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19 Best Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC

Curious about immersive theatre? New York City knows how it’s done. After the smash-hit interactive show Sleep No More debuted, many other Off- and Off-Off Broadway productions have adopted similar “choose your own adventure” storytelling. 

At these 19 experimental shows, you’ll wander settings like speakeasies and a gazillion poppable bubbles. Adventurous audience members—whether kids or adults—can even interact with the cast or help solve a mystery. Read on to learn about immersive theatre happening now in New York, where audience participation reaches the next level.

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Blue Man Group

blue man group

Expect the unexpected with the family-friendly Blue Man Group. These iconic blue guys have traveled around the world, but did you know they have a home in NYC’s East Village? Bring your kids for music, comedy, audience interaction, and plenty of immersive elements for the whole audience. Discover the wonder and silliness in store at the Astor Place Theatre. Ages 3+. Open run. 434 Lafayette St., 800-258-3626, blueman.com

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Sleep No More

sleep no more mckittrick

Photo by Robin Roemer.

It’s the show that started it all: Sleep No More. Staged throughout a vintage Chelsea hotel, Sleep No More reimagines Shakespeare’s Macbeth as a noir tale. The first big hit in interactive theatre, Sleep No More has been running in NYC since 2011. Audience members move at their own pace and view chosen scenes for as long as desired. Roam from room to room, and see actors perform surreal and suspenseful scenes (you may even catch a glimpse of celebs like Evan Rachel Wood performing and other famous faces in the audience!). Shake off your spooks with drinks at the on-site Manderley Bar after you’re finished your experience. Sleep No More was created by Punchdrunk and EMURSIVE at The McKittrick Hotel, among the best NYC venues for immersive experiences. Ages 13+. Final show is May 27th! 30 W. 27th St., 212-352-3101, mckittrickhotel.com/sleep-no-more

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Speakeasy Magick at The McKittrick Hotel

speakeasy magic

Located in the same Chelsea hotel as Sleep No More, this magic show invites guests to an intimate evening of close-up illusions. “Master deceptionist” Todd Robbins hosts, though various magicians appear and disappear from these performances. Drink in the magick (and maybe a cocktail or two) at The McKittrick Hotel Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Open run. 530 W. 27th St., 212-352-3101, speakeasymagick.com

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Hypnotique

Hypnotique (McKittrick Hotel, The Club Car, 520 W. 27th St.) In this surreal after-dark experience, spontaneous performances and mesmerizing dancers are accompanied by daring sonic soundscapes. During the performance, an ensemble cast showcases breathtaking live acts amongst the audience, enticing them on a hypnotic journey that delves into the deepest fantasies of the mysterious feminine allure. Thru 5/25. (mckittrickhotel.com)

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: WITCHLAND

WITCHLAND (Chain Theatre, 312 W. 36th St., 3rd Fl.) This new play by Tim Mulligan combines fact, fiction, and immersive haunted elements. Through sound, lighting, and “special effects” the play promises to thrill audiences while it tells the story of a non-traditional family (gay male couple and black teenage daughter) who wind up in what was said to be the most toxic town in the Western hemisphere. They just happen to move across the street from a witch capable of putting her curse on those who cross her path. 4/5 thru 4/14. (chaintheatre.org)

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Accomplice The Show

accomplice street theatre nyc

Accomplice takes immersive theatre outside to the streets of New York. These comedic experiences occur on a walking tour, creating what Accomplice calls “adventure theater.” Accomplice The Village returns to Greenwich Village on Saturday afternoons (spoiler: you’ll help solve a missing persons case!). Upon request, Accomplice also stages a private event called The Golden Spork that incorporates dinner and a few escape room elements. Open run. accomplicetheshow.com

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: BATSU! New York

Combining game show, dinner theatre, and comedy, BATSU! New York will infuse your evening with fun and frenzy. The journey begins in the East Village with a speakeasy vibe as you travel through a mural. Then, tuck into a Japanese dinner provided by the restaurant Kogame by Kamehachi. After dinner, watch improvisers compete against each other in a live game show—or join them yourself! If you prefer to spectate, the Sake Ninja can pour you a drink. Must be 16+ to attend and 21+ to drink and participate. Proof of vaccination required. Wednesday through Saturday; open run. 133 E. 4th St., batsulive.com/new-york

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Murdered by the Mob

A little merriment, marinara, and murder is on the menu at this dinner theatre show. Murdered by the Mob has been running for three decades (!) in NYC. Solve the murder of Big Pauly Costello, eat a pasta dinner, and dance the night away at this funny mystery show with your family and friends. Ages 8+. Open run. 932 Second Ave., 212-662-7469, murderedbythemob.com

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Truffles Mystery Immersive

The twist at Truffles Mystery is that you become a character in an immersive dinner party. Character are based on the Off-Broadway sleeper hit Truffles Mystery, which ran from 2014-2020. Tickets include a decadent 4-course dinner, a cocktail hour with a champagne toast, and your choice of character. In previews for an April 27th return. Midtown Manhattan, trufflesmystery.com

