Sleep No More
What started in 2011 as a limited run performance has blossomed into one of New York City’s biggest theatrical attractions. Nearly five years later, the show is still filling up their West 27th Street warehouse with hundreds of guests on a daily basis. It’s called Sleep No More, a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth that takes place in a fictional 1930’s-era hotel called, “The McKittrick.” What makes Sleep No More so unique is that it is a fully immersive and interactive show. Picture a ‘Broadway play meets haunted house,’ and you’ve got a basic idea of what to expect.
Guests should be prepared to spend three hours running up, down, and all around the hotel’s five floors – sometimes chasing the cast, sometimes exploring the set design – but always trying to piece together the story as it plays out. As you enter, you are given an ominous mask to wear, identical to the masks of every other guest. This makes it easy to identify the mask-less cast, covers audience emotions (so as not to distract from the acting), and provides anonymity in the chance you get pulled into one of the show’s more suggestive scenarios.
The show is definitely not for the faint of heart. Not only is it spooky but you may stumble across parts that involve violence and/or explicit nudity. At the beginning, they intentionally try to split you up from those you came with. If you separate, don’t expect to find each other until after the show has ended thanks to the masks and the low lights. This can seem scary at first, but it’s so worth it at the end when you get to compare the very different shows you each saw. I had to explain to my wife why I had lipstick on my mask.
An interview with the creator claims that it takes nearly three dozen visits in order to see the entire show. This makes for a unique experience each time. You may stumble in to find someone being murdered, or an actor might pull you aside for a shot of whiskey. Perhaps you’ll discover the candy shop or maybe you’ll witness…well, we should stop telling you about it. It’s an experience that is best when you know as little as possible. I can’t say you will “Sleep No More” but the night we attended, Amanda and I both experienced pretty vivid dreams of chasing people around the hotel. The tickets are pricey, but if you appreciate theater, dance, and the noir genre, then we can’t recommend Sleep No More highly enough. Who wants to go with us next time?!
Sleep No More Tips:
Tickets are expensive. Try attending on a weekday for a discount.
The three hours fly by. To get the most time you can in the show, get the earliest time slot available.
There is no photography and no talking allowed once you've put on your mask and enter the show.
Put your name on the waitlist for The Gallow Green rooftop bar while you wait for the show.
Wear comfortable shoes!