This is a completely spoiler-free account of my experience seeing
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in New York City during previews.
I can remember vividly the last time I stood in line, anxiously awaiting the debut of anything to do with Harry Potter. The year was 2011, I was 19, and the final chapter, Deathly Hallows Part Two, was about to premiere. My friends and I had just finished a 24 Hour Harry Potter Movie Marathon leading up to the midnight premiere and were dressed to the nines in our best Hogwarts gear. (And I had a Blackberry at the time so phone pictures were definitely sub-par...). I can remember the anticipation that lodged itself in the pit of my stomach until the lights went down and the opening music began.
Standing in line waiting for the doors of the Lyric Theatre in New York City to open up, I felt that same level of anticipation for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as I had with each of the midnight releases of the Harry Potter books and films. I was actually shocked that I was so excited to see it because, to probably no one's surprise, I hated the screenplay for Harry Potter in the Cursed Child. If you've been following me long enough on social media then you might even know that the very first YouTube video I ever filmed was a reaction to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child... which is a book that's made it into my DNF (did not finish) pile.
Let me preface this by saying that there is a very long list of things that happen in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that I do not and will not ever consider canon. Canon is basically just a fancy word for "official" or confirmed fact based on what has either been written in the books, on Pottermore, or something that J. K. Rowling herself has said. There are a few problems with the plot of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that would completely change the actual plot of the Harry Potter series which is something I'm just not okay with. I want to keep this as spoiler-free as possible so I'll end my criticism there.
In truth, the only reason I kept putting in for the Friday Forty lottery on Today Tix is that I simply wanted to say that I had seen it. I never thought I would win so there wasn't any real feeling of attachment or hope there. I was just looking for a way to see it cheap. If I got the tickets, great! But it wasn't the end of the world if I never saw it. After all, I had read the screenplay! When I realized I had won the tickets, I had expected to go to the show and have an evening of fun surrounded by other Harry Potter fans, by some merch, and walk away.
What I wasn't expecting, however, was to fall completely and madly in love with the Harry Potter series all over again.
Everything about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child NYC was brilliant. From the set design to the choreography, the costumes, the actors, everything was completely mindblowing from start to finish. The actors are beautifully cast and I can picture each of the characters as they were in past, present, and will be in the future because of how talented that cast is. And don't even get me started on the magic.
What I loved most about seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was how it made me appreciate how people grow and change. How our pasts shape our futures. How we struggle with trauma and loss and heartbreak throughout our lives. How strong the power of friendship truly is. The production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child completely changed the way I looked at the screenplay. While there are pieces of it that are problematic to the original integrity of the story, I fell in love even more with each of the characters that it is enough to look past those issues and just enjoy the show for what it truly is.
You're probably reading all of this and going, "Great, Darrian, why are you telling me all of this?" and my answer will be that I want you to hear it straight from me that I was wrong for going into the show with low expectations. I laughed, I cried, I felt like I was reliving my childhood while also being able to detect the more adult points to the Cursed Child plot. The bottom line is that if you have the chance to go and see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child while it's being performed in New York City then you had best do it.
I could make this post a million times longer by talking about how much Harry Potter means to me and continue to gush about the show even more but I really don't want to give too much away (the hashtag for the show is #KeepTheSecrets after all). I mentioned on my Instagram the day after the show that I felt like I was welcomed home again and it just made me realize that I will always love Harry Potter and the world in which it exists. Always.