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Entertainment

“Sleep No More” will end in January

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After more than a decade of performances, “Sleep No More” – the immersive, Hitchcockian riff on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” – will close the elevator doors for good during its final performance on January 28.

Rising production costs led to the decision to close, said Jonathan Hochwald, a producer, who also cited the refusal to increase ticket prices as a result. “It’s a huge company with hundreds of employees,” he said.

Created by the English theater company Punchdrunk, “Sleep No More” had a short run in London in 2003 and a longer run in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 2009, in partnership with the American Repertory Theater. The success of this release encouraged new commercial production company Emursive to bring it to New York. Emursive found an ideal space: attached warehouses in Chelsea that previously housed nightclubs such as Twilo, Home and Bed. Its 100,000 square feet were reimagined as the McKittrick Hotel. “Sleep No More” began performances there in March 2011, stopping due to the pandemic, then reopened two years later, with its sold-out performances driven by word of mouth.

Reviewing the show in 2011 for the New York Times, Ben Brantley described it as a “mobile orgy” and “a voyeur’s delight, with all the frightening and shameful pleasures that entails.”

“None of us would have ever imagined that we would be here talking about the series in 2023 – it was only on sale for six weeks at first,” said Punchdrunk creative director and co-creator Felix Barrett. from “Sleep No More.” Wednesday. “Above all, it was the New York audience who embraced our show and made it such a success.”

While not New York’s longest-running immersive theater event (that honor most likely belongs to “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding”), “Sleep No More” has helped change and expanding the landscape of immersive theater in New York, encouraging new possibilities. for design, environment and participation.

Moody, dark and decadent, the wordless series has attracted a legion of super fans, some of whom have seen it dozens of times. All these masked fans did not behave appropriately. In 2018, Buzzfeed published an expose in which artists and staff detailed several instances of sexual misconduct. The post-pandemic iteration addressed this issue, advising attendees to “please give your fellow patrons and residents some breathing room and keep a respectful distance.”

By the time it closes in January, the show will have played 5,000 performances in its New York incarnation, serving two million audiences, estimated Hochwald and his producing partner, Arthur Karpati. For now, producers plan to continue the McKittrick’s other late-night shows and its bars will remain open, but they don’t know if they will host another major show.

“More than anything, we want to finish strong and leave a great legacy,” Hochwald said.

Gn entert

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