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BROADWAY REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

April 22, 2018:

Time is a dangerous toy in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the enthralling two-part play about the later life of its title wizard. Various characters in this deluxe London import, which opened on Sunday night at the Lyric Theater, find it in their power to journey into the past, which means altering the future, which means serious trouble for everyone.

In that regard, these stumbling adventure-seekers must be regarded as lesser magicians than their creators, who include J.K. Rowling, the writer of the prodigiously popular Harry Potter fantasy novels, and the poetic director John Tiffany (“Black Watch,” “The Glass Menagerie”). This inspired team bends time to its will with an imagination and discipline that leave room for nary a glitch, making five hours of performance pass in a wizardly wink of an eye.

Featuring a script by Jack Thorne — from an original story by Ms. Rowling, Mr. Thorne and Mr. Tiffany — “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” also gives vibrant, decades-traversing life to those wistful “what if” speculations about the past that occupy both grown-ups and children. It’s a process that involves folding stories into stories into stories, collapsing years into minutes and making dreams feel eternal, and more vivid than reality.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: My Fair Lady

Poor Eliza. It’s not enough that her own father sells her for five pounds to the bully phonetician Henry Higgins. Or that Higgins strips her of her ragged clothes and Cockney accent so she can become a refined if useless lady. No, the former flower girl is also a failure of feminism, if recent criticism is to be believed. Don’t believe it. The plush and thrilling Lincoln Center Theater revival of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” that opened on Thursday at the Vivian Beaumont Theater reveals Eliza Doolittle as a hero instead of a puppet — and reveals the musical, despite its provenance and male authorship, as an ur-text of the #MeToo moment. Indeed, that moment has made “My Fair Lady,” which had its Broadway premiere in 1956, better than it ever was.

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OTHER REVIEW: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

April 19, 2018: LONDON — All biographical musicals build to a climactic mini-concert, but I’ve rarely heard an audience greet one with the mighty roar that looks likely to be a continuing feature of “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” which opened Tuesday at the Aldwych Theater here.

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: The Seafarer

April 18, 2018: The Devil wears Matthew Broderick in the Irish Repertory Theater’s production of “The Seafarer,” Conor McPherson’s wonderful 2006 play about a brimstone-scented Christmas Eve in Dublin. And no, Mr. Broderick has not, to my knowledge, created a clothing line.

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