J.K. Rowling created an immersive universe in her seven novels that described Harry Potter as he grew to adulthood while battling the forces of evil that threatened his wizarding world. Following her series' wildly popular film adaptations, Rowling turned her creative talents to the theater, developing the story that became "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child." Playwright Jack Thorne fleshed out the story into a two-part play that premiered in London in 2016.
The Broadway production at New York's Lyric Theatre compresses the two plays into a single performance.
Rather than focusing on Harry and his friends, "The Cursed Child" tells the story of Harry's son, Albus, as he attends the Hogwarts Wizarding School. The Sorting Hat assigns Albus to Slytherin House, where he befriends Scorpius Malfoy - son of Harry's old nemesis Draco. Together, the two attempt to travel back in time and prevent the death of Cedric Diggory, whom the evil Lord Voldemort killed during the Triwizard Tournament.
Joel Myers and Erik Christopher Peterson excel as Albus and Scorpius, respectively. Peterson is especially charming, projecting a nerdiness that contrasts with his father's bravado. The two boys are haunted by comparisons with their fathers - Albus because he can never live up to the heroic Harry and Scorpius because Draco was an ally of Voldemort's.
Unlike many Broadway productions, "Cursed" is not a musical. There is no singing, and the music is mainly instrumental. But some well-choreographed dance numbers help advance the story. And special effects enhance the show, such as when dementors descend from the ceiling to suck the soles of their victims.
If I have any complaint, it is with the acoustics of the Lyric. I sometimes lost the dialogue between the unmiked actors and their British accents. But this is a minor flaw, and it did not diminish my enjoyment.
At 3.5 hours, this show is one of the longest I have seen. But its story, acting, and production made it feel much shorter.