Earlier this year the previously London-only based two part play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” finally came to the USA and opened on Broadway. In March I managed to get tickets for the end of November. And so it was that I got to see Part One on November 29, and Part Two on November 30.
The nights I was there starred many of the original London cast members; Jamie Parker as the now adult Harry Potter, Poppy Miller as his wife Ginny Potter, Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, and many others. Funnily enough, the cast list in the program even has a spoiler warning on it — “If you do not wish to know all the characters featured in the play, do not read until the end of Part Two.” Without giving too much away, the play starts essentially with the epilogue of the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in which adult Harry and Ginny are sending their son Albus (played here by Sam Clemmett) off to Hogwarts for the first time.
The show was incredible in its staging. I would love to expound on this, but the show runners ask that you not review much. Either plot or stagecraft. That they want everyone to experience it spoiler free. So without giving too much away, know that the show is filled with illusions unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And unlike a magician’s act where you are expecting the tricks, these are woven into the story and plot. This is the Wizarding World, after all, but believe me it goes beyond simply handling the wand waving of the principle characters.
It was also interesting to me that this is a play with a soundtrack, composed by Grammy-Award winner Imogen Heap. While there was no live orchestra present, music did play for key scenes. It definitely added to the overall experience, and once getting over the initial surprise of having background music, it blended in nicely like a good soundtrack would do.
So while I shall respect the wishes of the show and not give too much away, I would also like to call out that in my performances a key role was portrayed by the cover/understudy, an actor by the name of Nathan Salstone. Honestly, I only knew this because I purchased the collectible program after the show, and noticed a different actor in the photos. Not that I noticed anything during the performance, mind you. Mr. Salstone was fantastic in his part, and was one of my favorite performances of the show. So kudos to him!
When all is said and done, the Potter play is definitely a wonderful show full of fun, surprises, scares, and of course, magic.