*Please note: This blog post was written a while ago. My thoughts, opinions, and writing skills have changed since then. Any posts written before 2020 should be assumed to not fully reflect my current thoughts, opinions, and writing capabilities unless otherwise stated. If you would like clarification on my thoughts/opinions about any specific points mentioned in this post, feel free to reach out to me.*
Hi, All. I hope everyone is well. I know I haven’t posted in FOREVER and that’s because life is crazy. But, back in May, I got to go see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway!!!!! Which is crazy, but I never got around to posting about it, and it’s long overdue. I thought since today is Harry and JKR’s birthday, it would be my last chance and an appropriate time to talk about it, so here’s a sum-up of what the experience was like and a review of what I thought!
My experience actually began in February, when a batch of tickets were put on sale. I gave my mom very specific instructions for how to get onto the queue, because I was in Chemistry when the website launched and my teacher had a strict no cell phone policy. As soon as that class let out, I joined the queue as well–the queue was randomized and your place in line was not based on how fast you joined. I was able to get on, and frantically tried all the dates I could to buy four tickets (for each person in my family). September 1st was already sold out, as were other important Harry Potter dates (like today). I was going for the $10 seats but there were none. I was so stressed because I knew the longer I spent checking each date, the faster the seats would sell out. Finally, I decided to look for three tickets, then two, then one…I finally found one and it was a Dress Circle seat–aka a $427.50 ticket for Sunday, May 20. Which is definitely a lot, and I had to take all that money out of my bank account so I could pay my parents back, but I couldn’t help but be so excited! I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I really felt that the opportunity was too good to pass. I have this weird mindset (which is definitely not good, as it causes me to overspend) where if a great opportunity presents itself to me, I feel I really have to take it no matter what. I live near New York, which means a lot of opportunities like this. So, I was $427.50 poorer and extremely excited for what was to come in four months!
Flashback to exactly two years ago from today, when the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script was first released. I was so excited for the “eighth” book, and really curious as to what it meant. I knew it would be about the Next Generation characters, but surely it wouldn’t be Albus Potter or any of the other Potter kids or even Harry himself, because All Was Well, right?? Right?? But then…as any of you who have read the script know, I was completely mistaken. And I was very upset with the script, for several reasons. First, that the events were just so completely implausible. Even all the crazy events that occurred in the original series, they were believable. But not so for Cursed Child. Everything that happened was due to this mistake with a time-turner, which would have never even happened because Hermione is smarter than hiding it in a bookcase which could be broken by a riddle. That was very out of character for me. And second, the whole plot didn’t even have a point. It just felt like a sequence of random nightmares and dreams, each one less believable than the next. There was no point to these stories. Even more, the writing didn’t even read like a Potter book. It wasn’t JKR-esque. Which, makes sense, because the script wasn’t even really written by her. The last major problem I had with the script is that everyone was so out of character, especially Harry, who would have never said the things he did to Albus and which I really believe he wouldn’t. The way I’ve always imagined the Next Generation era is so different from that, and therefore I did not like the script. I accepted it as a sort of fanfiction, and a separate story, but not part of the Potter universe. Why, then, did I waste $400+ to see it onstage? Honestly, because I wanted so bad to like it. I wanted to give it a chance to redeem itself. I wanted to forgive J.K. Rowling for putting it into the Potter-verse. And although the decision to spend that much money on that chance is questionable, it happened, and I’m glad to report that, thankfully, I don’t regret it one bit!
So now flash forwards to Sunday, May 20. I was seeing Part One at 2:00 PM, so we arrived at the Lyric Theatre around 1:00 PM. If you haven’t seen the marquee for Cursed Child, it’s so cool. There’s a giant metal snitch wing (like the one on the script cover) that has lights in it. It’s HUGE. When I got in line, everyone was wearing merch which is always great to see. There’s always a magical feeling in the air whenever a whole bunch of Potterheads are together in the same place. The inside of the theatre has such a cool design as well. Like I mentioned before, I was sat in the Dress Circle, so my seat was very high up. At first I thought it wouldn’t be a good view, but it was actually really great to be able to see everything from high up (although, I’m sure every seat in the theatre has a great vantage point). And then, the lights dimmed, and everything began!
At first, I felt a dawning sense of regret for the first few scenes. It took me a bit to get into the story, because everything just seemed so cheesy and all I could think was, I spent $400 on this?! However, the longer the play went on, the more invested I became until eventually everything else just fell away and what was happening onstage became reality–the willful suspension of disbelief, as my old theatre teacher would say. The story became really evocative–the acting was amazing, and it’s hard to believe that those kids onstage are basically the same age as me. The cast was genuinely amazing–every single one of them. One of the things that made the experience so cool and believable was the set. They truly incorporated every inch of the theatre into their set, and I’m not going to spoil some of the surprises in there but let me just tell you–IT. IS. SO. COOL. It’s amazing, honestly. And a ton of the stuff that, when I read it in the script, I was like how in the world would they do this onstage? is done in ways that I wouldn’t have even thought could be possible! At one point there’s a literal pool onstage. I also really loved the costumes. There’s not much that can be said there, because it’s what you would expect–robes and the whole lot–but I was happily satisfied. Especially when they’re wearing their everyday clothes, you can really see everyone’s character, especially for Ron, whose costumes were so fitting of who he is.
After Part 2, which I saw later in the day, I stagedoored and got to talk to some of the cast! They were all so nice, and they took pictures with me and signed my Playbill.
For me, the story was much better onstage–it just becomes so much more evocative when you have real humans up there, with their emotions displayed for you. Although I still don’t consider the story as actual canon that would happen, it’s an amazing story by itself–with its own world and characters. I really loved the experience, and if you have the means, I recommend that you go see it. The special effects and set design were a huge part that just blew me away. There’s a lottery for it, that will cost much less than $400, that you can enter in! It’s a great work of theatre to see.
And, if any of you are interested in reading a much more believable version of events in the Next Generation era, I recommend this time-traveling fanfiction that was written back in 2010 and is amazing! It’s called Choices, and I’ve read it so many times, and I love the author. After Cursed Child came out I messaged her saying her story was a much better version of things. So if fanfiction is your thing, please go read that!
Thanks for reading this! I hope to get back in the groove soon with my blogging and bookstagramming. What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Let me know in the comments below!