immersive theater

Live-In Theater has come up with another interactive, participatory theater experience that is a dramatization based on real past events, in this case, the 1915 apprehension of 45-year-old Mary Mallon, called “Typhoid Mary” by the news media of the time. Reportedly, Mallon infected 51 people with Typhoid Fever, three of them died.

Alas, the one future performance of The Trial Of Typhoid Mary (Dec. 10th) on the online calendar of the Live-In Theater website is presently sold out, and no performances are (so far) scheduled for 2018.  However, your hope of seeing it may not be entirely lost. A stage manager told me that they do this production in “a lot of high schools” as well as “for private groups”. It has been around for a few years, and they performed it at The New York Historical Society in 2016.

Live-In Theater’s promotional materials for the show, “The Trial of Typhoid Mary” say, “Come give Typhoid Mary the trial she never received”. Ticketholders assemble (in this case, in the downstairs room of a Lower East Side bar), and a costumed re-enactor in solemn black who declared himself the judge set the scene, and chose various members of the audience to act the parts of jurors, bailiffs, and, at the performance I attended, a courtroom sketch artist. Another costumed re-enactor handed out golf pencils and notepads, and doubled as a “barker”. Though from the Colonial era to the mid-19th century, it was not unheard of for courts to be informally convened in taverns, (at least in Staten Island) by the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century (the time of Mary Mallon’s arrest for being a public health hazard), court proceedings had acquired a lot more formality and government control, not to mention proper courthouses. However, treatment of suspects under the premises of “innocent until proven guilty” had not advanced as much as it has now. I think the majority of the twenty- and thirty- something audience were properly horrified that Mallon had been arrested without a warrant, and some who questioned the actress who played Mallon on the stand clearly disapproved of the fact that she had not been read her rights (enforcement of this became a 1960s innovation), and had previously been summarily imprisoned on North Brother Island. Motivated perhaps by the role-playing of certain of the re-enactors, the suffragette who claimed to have been Mallon’s previous employer, who stressed that Mallon did not willfully infect others, and the one who played Mallon, who claimed to have nursed the family who got typhoid back to health, doing the more onerous duties, including washing soiled bedsheets, unlike in real life, they returned a verdict of innocent, though Mallon’s understanding of sanitary practices was to clean away all visible dirt, and she didn’t seem too concerned about whether she washed her hands “after she had been to the privy” if they were “not dirty”. All participants in this exercise had entered a time when “The Germ Theory of Disease” was as hotly debated and widely doubted as the phenomena of Global Warming is now, and with pretty much the same class divide between adherents.…

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A Bit of a Party, December 11
Celebrate Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in a whole new way. A Bit of a Party is an understatement; this event combines immersive theater, free-for-all desserts, and a wild afterparty with live holiday music. Theater troupe No. 11 presents a choose-your-own-adventure live staging of Dickens’s classic; indulge before and after in the goodies and the tunes. South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford Street, Fort Greene

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Little-known fact: There’s a time machine in Times Square. Walk to the back of the Liberty Diner and a 1920s-style burlesque variety show awaits you. Presented by immersive New York theater company Speakeasy Dollhouse, Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic is bringing the glittering glamour of Paris to this unlikely space through October 17.

234 W. 42nd St. (at Eighth Ave.); 646-221-5239 or speakeasydollhouse.com

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Speakeasy Dollhouse: “Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic” at Liberty Theater, May 8–June 6 (Up to 50% Off) with Groupon


The Deal

  • $43 for one Dewdropper ticket to Speakeasy Dollhouse: Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic (up to $85.80 value). Each Dewdropper ticket includes general admission, a role in the show, and a passport to explore the space.
  • When: select dates, May 8–June 6.
  • Where: Liberty Theater.
  • Door time: 7:45 p.m.
  • Full offer value includes ticketing fees.

Speakeasy Dollhouse: Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic

  • The backstory: In the 1920s, Florenz Ziegfeld created the titillating variety show The Midnight Frolic, which led to an affair with one of his showgirls, Olive Thomas. When he wouldn’t leave his wife for her, she reinvented herself as a silent film star and married fellow actor Jack Pickford. But on their Parisian honeymoon, Olive was poisoned. The circumstances surrounding her death—was it an accident, murder, or suicide?—remain a mystery.
  • The experience: half seedy mystery and half speakeasy variety show, this immersive spectacle invites audiences to freely wander the expansive Hotel Ritz Paris and Cabaret du Néant as they piece together what really happened to poor Olive.
  • What they’ll encounter: colorful yet mysterious characters engaged in burlesque performances, aerial acts, and possibly foul play, as well as spine-tingling tales about guillotines, communicable diseases, and month-old cocktail fruit.
  • How to get even more involved with the story: by taking on a role yourself and purchasing some hard stuff at the bar, such as a “Bloodbath,” made from Absinthe, Campari, St. Germaine, red wine, and orange juice.
  • Press quotes that accurately sum up the night: New York Times calls it “an evening of dark revelry” and TheatreMania declares that it’s “like being inside a Baz Luhrmann movie.”

