Without a doubt, like many, I am a Disney kid and a Potterhead. So, naturally, part of my trip planning would include finding places and activities that have to do with Disney movies and Harry Potter. And New York City is the perfect place to do that as there are many events, cafes, museums, and Broadway shows that are inspired by and that are of Disney and the Harry Potter franchise.
rare books, manuscripts, and magical objects from around the world, which are from the British Library's collection
original handwritten drafts, diagrams and character drawings by JK Rowling herself when she was writing the HP books
It was not only wonderful to get a glimpse of her creative process, but at the same time, have a better understanding of the centuries of folklore, myth and legend that provided the inspiration for her stories.
One of the things that I like about the experience is finding out that Mary GrandPré (original books), Jim Kay, Kizu Kubuishi, and Brian Selznick, the artists of the Harry Potter books, are all Hufflepuffs. Hardworking, loyal, and patient, and JK Rowling’s favorite Hogwarts House. I would have to say the same valuable characteristics for those who curated the exhibit as it was apparent in the level of detail and care the way these rare items were displayed. Photographs weren't allowed inside though.
Part I and Part II - Lyric Theatre on West 43rd Street
I had some doubts about the Harry Potter & The Cursed Childplay, I must say. I bought the book or the play script as soon as it came out. But the more that I read about reviews from fans and news articles about it, the more I became curious. What better way to showcase the magic of the Harry Potter world than in Broadway, when the audience can see live and up close.
The show is an epic two-part event, which you can choose to watch all in one day (2:00 PM and 8:00 PM); but Cher and I preferred to watch it on two (2) consecutive evenings. And, boy oh boy, what a treat!
The costumes, music by Imogen Heap, performances, and even the transitions between scenes were spell binding! I truly loved Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione; her voice and commanding presence was, well, magical! But my favorite character was Moaning Myrtle. Although she only had only two (2) scenes as far as I remember, she was quite remarkable and incredibly funny.
The Broadway show has already won six (6) Tony Awards including Best Play. In 2019, Cursed Child is not only in New York and London, but Melbourne, too. A must see, Potterheads!
In Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe can be fun but not particularly funny. In this new play, which also stars Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale, Dan plays the role of a nitpicking magazine fact checker, who is witty and hilarious. I'm glad I got to see him in person. The final performance is on the 13th of January 2019. Catch it if you can.
I thought I had to see Frozen the Musical. It was also part of my bucket list to complete Disney on Broadway shows (i.e. Lion King, Aladdin and Frozen), which I have happily ticked off. All three are so good, I cannot simply pick a favorite.
Caissie Levy and Patti Murin (Anna) were perfect for their roles, were pitch perfect, and they bumped up the vocal range from the movie. My favorite cast was Zoe Glick as young Anna; she set the stage for everything. What a lovely singing, dancing little thing she was. I also loved the new music made for theater. The effects were mind-boggling magical; I had goosebumps! Take your kids to see it!
Before heading back to Dubai, Aladdin on Broadway was my last Broadway show. I must say, the music, dances, costumes, and Arabic food references made me feel that although I was extremely happy to be in New York, I was also ready to go home. The costumes and the flying carpet were my favorite. Imagine seeing 80 costume changes in just a 3-minute song performance. Mind blown!
Aside from the movie music, Alan Menken's song that got cut from the original 1992 animated film, "Proud of Your Boy" sung by Al, is my new favorite.
I am even more excited that the live-action Aladdin movie comes out this year. Nevertheless, this is one Broadway show that should never be missed especially that it's at the New Amsterdam Theatre, which I think is the most beautiful Broadway theater that I've been to so far.
And, bravo, Disney, for having more Asian performers!