What is Sleep No More?
Sleep No More is an immersive piece of theatre held at the McKittrick Hotel in the Chelsea district of New York City. The show itself takes on the story of arguably Shakespeare’s most famous villain, Macbeth, but uses a film noir setting to tell the story of the murderous character. It is unlike your regular Broadway experience in that audience members walk from room to room and can follow actors as they choose. Multiple storylines play out in parallel, which means every time you go, the experience is different and unique.
Why See Sleep No More?
New York City is famous for its glitzy Broadway shows, toe-tapping musicals and star studded plays that are performed in and around the theatres in Times Square. Sleep No More is as far from the Broadway experience as possible, so really appeals to people looking for a more artsy, grungy, unique experience. The thing I love about Sleep No More is that no single audience member has exactly the same experience – individual asides, whispers in ears and private moments are all part of the charm of the show. When I saw it, I honestly felt that this production was revolutionary. I hadn’t experienced anything like it, and to be honest, nothing has really come close since.
How to Get to The McKittrick Hotel
If you’re staying in Midtown (i.e. Times Square) or the West Village then it is about 30 mins walk to 530 W 27th St in Chelsea, which is where the McKittrick Hotel is. If you’re in the East Village, SoHo or Uptown, then its probably too far to walk.
There’s a subway station on just about every corner in New York City and from Midtown, the 1, the 7 or the E train will get you to within ten minutes walk of the McKittrick Hotel. Allow around 30 mins travel time. With a metro card, a subway ride will cost you $2.75 USD.
Finally, for the people who want to go to Sleep No More in comfort, there’s rideshares everywhere in New York City. Uber and Lyft are the big two and a trip will take around 20 mins from Midtown (depending on traffic of course). An Uber Pool or Lyft Shared will set you back around $10 and a private car will be more like $15. (Side Note: both Uber and Lyft are super handy apps to have downloaded when travelling in the USA, so I would recommend you grab both and just go with whichever app is offering cheaper prices).
Getting Tickets for Sleep No More
As Sleep No More sells out more often than not and you are required to book a particular timeslot, definitely make sure that you book in your visit to the McKittrick Hotel as soon as you have your dates locked in. There are a few different entry times; I think booking the earliest timeslot available is the way to go. You can then arrive, make it through coat check and head up to the Manderley Bar for a pre-show drink. You must be over 18 to attend the show, otherwise if you are 13+ you can be let in with a parent/guardian. To be honest, the show isn’t kid friendly and I feel like a 13 year old would be traumatised by what they see, so maybe keep this one to the adults only club. Tickets to Sleep No More are around $120 USD.
Tips for the Best Sleep No More Experience
Finding the Venue
The McKittrick isn’t all that well signposted and is in a pretty dark street, so follow your Google Maps and look for the line of people outside waiting for their entry timeslot. Make sure you have your proof of age with you, because they do check.
What to Wear
I’d seriously recommend dressing light, because you’ll be running around after actors, but also avoid bringing a bag as you won’t be able to take it in. Pockets are an essential, otherwise the cloak room costs $4 USD. Probably the most important advice I can give you is to wear sensible shoes because you will literally be running after actors to follow the story. You’ll also be given a mask to wear throughout the night, so avoid wearing glasses if possible.
Sleep No More is designed to be a solo experience. If you visit in a group, be prepared to split up and then regroup at the Gallow Green rooftop bar after the show is over to debrief on what each of you saw. If you’re too concerned about staying together, you’ll miss the magic.
Find the Actors
As soon as you’re in the performance, find actors as fast as you can. If you’re standing in a room and nothing is happening, then keep moving to find the action. Be observant, though, and look for one on one chances – there are several points during the performance where an actor takes a single audience member away for a private moment. If in doubt, locate the witches. So much of the interesting stuff happens around them, so if you can find a witch and follow them, you’ll be in the thick of the action.
Because Sleep No More is such a unique experience, I won’t say any more for fear of ruining the experience. In fact, the little you know before you go, the better. Just be bold, ready for anything and enjoy the most unique theatre experience you’ll likely have ever had.