Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right The best immersive theater in NYC

The best immersive theater in NYC

Throw yourself into the best immersive plays and interactive theatrical experiences on Broadway and beyond.

Sleep No More
Photograph: Courtesy Yaniv Schulman Sleep No More
Advertising

When it comes to theater, who says you have to just sit and watch? Immersive theater, which puts you right in the middle of the action—and often draws you in to participate—is increasingly popular in New York City. Whereas most Broadway shows still follow the traditional proscenium-arch model, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions like the long-running Sleep No More and Then She Fell break down the barriers between actors and spectators, letting you follow your own paths in unconventional spaces. To help you navigate the maze of options, here is our list of the city's best immersive and interactive shows.

RECOMMENDED: Best Broadway shows

Immersive Theater in NYC

1
Sleep No More
Photograph: Courtesy Alick Crossley
Theater, Interactive

Sleep No More

icon-location-pin McKittrick Hotel, Chelsea
icon-calendar
Open run

A New York institution since 2011, Punchdrunk’s dark, sleek, gorgeous installation is awe-inspiring in both its size and detail. Silent audience members in creepy white masks are set free in a six-floor labyrinth of wonders, while roving attractive actor-dancers plays out enigmatic scenes inspired by Macbeth and Hitchcock. There are more than 90 different spaces to explore, ranging from a candy shop to a cemetery. There’s no way to absorb it all in a single visit, but that’s all right. You’ll want to go back anyhow.

2
Oklahoma! (St. Ann's Warehouse 2018)
Photograph: Courtesy Teddy Wolff
Theater, Musicals

Oklahoma!

icon-location-pin Circle in the Square , Midtown West
icon-calendar

After a hit run at St. Ann's Warehouse last year, this bold, dark, modern-dress revival moves to Broadway. Director Daniel Fish’s vision treats Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 musical with deep respect, shining a hard light on its underlying issues of justice, violence and the autonomy of women. It ventures into rough territory and leaves the show in a brand-new state.

Advertising
3
Say Something Bunny!
Photograph: Courtesy Henry Chan Jr.
Theater

Say Something Bunny!

icon-location-pin UNDO Project Space, Chelsea
icon-calendar

Alison S.M. Kobayashi leads us on a journey to another time in her interactive multimedia docuplay, based on real 65-year-old audio recordings of a teenage boy in Queens and his family and neighbors. The experience of the show is light, sweet, funny and dear. But Kobayashi’s deep humanism has a way of moving you, even days later.

4
Then She Fell
Photograph: Courtesy Chad Heird
Theater, Interactive

Then She Fell

icon-location-pin Kingsland Ward, Williamsburg
icon-calendar
Open run

Third Rail Projects' interactive psych-ward riff on Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, performed for just 15 people at a time on three floors of a church building in Williamsburg, uses a style similar to that of Sleep No More. But here, when you peer into the looking glass, it stares right back at you; the experiences offered by director-designer Zach Morris and his company are stunningly personal.

Advertising
5
Oscar at the Crown
Photograph: Courtesy Ted Alcorn
Theater, Musicals

Oscar at the Crown

icon-location-pin 3 Dollar Bill, Bushwick
icon-calendar
Open run

Mark Mauriello and Andrew Barret Cox's queer nightclub musical immerses audiences in a secret future bunker at which culture has been whittled down to "sequins, reality television and the complete works of Oscar Wilde." Shira Milkowsky directs for the Neon Coven. [Not yet reviewed.]

6
Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec
Photograph: Courtesy Mia Aguirre
Theater, Experimental

Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec

icon-location-pin Madame X, Greenwich Village
icon-calendar

Prepare for the arrival of the Broadway megamusical Moulin Rouge with this smaller-scale look at the decadent art scene of the Belle Époque. This immersive play, written and directed by Mara Lieberman for Bated Breath Theatre Company, focuses on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the short-lived artist whose depictions of the Parisian demimonde have helped shape our collective vision of the period. [Not yet reviewed.]

Advertising
7
Accomplice: New York
Photograph courtesy Accomplice: New York
Things to do, Quirky events

Accomplice

icon-calendar
Open run

Tom and Betsy Salamon’s unique adventure—part interactive theater, part scavenger hunt, part walking tour—draws participants into an amusing web of puzzles and intrigue. You can choose between the three-hour New York tour, which takes participants through various neighborhoods of lower Manhattan, or the two-hour Village tour, which travels through quirky Greenwich Village on Saturdays. Groups of as many as 11 are booked every half hour. 

8
The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking
Photograph: Courtesy Michael Blase
Theater, Interactive

A Spirited History of Drinking: The Musical Comedy

icon-location-pin New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen
icon-calendar
Open run

Imagine Bill Nye the Science Guy as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. Mixing whimsy and information, Anthony Caporale's show makes the story of our relationship with booze remarkably compelling—and its lessons can be washed down with thematically appropriate beverages.

Advertising
9
Drunk Shakespeare
Photograph: Courtesy Eric Sause
Theater, Shakespeare

Drunk Shakespeare

icon-location-pin The Lounge, Midtown West
icon-calendar
Open run

An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's Drunk History) and then tries to corral others into enacting a story by the Bard. Bibulous excess is encouraged. [Not yet reviewed.]

More to explore

Advertising