NY – If you’re looking for something unbelievably unique and incredibly unusual to do, search no more, we’ve truly got you covered — and it all takes place on W. 27th Street. While this is an evening you could surely enjoy with any adventurous person in your life, we’ve road tested it twice and are here to tell you it just might be best explored with a close friend instead of a significant other. Let’s put it this way, if you can’t go shopping with your other half, you probably won’t enjoy exploring immersive theater with them either. Warning: this project is not for the unadventurous or claustrophobic.
1. If you start your adventure early, drop into the Americano Hotel for a drink and a light bite. This sleek, modern 10-story boutique hotel (that was once remarkably a parking garage) has a beautiful cafe in the lobby (indoor and outdoor seating here) or you can make your way up to the rooftop where there’s a gorgeous pool and stunning view of the Hudson River. Try the Chile Rellenos and Jalapeño & Chihuahua Cheese Fritters if you’re merely looking for a snack.
2. Just two doors down is the (faux) McKittrick Hotel, which houses Sleep No More, a Macbeth and Hitchcock-inspired “immersive” theater experience, produced by the British company, Punchdrunk. Hotel “guests” travel back to the 1930s and wear white masks (yes, just like in Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”), while roaming around the 100,000 square-foot hotel (it’s really a warehouse) that’s been meticulously set designed and dramatically lit. Throughout, eery music swells, making you feel like you’re starring in your own thriller. Guests are not allowed to speak and have the choice of following the non-masked actors (who are often scantily clad) or exploring the environment, which means you’re free to open drawers, go through files and touch any objects that spark your curiosity.
Surely, if you have trouble following the story (actually, this is guaranteed), you could easily spend the entire three hours that you’re granted access, just taking in the setting. And here is where groups are often separated, as it’s best to see the McKittrick at your own pace. If at any time it’s all too much, retire to their vintage bar, where live music plays and absinthe punch is abundant. This is also a great meeting place if you get separated from your party. Drama Desk gave the production a special award for being a “Unique Theatrical Experience,” which feels like an understatement. Chances are, you’ve never experienced anything quite like this, so go with an open mind, let your instincts guide you and escape into the closest you may come to living a dream. Shows sell out weeks in advance, so be sure to plan your visit well ahead of time by checking and purchasing your tickets at their website (note: late night shows are offered on Fridays and Saturdays). For more info, check out our blog.
3. Chances are you’ll be a little hungry when it’s all over, so make your way across the street to Ovest Pizzoteca, for signature Italian dishes made with fresh ingredients and traditional recipes from Naples. Enjoy Neopolitan style pizza, an extensive Panini menu and a complimentary wine list. The wood-and-gas-burning oven adds to the charm, despite the place getting crowded with club-goers (Scores is also in this block!). Good news is, they stay open super late to accommodate the demand.
When it’s all said and done you can start to plot your next trip back to W. 27th Street. We’re convinced the shows sell out partly because there’s so much to absorb at the McKittrick, you can’t just go once.