A few weeks ago, Katie, Marissa, and I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. Just…soak up the epic-ness of that last sentence. I’d love to share our theater-going experience, but first, I do solemnly swear there will be NO SPOILERS about the content of the play itself.
Katie was the one who started the Broadway ball rolling. In the fall of 2017, she entered and won the ticket purchase lottery. And that is how, eight months later, Marissa, Katie, and I journeyed to Manhattan to witness wizarding wonders. We were really excited.
Like, really, really, really, REALLY excited.
The performance is split into two parts. Part I runs for 2 hours and 40 minutes, which includes a 20 minute intermission. Part II is 2 hours and 35 minutes with another 20 minute intermission. The way Katie purchased the tickets, we saw both parts on the same day, with a dinner break.
Cursed Child is playing at the Lyric Theater, which underwent a massive, multimillion dollar renovation in order to host the play. The co-designers (Christine Jones and Brett J. Banakis) must be huge Harry Potter fans because you can absolutely feel the love, care, and creativity that went into creating a totally immersive experience.
For example, there’s a circular room that’s filled with a huge mural of patronus. Their bodies incorporate BOOK quotes! They are the masterful work of UK artist Peter Strain.
A little further in the theater is a multi-story staircase. Very elegant.
But the best part is the ceiling. Look at this…!
The lowest level was decorated to resemble the Forbidden Forest. The pillars are natural wood that has painted over. So they resemble highly stylized tree trunks.
Take a closer look at the carpet, too. A delicate little custom H emblem for Hogwarts.
Custom gilded wall paper too. I fell in love with the the balcony-level wallpaper…
Even the merchandise areas were stylish. The Lyric has a couple shops, concession stands, even bars for the grown-ups! This is a shelf in one of the candy areas. I love the branch, glass goblet, and books. There were cool old books on display everywhere.
Finally, it was time for the show to begin. Here’s the interior of the theater. If you look closely at the stage, you’ll see stacks of old-fashioned suitcases. The first scene takes place on the platform in King’s Cross Station.
I promised no play spoilers, but what I can say is…wow. Wow wow wow wowie-WOW. It was a masterpiece of acting, music, choreography, lighting and stage illusion. Some of the illusions were BIG. And some of the illusions were such simple, beautiful little touches, it brought tears to my eyes. There were inside jokes for book fans, and the return of much-loved characters (even if it was ever-so-briefly). Without giving anything away, I will say that the production crews used every single bit of that theater to tremendous effect.
The end of Part I will simply take your breathe away. Seriously. I didn’t exhale for 3 minutes while things played out. Here’s Katie’s son and niece giving their reactions to the conclusion of Part I.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child kept us utterly enthralled for 5 hours and 15 minutes. There were 3 curtains calls to a massive standing ovation. The cast and crew deserve every single bit of that applause and more. They put their whole hearts into what will forever be one of the highlights of my literary life. Bravo.