I went to Here Lies Love again last night with Kristen after a long day of scavenger hunting at the Museum of Natural History, hanging at Boat Basin, and dinner and drinking with my colleagues.
I was very tired and sore and still quite smashed by the end of the night. Here Lies Love is still such a cool immersive experience. Jaygee Macapugay was on as Imelda, and she was great. She doesn’t look as much like Imelda as Ruthie Ann Miles does, but she had a really great voice.
No matter what you may think of Fatboy Slim, or David Byrne, or Imelda Marcos, I say get thee to the Public Theater to experience this ASAP.
New York’s immersive theater scene has outdone themselves yet again. I was offered a ticket to The Queen of the Nightlast week and immediately jumped. Think Nutcracker Rouge meets The Great Comet of 1812 minus the literary source and Christmas. That’s what The Queen of the Night is. Or in other words: it’s a super erotica circus with a few dance breaks.
The entire night lasts about 3 hours. There’s about an hour of pre-show where you’re encouraged to go just walk around the space and explore, and if you’re lucky a cast member will pull you away and show you something neat that you hadn’t yet discovered. Some people were whisked away to meet the Queen who was standing on the stage for most of the pre-show.
Once the show begins, all of the chairs that are messily piled onstage are ripped down and put around the tables that are scattered around the stage. I had been told to sit at a certain table by a cast member, so like an obedient audience member, I listened.
After the story is introduced and there’s some impressive stuff onstage, they bring out huge platters of food that includes lobster, a rack of ribs, a full roast pig, potatoes gratin, kale salad, bone marrow, and of course, wine. Oh, and two vegetarian options which were roasted cauliflower and some mushroom dish that I didn’t try. We were served the rack of ribs at first but then encouraged to go to other tables to try what they had. Such a cool idea! Definitely a way to make the audience socialize.
After eating and another section of the show is performed, the cast rolls out huge white containers and tells us to throw out plates and everything on the table in them. That’s one way for a quick clean up!
Just so you know: You will get felt up, kissed, fed, and used (in the show). I was singled out to be the girl who refuses the crazy character’s proposal for a happy ending with him (as in marriage, not an orgasm). I won’t lie – I loved the moment that we had in the spotlight. And then we danced again at the end of the show. I’m glad i listened to that one cast member on where to sit!
After the two main couples of the night get together and all is well, everyone dances (including the audience) and then cast members are lined up in various spots around the nightclub with lots of spoons and the most decadent chocolate cake you’ve ever tasted. As evident in the above photo, they feed it to you.
This is definitely more fun than Sleep No More, though the story is less clear than The Great Comet of 1812, and it’s definitely more immersive (and invasive!) than Here Lies Love (and twice as long). This probably ties with Here Lies Love – I love the historical aspects and music of Here Lies Love but who doesn’t love a free meal with their erotic circus acts?
This is a definite New York experience to be had if you can deal with being touched by more strangers in one night than ever before. Tickets are not cheap but they’re definitely worth the price.
A few weeks back I saw Here Lies Love at The Public Theatre downtown. I’d missed it’s first production but I was thrilled it was back again and I was going to be able to see it. I had listened to the cast recording one day at work a few weeks early but I still had no idea what it was about. I didn’t know who Imelda Marcos was, or even that she was a real person (Thanks, Global History, for nothing!).
I loved Sleep No More, and countless other immersive shows, but this was by far the most fun I’ve ever had a one. I got onstage and danced. I moved around with the ever-rotating set. I loved it. About 2/3 of the way through, I thought, “Um, okay, I think this is a true story,” and yes, it is. I’m an idiot sometimes.
The music is amazing. Fatboy Slim and David Byrne have outdone themselves. It is a fantastic, memorable score. Ruthie Ann Miles, Jose Llana, and Conrad Ricamora were equally brilliant in their lead roles (Imelda, Marcos, and Aquino). I especially enjoyed the DJ, who was played that night by Vincent Rodriguez III. He definitely raised the energy in the room before the performance so that we were all amped up by the time it began.
If there is one show – experience – you venture downtown for this season, it’s Here Lies Love. It’s a history lesson and theatrical experience rolled into one.
(Disclosure: The company I work for works on Here Lies Love, but opinions are all my own.)