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A Roundup of the Top Immersive Shows, and Where to See Them

Theater: Of comets, kings and looking glasses

“Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”

WHO: Commercial producers Howard and Janet Kagan, in partnership with Randy Weiner and Simon Hammerstein.

WHAT: A commercial transfer of the sold-out Off Broadway success developed and produced by Ars Nova last year. One part environmental staging in a Russian supper club, one part modern-day music and one part the story (taken from a small seg of “War and Peace”) of a young Moscow woman who’s seduced by a devious Casanova while waiting for her husband to return from the front lines.

WHERE: Kazino, a specially constructed and designed space on a lot in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

WHEN: May 1-Sept. 1, with a life beyond that a possibility.

Sleep No More

WHO: Production company Emursive.

WHAT: Punchdrunk’s genre-bending, noirish dance-theater retelling of “Macbeth,” staged over five floors in a meticulously set-dressed venue in which masked auds roam at will while the performers enact the tale all around them. In addition to the bar where theatergoers start the show, there’s also a rooftop watering hole and restaurant.

WHERE: The McKittrick Hotel, not actually a hotel but the show’s custom-renovated space in a former nightclub in west Chelsea, Manhattan.

WHEN: Opened in 2011. Ongoing.

Then She Fell

WHO: Third Rail Projects.

WHAT: A riff on “Alice in Wonderland,” in which 15 audience members per performance are shepherded through three floors of evocative through-the-lookingglass settings. Two shows a night, six days a week, with alcoholic elixirs served in vials marked “Drink Me.”

WHERE: The Kingsland Ward, an institutional building in Brooklyn hipster hotspot Williamsburg.

WHEN: Resumed perfs March 9 after a nine-week run in 2012. Ongoing.


WHO: Regional nonprofit American Repertory Theater, led by a.d. Diane Paulus.

WHAT: A club-theater venue that serves as the nonprofit’s second stage, devoted to immersive work. “The Donkey Show” plays there twice weekly, with the rest of the time filled by titles from outside artists and by ART-produced shows including rock musical “Prometheus Bound” and a production of “Cabaret” starring Amanda Palmer.

WHERE: Cambridge, Mass.

WHEN: Opened in 2009. Ongoing.

“Without Walls”

WHO: La Jolla Playhouse, in partnership with Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and U. of Calif., San Diego.

WHAT: A festival of about a dozen site-specific works, including a new piece about sea monsters staged on the beach by puppeteer Basil Twist; a reprise of “The Car Plays,” a series of 10-minute plays for two actors and two audience members in a stationary car; “We Built This City,” Polyglot’s live-action Sim City with kids, cardboard boxes and a climax of wanton destruction; and Rimini Protokoll’s “100% San Diego,” docu-theater performed by 100 actors who represent the exact demographic makeup of contempo San Diego.

WHERE: The Playhouse’s area of the UCSD campus will serve as a Festival Village, with food and beverage on offer alongside the shows.

WHEN: Oct. 3-6.

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