Why watch a performance when you can experience it? Immersive entertainment is the hot new buzzword, and everyone from the NFL to National Geographic are putting big money behind it. What does it mean? It can be high-tech holograms and 8K photo animation or low-tech whiskey drinking with characters from a bard’s imagination.
PUT ME IN, COACH!
20 Times Square
The brand new NFL Experience in Times Square might be the closest any of us ever get to performing our touchdown dance in front of thousands of adoring fans. This immersive experience was created by Cirque du Soleil in partnership with the league. Some highlights of the experience, which is $39 per ticket, include:
MEASURE UP TO THE PROS with a series of interactive challenges, including a vertical leap test and blocking obstacles in a replica of an authentic NFL team workout facility.
GET ONE-ON-ONE INSTRUCTION from a hologram of an NFL legendary coach and learn an actual play in a space that replicates a coach’s classroom.
TEST YOUR SKILLS by throwing a real football to your favorite receiver, and feel the thrill of a Super Bowl victory by completing the game-winning pass.
SHARE THE STAGE with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and experience the iconic trophy up-close just like a Super Bowl champ.
MAKE A SPLASH
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENCOUNTER: OCEAN ODYSSEY
226 West 44th Street
No wet suit, oxygen tank or shark cage needed for this dive into the deep. Using state-of-the-art immersive technology, guests can get up-close and personal with all manner of aquatic life. It took a team of scientists, along with Emmy-, Academy- and Grammy-Award winning artists, three years to develop this one-of-a-kind encounter. Adult tickets start at $39.50 with a portion of the proceeds going toward ocean conservation. Here’s what you can expect:
DESCEND INTO 60,000 SQUARE FEET OF “WATER” and see all the creatures you would encounter if you were lucky enough to spend time on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
VIRTUALLY INTERACT WITH SEA LIONS, play with rays and dolphins, come face-to-face with humpback whales, Humboldt squids and great white sharks. A combination of video mapping, 8K photo real animation, mega projections screens and immersive sound will have you reaching for a towel once you emerge.
THE SECOND PORTION OF THE ATTRACTION IS MORE EDUCATIONAL. Guests learn about what they just experienced through touch screens, holograms and more. The entire experience takes just ninety minutes.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
Sleep No More
530 West 27th Street
If Shakespeare, Martha Graham and Alfred Hitchcock were to stage a show together, it would be Sleep No More. This experience has been called the “gold standard of immersive theater.” The show first launched in 2011 and is still consistently sold out. The McKittrick “Hotel” was created to house this production and has now added a few other immersive and short-run shows. In addition to the productions, there are the Heath Restaurant (given high marks by GREENWICH editor’s notoriously picky brother) and the rooftop bar Gallow Green (a great spot for pre- or post-show drinks).
YOU’LL “CHECK IN” to Sleep No More and be given a “hotel key” (a playing card) and asked to don a Venetian mask; this separates guests from performers.
EXPLORE SIX FLOORS AND 100 ROOMS full of dark corners and little details: Open books and scattered letters provide clues; you can follow dancers down darkened hallways or peek in on a fully-stocked candy store.
YOU WILL NEVER SEE the whole thing in one visit, but overall it loosely tells the story of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s tale of a Scottish thane who commits regicide (the deliberate killing of a monarch—you’re welcome) at the urging of his famously ambitious wife and three fortune-telling witches.
THE ACTORS RARELY SPEAK, and when they do, it is usually to whisper a cryptic line in the ear of a single audience member. Standard tickets are $145 per person. VIP tickets include front-of-the-line access, a bottle of champagne and a reserved table in the Manderley Bar, $325 per person.