Speakeasy Dollhouse

Like all good mysteries, Cynthia von Buhler’s career as an artist, performer, playwright, and author began with a murder—her grandfather’s. When speakeasy owner Frank Spano was shot by a neighborhood barber in 1935, the case was inexplicably dismissed, its true motivation a riddle that would haunt the family for decades. Taking a page from 1940s detectives, Cynthia recreated the crime scene in an elaborate dollhouse diorama using all the autopsy reports and municipal records available. That diorama garnered the attention of the New York Times and blossomed in 2010 into Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, an immersive theatrical staging wherein the actors and showgoers were the “dolls.” Among those dolls in the still-running show have been Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Edgar Oliver, and others.

Originally intended as a one-night affair, Speakeasy Dollhouse extended its run multiple times to keep up with its perpetually sold-out status. Cynthia Von Buhler has followed up this success with more eclectic events, including Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth, an equally immersive production that posits a surreal, Shakespearean conspiracy behind Lincoln’s assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth—fueled liberally with live jazz, burlesque, and moonshine.

Liberty Theater

234 West 42nd Street

New York, NY 10036

In a Nutshell

Guests freely explore a 1920s hotel and club as they watch sultry burlesque and aerial performances, and piece together a showbiz mystery

The Fine Print

Expiration varies.

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From Moscow With Love participant drama at Moscow 57. Information from The Aces & Ops website:

Saturday December 13th, 2014 (Click HERE for our Press Release)

  • Moscow 57 (moscow57.com) 168 1/2 Delancey Street NYC (map)
  • 7:00 Doors (arriving early highly encouraged)
  • Tickets $25 (no tickets sold at the door — almost sold out!)
  • Customized, immersive espionage role-play social game experience for everyone
  • Featuring music by Yuri Lemeshev & Ellen Kaye, Dmitry & Maria (of the DODO Orchestra), Ethan Fein and the M 57 Band plus Moscow 57’s & Aces & Operatives’ own Cici James (as Ima Nokov) and other special guests!
  • Cinematography & Photography by Alvin Caal (dress to impress!)
  • Exotic Russian small plates will be passed to arriving guests plus a delicious authentic Russian cuisine quick order menu for all players to order throughout the evening
  • 1960’s ‘Mod Era’ costume or formal dress code (examples: rouge agent, femme fatale, dapper executive, heiress, henchmen, Eastern European oligarch, polished politician, intelligence director, beat reporter, world renowned performer etc.

Please note: with your ticket purchase you agree to sign a waiver/release upon arrival for use of photos and video taken and recorded at the event. This allows us to build on our experience for the future and also gives our unique cosplay attendees an amazing chance to be glamorized!

Danger Lair is our one-of-a-kind immersive and transformative theatrical role-play event. You will find yourself invited to an exclusive event during the height of the Cold War. The social connections you make and the decisions you choose will dictate the fate of the world in spectacular fashion during an evening of role-play, music, and entertainment!

Limited spots. Ticket purchasers will be emailed their unique character and personal story before the event. “

Get Tickets at:


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From Inside Hook e-newsletter:

American History for the day: “Storyville” refers to the early 20th-century red light district of New Orleans. Sixteen blocks along which the oldest profession in the world was sanctioned by John Q. Law. It had guidebooks and everything.And now, it’s back. Right here in New York.They’re calling it Lulu’s Dove House, a monthly bit of immersive dinner theatrics at LES cocktail den Sons of Essex.Starts next Wednesday. Will be a very, very hot date.First, you’re encouraged to dress the part. Think jazzy. Great chance to buy a hat.Your night begins at an unassuming LES bodega, where a costumed character will give you your “identity” for the evening. These are being kept hush-hush, but we’re hoping for “Reggie Ledoux.”You’ll then present a membership card bearing your moniker to SOE’s deli front for admission to see Madame Lulu’s delights in back.

They’re calling it a “speakeasy bordello,” populated with burlesque danseuses, jazzy chanteuses and green chartreuses.

Plus gypsy psychics, moustachioed piano men and a Dionysian repast of New Orleans grub and cocktails.

Remember your new identity — there’s a strong chance you may need it.

Ain’t it great when history comes to life?

Lulu’s Dove House
at Sons of Essex
133 Essex St.
b/t Stanton and Rivington 

To buy tickets for the next performance, on Wed. Oct. 22, 2014, use the link to eventbrite below:


[box] http://www.eventbrite.com/e/lulus-dove-house-event-at-sons-of-essex-tickets-13633463055[/box]

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