Get ready for a musical theatre experience unlike any other — no exaggeration necessary — “Sleep No More.” When this Off Broadway show made its debut in 2011, it was sold out for the next three years. A collaborative effort between Emursive and Punchdrunk, two powerhouse theatre production companies, “Sleep No More” is one of the highest costing Off Broadway shows in history.
The production takes place at The McKittrick Hotel. The story behind the venue is that back in 1939, The McKittrick Hotel was intended to be “New York City’s finest and most decadent luxury hotel of its time,” according to their website. After the outbreak of WWII, the iconic hotel was supposedly condemned and left padlocked for years to come, six weeks before its grand opening. Until now…dom dom dom (ominous music plays in the background). Unfortunately, this captivating story is a fictitious part of the show’s branding and theme. But, it had you there for a second, though. Right? The truth is, The McKittrick Hotel is a combination of three separate warehouses in Chelsea, modeled after the one from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.”
Every detail, from the time you enter to the moment you leave, is carefully thought out. Upon arriving, you’ll be guided into a dark maze-like hallway. All audience members are required to where white Venetian masks. Once you put yours on, you’re corralled into a freight elevator and ready to experience the show.
Based on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with hints of Alfred Hitchcock horror, you have five floors and about 100,000 square feet to explore. Every room is theatrically designed and depicting a different scene. The production is far from modest. Brace yourself for nudity, strobe lights, and fog. Oh, and they separate you from the rest of your party. So, if you scare easily, this isn’t the show for you. And, if you miss something don’t worry; the three hours you’re there, the show repeats itself three times.
To sum it up, we can’t really tell you what to expect when watching this unorthodox Off Broadway show. What we can provide you with is advice. If an actor passes you by, follow them. If you see a shut door, open it. The show was designed for you to interact and discover. Just make sure to get your tickets far in advance — “Sleep No More” sells out pretty quickly.