Broadway: The Cursed Child

Kenya Ripley-Dunlap:

I thought Ipsita was going to kick me out of Edwards when I told her I hadn’t read or watched the Harry Potter series… However, I did force a Harry Potter fan to explain the entire series to me for two hours the night before watching Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’m glad I did. Watching this performance truly felt like I was immersed into a world of magic. Characters emerged and disappeared from the stage with seemingly no explanation–they appeared to switch bodies, materialize from small suitcases, and stay underwater in an onstage pool for an impossible amount of time. The stage design was so well-crafted that I still ponder how some of the on-stage magic was accomplished. Traditional theater is performed atop a platform, but this stage seemed to be another actor. It transformed throughout the production. The foundation shook, as if encountering a time warp, whenever the place or time of the scene changed. It even seemed to extend into the crowd at certain points. Parseltongue written all over the theater walls was revealed under blacklight. 15 foot dementors were also released above the crowd and swooped through the air: illuminating a darker part of the Harry Potter world. As Goffman would say, theater is all about suspending belief– a challenging feat when the world is full of magic. The transformative, audience-inclusive, undefinable stage was a crucial tool in this undertaking. Being immersed into this world of dark academia and magic for a few hours was so enjoyable that I am excited to tackle a task that my nerdy friends have been telling me to do for years now: read the Harry Potter books.

Cassy James:

Going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was such a blast! The costumes, sets, and special effects were literally breathtaking–I’m not sure I’ll ever get over having a dementor fly just a few feet away. Most of all, though, what really stood out to me were the themes at the heart of the play: family, love, and what it means to truly build a relationship with someone. The actors conveyed those ideas with so much passion and specificity, making the experience magical in every sense of the word.

Sandra Chen:

After a three-year hiatus, it was wonderful to be back on a Princeton trip to Broadway. I had so much fun going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. From the moment we entered the theater, I felt like I was stepping into the world I had loved so much as a child. The details in the physical space contributed so much to the magical atmosphere of the night. 

The show itself was quite the whirlwind. While I must say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the actual plot of the show, as I found some of the character development and written dialogue to be less than perfectly executed, I was completely blown away by the special effects on stage. From the floating Dumbledore portrait to the enchanted bookcase to the epic fight between Harry and Draco, I was thoroughly enthralled by the magic of the production, audibly oohing throughout the show. Some of the best moments for me were the lighthearted and funny scenes, which never failed to bring a smile or make me laugh. A special shoutout to the scene with Moaning Myrtle, which I found to be a real highlight. All in all, I had a great time watching the show and immersing myself back into the Wizarding World.

Sebastian Aguilar:

I had never watched any of the Harry Potter movies growing up (do not blame me, I have very religious parents). I have also never been to a Broadway show nor did I take much interest in them. I was a different kind of artsy kid; I never got into theater or acting, and I most definitely do not sing. This was an entirely new experience for me, and I was excited to see what it was all about. My friend forced me to take a Hogwarts House quiz to see which one I belonged in—I am apparently Gryffindor. The show began, and I was instantly intrigued. It contained a powerful theme and interesting characters that made it easy to follow. The special effects made it seem like I was at a magic show, which made the show much more entertaining. My favorite part was right before the intermission where the Dementors floated across the entire theater. The threatening music combined with the appearance of the Dementors made for a truly spooky scene and one I enjoyed thoroughly.

Despite not being an avid fan of either Harry Potter or Broadway shows, I am glad I decided to come along and experience something new. It definitely will not be the last Broadway show I attend.

Yun Hallowell:

This was a great show!! The details — decor and music in the lobby, Harry Potter themed snacks, etc. — made it super fun. The performance itself was great; it was a really accessible show for people who may or may not be into Broadway, and the magic tricks were super entertaining. It was also fun to see a show that’s part of the Harry Potter canon, which so many of us were familiar with. It gave us lots to talk about on the walk/bus ride back home.