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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
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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
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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
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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.

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

Say Something Bunny!

icon-location-pin UNDO Project Space, Chelsea
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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
Company XIV: Queen of Hearts
Photograph: Courtesy Mark Shelby Perry
Theater, Musicals

Queen of Hearts

icon-location-pin Théâtre XIV, Bushwick
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Lewis Carroll's trippy Alice in Wonderland books have inspired many a theatrical spectacle, but Company XIV's seductive Queen of Hearts is a singular sexcess: a transporting fusion of haute burlesque, circus, dance and song. Impresario and choreographer Austin McCormick has assembled a fine array of alluring and highly skilled artists.

Time Out says
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5
Then She Fell
Photograph: Courtesy Chad Heird
Theater, Interactive

Then She Fell

icon-location-pin Kingsland Ward, Williamsburg
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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.

6
Midsummer: A Banquet
Photograph: Courtesy Chad Batka
Theater, Shakespeare

Midsummer: A Banquet

icon-location-pin Café Fae, Greenwich Village
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Food of Love Productions and Third Rail Projects transform a Union Square storefront into Café Fae, a patinated Art Nouveau hideaway of reveries both fanciful and savory. In a triumph of versatility, the eight performers in this inventive and delightfully madcap adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream not only play its royals, lovers, faeries and rude mechanicals, but also serve a light and delicious five-course tasting menu throughout.

Time Out says
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7
Oscar at the Crown
Photograph: Courtesy Ted Alcorn
Theater, Musicals

Oscar at the Crown

icon-location-pin 3 Dollar Bill, East Williamsburg
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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.]

8
Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe? The Cooping Theory 1969
Photograph: Courtesy Michael Gallo
Theater, Interactive

Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe? The Cooping Theory 1969

icon-location-pin RPM Underground, Midtown West
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Poseidon Theatre Company, led by director Aaron Salazar, invites audiences to an immersive mystery that investigates the enigmatic 1849 death of horror master Edgar Allan Poe. The show—written by Nate Raven and featuring original music by Manuel Pelayo and Giancarlo Bonfati—is set in 1969 and spans multiple rooms in the retro karaoke warren RPM Underground. [Not yet reviewed.]

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9
Our Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Adam Smith Jr.
Theater, Interactive

Our Bar

icon-location-pin Fáilte Irish Whiskey Bar, Kips Bay
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In this immersive, site-specific monthly show, the audience is thrust into 10 all new mini-plays unfolding all around them at an Irish bar. A new slate of mostly comic scenes is prepared for each edition. [Not yet reviewed.]

10
Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec
Photograph: Courtesy Mia Aguirre
Theater, Experimental

Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec

icon-location-pin Madame X, Greenwich Village
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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.]

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