Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Broadway Theater Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2 TOP PICK

Noma Dumezweni, Susan Heyward, Paul Thornley, Olivia Bond, Ben Wheelwright,
Jamie Parker, Poppy Miller, Sam Clemmett . Photo: Manuel Harlan
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2
By Jack Thorne, based on a story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
Directed by John Tiffany
Lyric Theatre

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
The Broadway transfer of the London  hit sequel story to the Harry Potter books. The show is presented in two parts, each just over two and a half hours, and yes, you really do need to see both parts. And no, you don't have to know the story of Harry and his magical friends to enjoy this time-hopping story by Jack Thorne based on a story by Harry Potter book author J.K. Rowling and stage director John Tiffany.

Almost 20 years after the books ended, Harry (Jamie Parker),an employee of the Ministry of Magic and his wife, Ginny (Poppy Miller) are the parents of three kids, the eldest of which, Albus Severus (Sam Clemmett) is about to head off for wizard training at Hogwarts. Joke shop owner Ron Weasley (an amusing Paul Thornley) and Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni), who is now Minister of Magic, send their daughter, Rose (Susan Heyward) on the Hogwart's Express as well. Note: the color-blind casting of African-American Dumezweni threw me at first and had me wondering what happened to Hermione because in the one movie I had seen, Hermione was white. All Potter fans knew that Dumezweni was Hermione immediately, of course, because they knew from the books (which I hadn't read) that Hermione and Ron got married.

At school, Harry befriends Scorpius Malfoy (a delightful Anthony Boyle), the son of Harry's nemesis Draco.

I won't tell you more, as you will want to discover the plot yourself, but I will let you know that some events and characters from the past are revisited through time travel.

What Are the Highlights?
A thoroughly absorbing story with one of the most complex plots I ever have seen on stage.

The special effects are dazzling. Intricate and at the same time, surprisingly simple. I won't give too many details because I don't want to spoil, but the time-travel effects are amazing (illusions and magic by Jamie Harrison). Millions of dollars well spent.

Thoroughly enjoyed this play, even though the Harry Potter books never appealed to me. The more than six-hour run time (I saw both parts in one day) went by very quickly.

This show has virtually no competition to win the Tony Award for Best Play. Excellence at every level of performance and creative craft. Well done in an intimate setting that makes you feel you are part of the action. It is the highlight of my season,

What Are the Lowlights?
While the time travel is done very well, there is some confusion a couple of times when harry is remembering or dreaming about past events. We haven't traveled back in time and to someone not familiar with the books or movies, it is not immediately clear that these scenes are from the past. It's a small gripe-- 99 percent of the audience recognizes little Harry (Will Coombs and Landon Haas share the role).

More Information:
Harry Potter is doing theater magic at the Lyric Theatre, which has been refurbished to accommodate this show, at 214 West 43rd St., NYC.

Additional credits:
Movement by Steven Hoggett, (fabulous) Set by Christine Jones, Costumes by Katrina Lindsay, Musica and Arrangements by Imogen Heap, Lighting by Neil Austin, Sound by Gareth Fry, Music Supervision and Arrangements by Martin Lowe.

Tickets are hard to get and expensive, but there is a lottery. Check out the page at
The running time of Part One is approximately 2 hours 40 minutes and Part Two runs approximately 2 hours 35 minutes. Both include one 20-minute intermission.

Photo: Matthew Murphy

I am not listing additional casting, because I don't want to spoil which characters might or might not appear in this sequel.

-- Magic

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Gracewell Prodiuctions

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2022 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women or people of a certain race are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide, or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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