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New York’s ‘Queen of the Night’ Is The Dinner Party Orgy You’ve Been Waiting For

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New York’s ‘Queen of the Night’ Is The Dinner Party Orgy You’ve Been Waiting For

All your basest desires fulfilled in one night of immersive theatre.

By Naveen Kumar

As I descended a dim staircase to the Diamond Horseshoe in the basement of the Paramount Hotel, a young woman took me by the hand and told me I looked like I was ready to play. She led me by the hand through a dark corridor, past a taxidermy tiger draped in a gold headdress, and a round metal cage suspended from the ceiling. She swept aside a curtain and led me into private area where we stopped in front of a mirror. 

She rolled up my sleeve, ran her nose from my wrist to the inside of my elbow, and told me I smelled like someone who wasn’t afraid to be touched (true). She turned up my collar and ran her nose up my neck and told me I smelled like someone who’s confident in his body (mostly true). She asked me what I came in search of that night, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was closer to being erotically sniffed by one of her buff male coconspirators. 

Once she’d finished giving me the twice over, she handed me a tasty cocktail and ushered me out into a spectacular circular ballroom, where I immediately set out to find my date and dish about my new girlfriend. Other performers were mixing with the dressed-up crowd, passing notes, stealing kisses, and generally setting the scene for a night that proved to be truly Bacchanal, if not downright orgiastic. 

Of course New York would expect nothing less from a collaboration between folks behind raunchy burlesque cabaret The Box and nudity-laden theater experience Sleep No More. The latest (and most sexed-up) iteration of the city’s de rigueur immersive theatre craze – where the audience interacts with the production they’re seeing – Queen of the Night might bear a certain resemblance to your wildest dreams, especially if your dreams also include a carnivorously indulgent meal from the people behind trendy foodie steakhouse American Cut.

Though Queen of the Night purports to be a debutante ball (very) loosely based on Mozart’s The Magic Flute, you’d be well advised to forget about trying to follow the story and give into its provocations of all things carnal: lust, hunger, and if it suits you, your thirst for booze. 

After my private olfactory assessment, I joined the pre-show cocktail hour that felt like the precursor to some surreal and exclusive fashion show — the titular queen poised on a central runway in what could be the finale wedding dress. Soon we were ushered to communal tables and encouraged by the hot performers to make nice with our neighbors. (NB: you’ll be hard pressed to disobey anything the hot performers say.) 

Like a proper orgy, what unfolded next was different for everyone. A delectable communal meal was served, the hot performers did things that would make the food fall from your mouth were you not surrounded by strangers and using your best table manners. The performances, all sexually charged, seem to be inspired by Broadway’s current insatiability for circus performers, but you haven’t seen any doing things as interesting while wearing costumes by designer (and Michelle Obama favorite) Thom Browne. My new banquet buddy disappeared for an unknown amount of time and returned with a tale I will surely repeat to my friends as though it actually happened to me. 

My night concluded just as I should have suspected, with my new girlfriend who sniffed me all over perched onstage spoon-feeding me insanely delicious chocolate cake. This time my date, and everyone else around, was allowed to share.

Header image via Matteo Prandoni/BFAny.com, Body image via Joan Marcus.