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show

During The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show you can dine down while tackling a challenging crime. (Just beware, the criminal is lurking somewhere in the room, and you may find yourself a Prime Subject.) Admission includes dinner, murder mystery entertainment, tip, a prize package for Top Sleuth, and more! Bar is available. The Hideout, 22 Warren St., thedinnerdetective.com

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Madame Tussauds New York Presents Broadway

Madame Tussauds Broadway Sings Cats

The show must go on at Broadway, courtesy of Madame Tussauds Times Square. Inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and other Andrew Lloyd Webber hits, this experience takes guests from backstage to the spotlight. Get glamorous with hair and makeup, compose a custom musical score on the giant floor piano, and hit the stage for a showstopping number. You just might get a glimpse of yourself in Joseph’s technicolor dreamcoat! 234 W. 42nd St., 212-512-9600, madametussauds.com

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Drunk Shakespeare

Drunk Shakespeare

Fans of Drunk History—and the Bard of course—will have a jolly time at Drunk Shakespeare, staged Off-Broadway in the Theatre District. One actor starts the show off with five shots of whiskey as audience members drink cocktails and look on from their seats, cocktails in hand. The show proceeds with one inebriated actor and their scene partners, all of whom perform a Shakespearean play that careens from profundity to absurdity and back (i.e. not all content will be strictly “Shakespearean”). Two VIP audience members sit in thrones and command actors to drink as they see fit. The privileged King or Queen also eats caviar, drinks champagne, and wears a crown. Ages 21+.  Open run. 777 Eighth Ave., drunkshakespeare.com

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: BLACK BACKSTAGE

BLACK BACKSTAGE (The Kitchen at Westbeth, 163B Bank St., 4th Fl. Loft) An immersive exhibition comprised of a short film, prints of new writing, a sculptural sound installation, and live programs that evoke the aesthetic of a makeshift storefront church, revival meetings, faith healings, public squares and fields as stages, and other underground and improvised modes of instilling Black sacred and everyday rituals within the spectacle of performance. 3/21 thru 5/25. (thekitchen.org)

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Gazillion Bubble Show

gazillion bubble show nyc

Family-friendly and immersive, Gazillion Bubble Show has run Off-Broadway for 15 years. Kids and adults will be thrilled as the Yang family transforms bubbles beyond imagination. This popular show even gave Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa super-sized bubble wands when Gazillion Bubble Show visited LIVE with Kelly and Ryan! A spectacle for kids and adults, it’s conveniently located in the Theater District, a short walk from Times Square. Open run. 340 W. 50th St., 212-239-6200, gazillionbubbleshow.com

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: The Jellicle Ball

The Jellicle Ball (PAC NYC, Perelman Performing Arts Center, 251 Fulton St.) This reimagining of the musical CATS, inspired by the Ballroom culture that roared out of New York City over 50 years ago and still rages on runways around the world, has been staged as an immersive competition with all new Ballroom and club beats, runway ready choreography, and an edgy “eleganza” makeover.  6/13 thru 7/14. (pacnyc.org)

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Exagoge

Exagoge (La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 East 4th St.) Based on the oldest known Jewish play from the second century BCE, this immersive opera/play/Passover seder, invites theatregoers to join in a traditional 15-part modern seder. An opera composer, Zeke, has brought home his girlfriend Aliya, a non-practicing Muslim, for the first time. Meanwhile, in the middle of it all, opera performers sing an adaptation of the ancient Greek interpretation of “The Book of Exodus”. 4/26 thru 5/12. (lamama.org)

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: Third Law

Third Law (Culture Lab LIC, 5-24 46th Ave., Queens) Through a digital game board, this interactive theatrical event has audiences collaborating with the artists and each other to co-create a performance that can only happen live and in person. Combining high-concept art installation design with performance and gameplay, Third Law brings us together in space in a visceral and dynamic way—and it’s never the same twice. 5/9 thru 5/26. (evenbrite.com)

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS The Twenty-Sided Tavern

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS The Twenty-Sided Tavern (Stage 42, 422 W. 42nd St.) An interactive show in which the audience is the "fourth player," influencing key decisions via browser-based software” you vote on where the story will go. With a cast of five and over 30 playable characters, theatregoers experience an expansive fantasy and face riddles, puzzles, combat, and more, to help shape the story. With humorous and exciting reveals are around every corner, no two shows are alike! From 4/19. (thetwentysidedtavern.com)

Immersive Theatre Experiences in NYC: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS The Twenty-Sided Tavern

Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical (Jerry Orbach Theatre, The Theatre Center, 210 W. 50th St.) Five wine-loving women get to drink wine and talk about their lives. It’s like Sex and the City meets the vineyard—including a friendly wine steward to guide the audience through the wine paired with each upcoming scene. Get ready for an intoxicating blend of friendship, wit, and wine that will leave your spirits lifted and your palate inspired. 5/8 thru July, 2024. (winesdaymusical.com)

Additional reporting by Griffin Miller.

We've also got full coverage of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and even more shows in our Theatre section.

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About the Author

Ethan Wolff is the author of numerous guidebooks to New York, having covered the city for more than two decades. He has written for New York Magazine, BlackBook, and Details, among others. In addition to his work as the editor of City Guide, Ethan covers NYC’s talk and lecture scene for the website Thought Gallery. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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