LONDON — Tickets to “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” for the second half of 2017 began vanishing quickly after going on sale Thursday, powered by stellar reviews and the unabated appetite for anything pertaining to author J.K. Rowling’s famous creation.

The new batch of 250,000 tickets went on sale online and by phone at 11 a.m. London time – meaning that Americans hoping to score tickets to the West End play had to get up before 6 a.m. on the East Coast and in the wee hours on the West. Within minutes, more than 100,000 customers were in the electronic queue; many waited for hours for their chance to see what’s being billed as “the eighth” Harry Potter story, following the seven-volume series of books.

After a few hours, all the tickets being sold by ATG, one of two authorized sales agencies, had been snapped up. Hopeful buyers from the other agency, Nimax, joined electronic queues in the mid-afternoon, London time, with more than 200,000 customers ahead of them.

Critics were near-unanimous in their praise of the two-part play at the Palace Theatre in the West End, lauding its compelling storyline and thrilling stagecraft. (Read the Variety review.) Audiences have so far mostly obeyed the production’s “Keep the Secrets” campaign to avoid giving away details of the plot, which revolves around the exploits of Harry’s son Albus and the son of Harry’s former arch-rival, Draco Malfoy, at the magical school Hogwarts.

Rowling insists that the play represents the final chapter in the Potter saga. “This is the next generation, you know, so I’m thrilled to see it realized so beautifully. But…Harry is done now,” Rowling said at the official premiere July 31.

The latest crop of tickets, whose sale was announced only last week, covers performances from May to December of next year. Prices range from $20 to $93 for each of the two parts.

A Broadway production seems inevitable. But because of Harry Potter’s global fan base, “we really hope to take this play to as many places as it’s feasible to take it,” Rowling said.

Although “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” closes the book on the Boy Who Lived, Rowling’s unique world of witches and wizards continues to extend its reach. In November, the spinoff movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” debuts, the first in a trilogy. Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that the second film would be released in November 2018 and that Rowling, who wrote the script for the first movie, would do the same for the second.

“Fantastic Beasts” tells the story of Newt Scamander, a character mentioned only in passing in the Potter books. The lead role is played by Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, and the action takes place decades before Harry Potter is born.