Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to say that a purple-hued world has opened up on Michigan Avenue, thanks to the arrival of a new Prince-themed immersive exhibition inside the sprawling Shops at North Bridge complex.
Developed by the event production company Superfly, “Prince: The Immersive Experience” takes visitors through an approximately 60-minute tour of interactive rooms exploring the iconic musician’s life, music and legacy. You’ll first be greeted by a short video; then, it’s onto themed rooms made to look like everything from a lilac-scented imitation of the bathroom in the “When Doves Cry” music video to a realistic version of Prince’s Paisley Park studio, painstakingly recreated with details like a shelf stocked with the 5-Hour Energy shots Prince kept on hand for recording sessions. And because this is an immersive experience, many of the rooms are equipped with some kind of interactive element, whether you prefer to experiment with sound mixing “Let’s Go Crazy” in the studio, take a personality quiz to get a custom playlist of Prince’s deep cuts or pose for photos atop a replica of the famous “Purple Rain” motorcycle.
The music video nods are cool to see in person, but diehard fans will be pleased to note “Prince: The Immersive Experience” goes beyond uncanny recreations and photo ops. Superfly (which also created “The Friends Experience” and “The Office Experience”) collaborated with Prince’s estate to solicit memorabilia, archival footage and new works from some of the musician’s close friends and collaborators. In one memorable room, visitors can dance to music from a live DJ within a trippy, kaleidoscopic hall of mirrors and flashing lights custom created for the exhibit by esteemed production designer LeRoy Bennett. Meanwhile, comprehensive exhibits on the musician’s early years in Minneapolis shed light on how his hometown influenced his work and resistance to the pressures of superstardom, a theme later touched on in rooms that focus on Prince’s activism for artists’ rights.
Finally, If you’re itching for some Prince-themed swag, a gift shop near the exhibit’s entrance offers T-shirts, sweatpants, records and plenty of other purple merch, plus limited-edition picks like third-eye sunglasses from the glasses company Coco & Breezy.
Ready to step into the world of “Purple Rain” and Paisley Park? “Prince: The Immersive Experience,” located at The Shops at North Bridge (540 N Michigan Ave), is currently set to run through October 9. Tickets start at $39.50 for general admission and VIP options are available for $54.50–$65. You can take a look through some of the exhibition’s highlights below.