If you're planning a trip to NYC, you may have already heard about the city's hot ticket of the moment: Queen of the Night. A follow up to Sleep No More by the same immersive theater experts—along with progressive food artist Jennifer Rubell and acclaimed Canadian aerialist troupe 7 Doigts de la Main—the production takes a completely unconventional approach to dinner theater. Set in the old Diamond Horseshoe space at the Paramount Hotel, and loosely based on Mozart's Magic Flute, the sexy, avant-garde show blends interactive elements, contemporary circus acts, and a soundtrack that’s equal parts classical and indie rock tunes (not to mention a communal feast that may require some bartering). Already intrigued? It's only the tip of the iceberg. Here, five secret details that could take your experience to a whole other level:
1. Like Sleep No More, there are secret chambers and rooms. There’s no guarantee you’ll get pulled into one of them, so wear your curiosity on your sleeve to maximize your odds. If you’re lucky, you might get pulled into the Queen’s private boudoir, an opulent white den covered in pearlescent shells, or the Magician’s office, brimming with curios.
2. Look for the butterfly wall in the foyer before entering the Diamond Horseshoe ballroom—it’s meant to evoke the themes of metamorphosis you’ll see throughout the show. The spectacular creation, spearheaded by designer Douglass Little, arranges 40,000 iridescent blue beetle wings and 16,000 multi-colored butterflies—sustainably sourced from Thailand—into an obsessively intricate mandala pattern. It took a team of seven artists (and 700 man hours) to pull off the single installation.
3. Check out the bathroom. The wallpaper morphs from one pattern to another right before your eyes. Sound like magic? It’s more like clever use of technology: a soft-changing light scheme changes the way your brain perceives the silken patterns every 15 seconds, and the effect is nothing short of mesmerizing.
4. Use your nose. Each space is designed to have an entirely unique scent, but with 200-plus bodies passing through, you may need to flex your olfactory muscles. As you enter the foyer, you’ll get hints of amber; in the stairwell, it’s all burned sage. Getting notes of frankincense? It’s practically everywhere, creating an almost spiritual undertone.
5. If you don’t feel like bartering for your food, buy an Ultimate ticket. It offers access to a premium culinary experience, where chef Jason Kallert (formerly of Le Cirque) serves an entirely different menu that changes daily according to his whim. Possible inclusions: oysters, caviar, and even pata negra. (In other words, stuff you wouldn’t share, even if you could.)
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.