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Some of this season’s Broadway shows take half the day to see

Going to the theater has in some cases become a marathon event.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" has a total run time of five hours and fifteen minutes. Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

The number of shows that comprised the recent Broadway season was low compared with recent years. Still, Broadway buffs found themselves venturing to the theater for a cumulatively long time, with many shows boasting unusually lengthy run times — two of which are comprised of two parts that can be viewed marathon-style over a single day (i.e. a “two-play day”) or over successive dates.

“Angels in America” consists of two back-to-back plays: “Millennium Approaches” (three and a half hours) and “Perestroika” (four hours). A two-play day at “Angels in America” begins at 1 p.m. and ends at 11 p.m., which includes a two-hour dinner break. Options include two-play days on Wednesday and Saturday, successive performances on Thursday and Friday or successive Sunday matinees.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two” functions in a similar manner. The play has a total run time of five hours and 15 minutes. A two-play day at “Harry Potter” begins at 2 p.m. and ends around 10:15 p.m. — including a two-and-a-half hour dinner break. Options include two-play days on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday or successive performances on Thursday and Friday.

The new Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic barroom drama “The Iceman Cometh” runs just under four hours. Had sizable cuts not been made to the text for this production, it would go on another hour (as it did when BAM presented the play three years ago).

According to NYU arts professor Laurence Maslon, O’Neill likely wrote the longest play in Broadway history that was not divided into different parts requiring multiple tickets — the 1928 psychological drama “Strange Interlude,” which had nine acts and ran more than five hours.

In terms of plays with multiple parts, “The Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,” a stage adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel starring the late Roger Rees in 1981, ran about a half-hour longer than “Angels in America.”

It is worth noting that “Angels in America” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” received some of the biggest raves of the season. “The Iceman Cometh” also received largely positive reviews. With that in mind, these shows may be time-consuming but it is likely time well-spent.

Other new Broadway productions with running times bordering on three hours include “My Fair Lady,” “Travesties,” “Saint Joan” and “Carousel.”

If you are the sort of person who prefers shows on the shorter side, three acclaimed productions worth considering include the new musical “The Band’s Visit” and the revivals of “Once On This Island” and “Three Tall Women,” all of which run less than two hours without an intermission.

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