How to Get the Most Out of Sleep No More

Me Wearing My Sleep No More Mask

Sleep No More is one of my favorite activities I’ve done in New York in my whole time living here. Yep, I said it.

Sleep No More is an interactive production set in the somewhat oddly named, McKittrick Hotel. This name is a bit misleading since the “hotel” is filled with an insane asylum, children’s bedrooms, candy stores, a hospital, a ballroom and a cemetery. Not quite where I would head to for a long weekend. Et toi?

The set is an adult playground reminiscent of a film noir, set in the early 20th century. The world is your oyster in what is essentially the most sophisticated haunted house for adults. As you enter the building your belongings should be checked (other than cash). You then enter a bar where the scene is set. You can must sip absinthe or champagne cocktails as you wait to enter the five-floor immersive theater where you can quite literally become part of the show.

I don’t want to spoil it by telling you too much but I will say that we enjoyed it so much that we are going back for round two on Halloween!

Here are a few tips to make sure you make the most of your Sleep No More experience. I wish someone had given me these before I went.

Brush Up On Your Shakespeare: Wikipedia this $#!t! It’s a bit easier to follow (though admittedly not much) if you have some semblance of how the story goes. It really just helps you gain an appreciation for bits and pieces.

Party: You simply must have an absinthe cocktail because, well, how many bars can you have an absinthe cocktail? It sets the mood for the evening to come. If you’re going to enjoy this show you have to get into character. Not only do I recommend having a cocktail before the show at the bar, I think you should have a few before you arrive. While I’m not saying you HAVE to be in an altered state of mind to enjoy, because you do not, I think it just enhances the experience (considerably).

Cash In: If you want to drink (see above) you need cash. Of course the friendly staff provide you with an ATM if you forget. Problem is its generous $4.50 surcharge. And there isn’t another ATM for blocks (or years, you are in the 1920s, dahhlings)

Step Back in Time: Be sure to take in the glorious jazz band. You will be impressed. Trust us. How this band isn’t selling out MSG is a mystery to me.

Dress Comfortably: You are running (sprinting) up and down stairs and chasing after characters (you’re not? You should be). Do not wear clothes that are uncomfortable or high heels if you’re a girl. You will regret it. Just make sure you have pockets so that you can stash your cash (since you’ll be wise to check your bags and cells–this is strangely liberating. Don’t bother trying to keep a cell, there’s no service anyway). PS-Check your coats or you’ll sweat to death. This fanciful adventure can also double as your daily cardio.

Explore: Peak behind dark curtains, get close to the cast…you may even find yourself locked in a closet with a cast member throwing holy water on you (true story, happened to our friend). Forget everything you learned in horror movies–turn every dark corner you can find.

Separation Anxiety: If you’re in a group and you’re afraid to separate from your main squeeze hold on tight. They try their best to split people up in the elevators. While I am certain experiencing the show alone would be a wonderful experience, I simply could not bear the thought. If you’re like me, be prepared and stick to your friends like glue. I know, I know. They highly encourage you to separate and explore solo. More power to ya. Scared friends out there: you can absolutely get away with this. You might get a few angry looks but as long as you stay out of people’s way a duo shouldn’t do much damage! I don’t think though that anything larger than a pair could make it through the show without separation.

Maximize Your Time: Buy the earliest slot for your show. The more time you get here, the better. You pay the same price for the 7:00 or 7:30 show. Why not be able to wander about for an extra half-hour? In order to see the most of this show (and it’s truly impossible to see it all) follow one character at a time. The show replays each hour, be sure to check out different scenes and rooms. Make sure to stop at the bar but don’t miss too much of the show. The 7pm show is kicked out promptly at 10pm.

The Mask: Be prepared, you’re going to have to wear a scary white mask over your face. If you have glasses or headgear it’s gonna have to go.

Let Yourself Go: This show is absolutely bizarre and that’s the whole point. If you walk around the entire time trying to act too cool for school like you’re the high school jock and these are the nerdy drama kids, you’re going to hate it.

To learn more, visit the website for Sleep No More visit their website.

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