A marvelous, roaring great time was had by all who walked through the doors of the Gatsby Mansion in the Park Central Hotel New York (870 Seventh Avenue) as the space was transported back to the 1920s and we were all invited to a party thrown by rich tycoon Mr. Gatsby.
The audience truly got into the spirit of the evening and dressed from head to toe in 1920s attire. At the party, there was live music; we were taught how to do the Charleston; we were taken to secret rooms where the characters spoke directly to audience members about their characters’ stories and asked our opinions of their current situations.
The storyline for this completely immersive show was the brilliant brainchild of a village of people, including Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Amie Burns Walker, Hannah Davies, Phil Grainger, Michael Lambourne, Thomas Maller, and Oliver Tilney. It was beautifully adapted and directed by Alexander Wright.
It was so much fun as audience members were greeted by characters and suddenly directed to follow them. Suddenly we were running down dimly lit hallways and guided down staircases to find other audience members engaged in activities with other members of the cast. We played games like charades and hunted down clues. It was so much pure fun, you didn’t want it to stop.
This show has an abundance of drama: adultery, love, finding a long-lost love; men competing for a woman’s love; an abusive marriage; murder—all the elements that make for a very interesting evening, and it unfolds before your eyes.
The breaking of the fourth wall, with actors interacting with you while you respond back to them, was much more than I expected, but something that made this an unforgettable experience.
This show was the delightful work of a dynamic ensemble cast that included Joél Acosta, Rob Brinkmann, Jillian Anne Abaya, Shahzeb Hussain, Stephanie Rocío, Keivon Akbari, Claire Saunders, Mya Rosado-Tran, Nicholas Caycedo, Kiki Burns, Anika Braganza, Charlie Marcus, Jeremiah Ginn, and Stephanie Cha.
The spirit of the evening was frolic and drinking—they were serving liqueurs even before the production started and getting away with breaking the law because Prohibition was the law of the land.
The atmosphere was absolutely gorgeous, lush, and provocative. The show featured phenomenal period set design by Casey Jay Andrews, set decorations and props by Faye Armon-Troncoso, dynamite choreography by Beasley-Garrigan, lighting by Jeff Croiter; stage management by Kristin Dwyer; sound design by Peter Fitzgerald, composed by Tendai & Glen, and UK Sound design by Phil Grainger; art direction by Giles T. Horne; costume design by Shoko Kambara and Vanessa Leuck; and music direction by Claire McKenzie.
If this production happens again, which I hope it does, I want you to go!