For one unforgettable evening, you are invited to dine, drink, and dance with the Queen of the Night. In Randy Weiner’s newest theatrical production, guests are fully immersed into a perfectly curated experience.
Upon entering the Diamond Horseshoe in the basement of the Paramount Hotel, the cast of thirty-three performers lead you in the subterranean supper club, where each person experiences vary depending on where you are taken: “Queen of the Night is a dark debutante ball thrown by The Marchesa for her daughter Pamina. Queen of the Night is a fusion of dance, music, fashion, circus, culinary delights, theater and nightlife that welcomes the audience into a wholly interactive entertainment experience.”
As one of the first guests to enter the ballroom, I was taken by the hand and lead away from my friend. Upon entering, the Queen awaiting on stage is what you see first. I was told to climb the steps in front of the Queen and to gaze into her eyes. After the longest fifteen seconds of my life staring blankly into the Queen’s eyes adorned by a mask of bewitching jewels, I was led down the steps and towards the bar where an array of cocktails were poured and awaiting my arrive. Other guests had been let in after me and were already enjoying their drinks in hand.
Before I was able to pick up a glass, another performer gave me a checklist of tasks that I needed to complete before the start of the show. I found my friend, who had been taken into a different room and given a fortune, along with something written on her hand. As we looked around, we saw lots of awestruck guests milling about and being taken around by the performers. So as not to spoil any more of the mystery, my advice would be to get the earliest ticket possible to experience as much of the cocktail hour as possible and enjoy this pre-show.
The evening is comprised of several smaller acts stringed together into one seamless performance. There is so much going on at all times, from circus-like acts and dancers on center stage to acrobats hanging from poles and ribbons from the ceiling, all the while other performers circle the tables near the guests.
From the moment you walk in, it feels like you are walking onto the stage and interrupting the performers, because they are all around you and all the other guests, chatting you up and leading you around. Everything is an experience, from finding your seat at the dinner table to dinner being served. The supper club has large banquet tables that you share with other guests, and each table is served only a few of the dishes out of the many available.
The idea is to make even the dining portion of the night interactive, so tables needed to barter and trade for different dishes. Some tables were blessed with a whole sucking pig, whereas some were cursed with giant bowls of salad. My friend and I were on the outskirts and were each given a full steamed lobster. We were told that this was one of the best items for trading, and sure enough we were in business trading our lobster for a pig leg.
Wine continued to flow throughout the dinner, and even the clean-up process did not hinder the performance, with guests enthusiastically tossing their dirty dishes as instructed by the performers. Even cleaning up can be theater.
Billy Rose opened The Diamond Horseshoe in 1938, which then also featuring top entertainers and acts. The New York Times called it the “gayest frolic on Broadway”, where it thrived until closing in 1951. Over 50 years later and still undergoing renovations, the 6,000 square foot ballroom now serves as the playground for the Queen of the Night.
Originally on a limited six-week run, the show became immensely popular and announced an extension that officially began February 2nd and currently has shows through March – though, mark my works, dates will be extended much further out. Get your tickets now for the experience of a lifetime.
For more photos by Joan Marcus, Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com, and by Socially Superlative, please check out the gallery below.
Cast and Crew of the Queen of the Night
Katherine Crockett (Martha Graham dancer) stars as The Marchesa and Steve Cuiffo (The Elephant Room) stars as Sarastro. The circus, created by Shana Carroll, co-founding artistic director of Les 7 Doigts de la main, features Mason Ames, Valerie Benoit-Charbonneau, Kevin Beverley, Isis Clegg-Vinell, Emilie Desvergne, Kyle Driggs, James Gonzalez Palacios, Dimitri Hatton, Anna Kichtchenko, Olga Kosova, Erika Nguyen, Maude Parent, Nathan Price, Julien Silliau, Olaf Triebel, and Xia Zhengqi. The Marchesa’s cadre of Butlers features Ehizoje Azeke, Nabiyah Bashir, Olivia Bowman-Jackson, Clinton Edward, Victoria Finehout-Vigil, Katherine Hozier-Adams, Toussaint Jeanlouis, Geoff Kanick, Kimo Kepano, Jason Macdonald, Mayte Natalio, Emily Palmquist, Wil Petre, Katherine Roarty, and Vaishnavi Sharma. In addition to Weiner, the creative team of the immersive environmental experience, Queen of the Night, includes Simon Hammerstein and Murtaza Akbar.
In the spirit of original Diamond Horseshoe owner and nightlife impresario, Billy Rose, Paramount Hotel owner and art collector Aby Rosen, in partnership with Variety Worldwide (Murtaza Akbar, Simon Hammerstein, Javier Vivas, & Randy Weiner) and LDV Hospitality (Curt Huegel & John Meadow) present Queen of the Night. Tony ® Award winner Christine Jones directs, with circus creation by Shana Carroll, co-founding artistic director of Les 7 Doigts de la main, and food performance created by Jennifer Rubell. The experience features associate direction by Jenny Koons, creative direction by Giovanna Battaglia, set and scent design by Douglas Little, fashion design by Thom Browne, lighting design by Austin R. Smith, sound design by Darron L. West & Charles Coes, and magic design by Steve Cuiffo. Choreography by Lorin Latarro, with associate choreographer, Matthew Steffens. Casting by Henry Russell Bergstein. Interior design by Meg Sharpe, and Jason Kallert is executive chef. Nathan Koch and Jennie Willink produce.