Monday, January 28, 2019

Weekly Margin 2019, W4: The Other Josh Cohen, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two

1/23/19: The Other Josh Cohen
What: Narrator Josh tells the story of Josh Cohen one year ago, when his apartment got robbed, everything hit the lowest point it could hit, and then a surprise boon arrived in the mail. Starring and co-written by two Peter and the Starcatcher alum, David Rossmer and Steve Rosen.
And? Adorable, silly, and with a good heart. The perfect example of an enjoyable Off-Broadway musical, with pleasant, catchy songs, a versatile ensemble, and two engaging authors/stars.

Steve Rosen and David Rossmer as Josh Cohen. Photo by Caitlin McNaney.

1/27/19: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
What: A two-part theatrical sequel to a little-known British book series.
And? Whatever you've heard about the show is probably true. There are definitely writing problems abounding--character inconsistency or total lack of any character work at all (with the exception of Harry Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, performed excellently by Jamie Parker and Anthony Boyle, respectively), a story that might not know who or what it's about if you asked it, and a contrivance here or there to get us where we need to be--which explains why people who have read the script but not seen the production object so strongly to it. But guys, seeing it? It's fucking magical. At the end of each part of the show, as you leave the theater, they hand out buttons printed with "#KeepTheSecrets" and I do want to respect that, especially as the secrets most worth keeping (and most worth experiencing without spoilers) are more in the staging and production than necessarily in the plot (which has been spoiled left, right, and twice on Sundays). So I'm not going to delve into specifics of what they do or how they do it, but damn, guys. Our seats were up in the balcony (third tier of the theater), which frankly are excellent seats for how this show is done. You get the full scope and scale of the thing, the rake and angles are well-built so there's no partial view action. Sure, you can't see the sweat beading on their foreheads, but you can see everything else. They've renovated the entire theater, so I fully recommend taking a stroll through the various levels of the lobby before settling into your comfortable seat. And then watch the magic. Because it's fucking magical. It's so thrilling to see artists and craftspeople working at the top of their game, and that's what we're getting from this Tony-winning creative team (seriously, one of the best lighting designs I've seen on Broadway).

The cast. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

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