Tag Archives: Immersive theater

An Immersive and Intoxicating Evening at Queen of the Night

by Louise, Director of Operations

I remember when going to the theater meant getting dressed up and feeling fancy all evening. Lately it seems like everyone just shows up to the theater in whatever they were wearing that day. If, like me, you long for the days when it was more of an “event” to go to the theater, than I have the show for you, and it is Queen of the Night, the new immersive theater experience from the creators of Sleep No More.

The queen-of-the-nightNYG staff went to Queen of the Night as a group, and it was a fantastic staff outing but would also be wonderful for a group of friends or a date night (the show is not for children though, so leave the kids at home). The fun started well before we even left our office as we changed out of our dreary business clothes and into evening finery. There’s nothing like an excuse to get dressed up on a Wednesday night!

qotn1Once we got to the Paramount Hotel, host of Queen of the Night, we enjoyed delicious cocktails and appetizers in the lobby bar before heading down to the venue space, named the Diamond Horseshoe. The actors and hosts for the evening will draw you into the fun whether or not you’ve already had a cocktail, but if you’ve chosen to abstain thus far, never fear – you are offered a welcome cocktail or glass of champagne upon your arrival. I chose the delectable signature cocktail named The Queen’s Bush – vodka, lemon juice, anqotn5d toasted rosemary. It was the perfect aperitif to sip while entering the crowded ballroom where the main event takes place. We joined the throng of people watching the fascinating dancing, including a mysterious figure on the central platform who we took to be the Queen herself, until all of a sudden the performers began tossing each other the chairs that were stacked in an unruly-looking pile at the front of the room. In almost no time, the ballroom transformed into a banquet hall before our eyes, and we all took off to choose our seats.

qotn8Throughout the evening we witnessed incredible acrobatics, juggling, dancing, magic, and romance – often times action occurs just a foot or two in front of you. I’m told you may be selected by a cast member to enter a secret room, though alas I was not chosen – all the more incentive to return for a second round. The story of the evening is loosely based on Mozart’s Magic Flute, but I urge you not to worry too much about following a plot and rather just relax and let the evening wash over you.

qotn6It’s not just about watching the performance, of course. Throughout the evening we were served generous decanters of wine, bowls of salad, and baguettes and each table in the hall was brought either a rack of short ribs, a basket of lobsters, or an entire suckling pig. Attendees are urged to barter with other tables to get a little of everything. There is also a full bar available should you require more cocktails.

Uponqotn3 the conclusion of the evening, the entire audience was invited to get up and join in a final dance, which nearly everyone in the room did. Those who remained seated were drawn up by members of the cast until the whole room was filled with twirling revelry. In our increasingly isolated world, it was a beautiful sight to behold.

qotn3If you are interested in Queen of the Night packages including a stay at the Paramount Hotel, please feel free to e-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com. We can’t wait to send you on your own adventure!


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“The Great Comet…” is splendid

by Louise, Director of Operations

greatcomet1“Immersive” is becoming a more and more widely-used term in the theater community, although the definition may not be fully recognized by say, spell check. But anyone who attends the theater often knows that immersive shows are on the rise. Sleep No More – the four story, nothing-off-limits, Macbeth-inspired experience that has made its home in Chelsea for nearly two years is perhaps the most ubiquitous (read our review here), and this week I attended another that I hope will be part of the NYC theater landscape for a long time: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.

At first glance, Kazino – the temporary structure built especially to accommodate the show – looks somewhat like a circus tent. As my friend and I stood outside in the surprise 30 degree weather, waiting for the doors to open, she even remarked “I hope it’s heated in there.” Any fears quickly dissipated when we were ushered into the space, a cozy supper club atmosphere with cabaret tables set up around the perimeter and long platforms on either side. We were served borscht and ordered drinks. The venue offers a full bar and an assortment of shareable dishes, but there is absolutely no requirement to order anything, and there are several complimentary snacks served throughout the show. (Pro tip: if you check in on Foursquare you also get a free shot of vodka.)

greatcomet2The show begins with a fantastic fourth-wall-busting opening number, where the cast introduces themselves, gives a quick overview of each main character, and reminds you that the show is based on War & Peace, which is “a complicated Russian novel,” and “everyone has nine names.” The actors pick up programs and show you that it includes a synopsis and a “family tree” showing how the characters relate to each other, and encourages you to use these resources so you don’t get lost, concluding with “We appreciate it, thanks a lot!”

Throughout the show the actors are all over the space, on both side platforms and between the two rows of cabaret tables. You do need to keep turning your head to see all the action, but you definitely also feel a part of it all, and will occasionally interact with one of the cast members, which is of course what makes it an immersive experience. I even got to bring home a flirty note that was passed to me by a handsome gentleman during the second act.

greatcomet4As for the plot, it may seem intimidating and cumbersome to go to a show based on War & Peace (although it makes no claims about telling the entire 1440 page tale and bills itself as being based upon the “scandalous slice” of the story), but at its core it is really just a story about a young girl behaving foolishly with her heart, and who among us can’t relate to that?

greatcomet3The show has an extremely talented cast, even with many of them being relatively new on the scene. The lead actress Phillipa Soo blew all of our minds with her expressive acting and gorgeous voice, and male lead David Abeles was compelling and enchanting as well. Every supporting player was fun to watch right down to the ensemble, and they all did such a wonderful job interacting with the audience without making it awkward for anyone, which is no small feat. Besides the opening number, several other songs really stuck out for me, but my favorite was Sonya Alone, a lament in the second act sung by Natasha’s cousin as she wonders how to keep her dear friend from making a terrible mistake. The closing number is similarly gorgeous, and leaves you wishing you could have a few moments of quiet reflection before having to spill out on to the busy Times Square streets.

If you’re old hat at theater, or just want to see something interesting and out of the ordinary, this is the show to consider this holiday season. Currently the show is scheduled to run through January 5th but I sure hope it will be around for longer! Feel free to e-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com with questions or for help with tickets.

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