Immersive Theater in NYC
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]
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.]
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.]
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.]