those problems are dimmed by the giddy magnificence of its design.
To commune with 1,000-plus fervent Harry Potter fans is to feel—in the best, most astonishing moments of this well-meaning, often silly, sometimes flat-out bad extravaganza—why theatre is a wonderful medium for this ageless franchise.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Broadway tickets can be purchased here.