Harry Potter has come to Broadway.
However The Boy Who Lived is a boy now not: He’s 37 years previous and going by way of a magical midlife disaster in J.Okay. Rowling and Jack Thorne’s excellent play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Youngster,” which opened Sunday night time.
And Broadway’s by no means seen something fairly prefer it.
This household present is greater than 5 hours lengthy and introduced in two elements, requiring two separate tickets (and good luck getting them). A lot of the story is informed by way of Steven Hoggett’s brilliantly choreographed strikes. Witches glide throughout the stage, clutching their robes and swishing them in rhythm. Stags are dropped at life in vibrant blue flame, and other people disappear into skinny air. Had Harry crooned a ballad to his broomstick, “Cursed Youngster” could be the perfect musical of the season.
However there are not any songs right here. “Cursed Youngster” is very a lot a play, and a charming one at that.
There’s an aura round this present. Ushers hand out buttons saying, “Hold the secrets and techniques,” to departing theatergoers, who’ve been urged to reveal little of the plot of director John Tiffany’s slick manufacturing. So that you gained’t discover any spoilage right here — just a few mild fermentation.
Though Harry Potter is the title within the title, the actual heroes listed below are his 11-year-old son, Albus (Sam Clemmett), simply beginning his first 12 months at Hogwarts College, and his finest pal, Scorpius Malfoy (Anthony Boyle). Sure, Malfoy, spawn of Draco, Harry’s platinum-blond nemesis.
However Albus — named for Hogwarts’ beloved headmaster, Dumbledore — has his personal demons. He stinks at spells, lacks Dad’s charisma and may’t abdomen the highlight.
However, he summons the gumption to go on a Potter-y journey — and save, damage after which lastly save the day. Whereas this is primarily a time-travel story during which Albus and Scorpius attempt to rewrite historical past, it finest succeeds as a drama a couple of father and son attempting so onerous to speak however not listening to one another.
When you’ll really feel extra at dwelling for those who’ve learn Rowling’s books or seen the movies, Potter neophytes will definitely be moved by the parent-child dynamics on this play.
That mentioned, the clunky dialogue might have used some transfiguration, as a result of Tennessee Williams, this isn’t — it’s barely Indiana Jones. However no one turns to Harry Potter for Oscar Wildean wit. For those who’re after escape, laughter and an excellent cry, “Cursed Youngster” delivers.
It additionally boasts some sturdy performers, lots of whom made the journey from London. The play’s single largest asset is Boyle’s geeky Scorpius, who has no quantity management however a pitch-perfect knack for touchdown a punch line.
Jamie Parker’s Harry is a mix of the curious teen we met in 1997 and a bedraggled 9-to-5’er. Clemmett’s Albus will make you wince remembering these college days when it appeared nothing would ever get higher. After which there’s the terrific Byron Jennings, who performs . . . nicely, I’ve promised to not spoil it.
The Lyric Theatre has undergone a surprising renovation. Unique paintings, fixtures, carpeting and extra are all Harry-themed now. Clearly, the Potter producers, like a renter who paints his partitions chartreuse, don’t suppose they’re going anyplace for a very long time.
And, by Dumbledore, they could be proper.