A combative election for New York City mayor in 1929, with allegations of voter fraud, money and earnings laundering, scandalous affairs and mob ties, provides the inspiration for the all-new fully participatory theatrical experience. immersive Tammany Room, co-created and directed by Darren Lee Cole and Alexander Wright, starring Megan Drury, at Off-Broadway’s SoHo Playhouse. Staged in the same historic building that housed the old Huron Club – one of the infamous private spaces and underground bars in Manhattan’s first neighborhood where the Democratic Party’s eponymous political machine met – the production specific to the The site offers not only a compelling glimpse into a period of the past, but also an implicit socio-political warning for our present time of division and turmoil.

Martin Dockery and Christopher Romero Walker. Photo by Maria Baranova.

Upon entry, theatergoers are invited upstairs in the organization’s club room. There, they meet and mingle with real-life characters, buy drinks at an illegal Prohibition-era bar, and sit around a token boxing ring, where a controversial verbal fight match between the candidates – incumbent mayor Jimmy Walker and Republican challenger Fiorello LaGuardia, who has the backing of Democratic President FDR – takes place (while being forced to vote for Walker by his pals at Tammany Hall).

After the heated debate, selected members of the audience are invited to follow different characters at different locations through a variety of locations in the building. Scenarios range from engaging in ongoing discussions about the mayor’s opponents, submitting a vote for your chosen candidate, attending a showgirl performance in the theater, observing secret subpoenas and listening to private conversations in the theater. hallways, the lodge and the penthouse, hear the overwhelming election results and witness the sweatshop raid in the basement. Each experience is different, depending on the silhouette you choose to follow at each stop along the way.

Marie Anello, Chloé Kekovic and Charly Wenzel. Photo by Maria Baranova.

A very engaging company of twelve – with Marie Anello, Chloe Kekovic, Natasa Babic, Nathaniel J. Ryan, Jesse Castellanos, Isaac J Conner, Shahzeb Hussain, Sami Petrucci, Charly Wenzel and Andrew Broaddus, and led by the exceptional and perfectly adapted Martin Dockery and Christopher Romero Wilson as political opponents Walker and LaGuardia – skillfully inhabit the characters and capture the spirit of their time, while masterfully interacting and improvising with the audience and making us feel like part of it all that.

The believable performances are supported by a transporting design, with period costumes by Grace Jeon, original vintage-style choreography by Lola Selsky and music by Gavin Whitworth, and lighting evocative of Emily Clarkson and the sound of Megan. Culley. Special kudos are due to decorator Dan Daly for bringing the interior of SoHo Playhouse back to the Huron Club look of the 1920s, with meticulously researched colors and details.

I could go back Tammany Room over and over again, to follow a different route, to be up to date with more of the story’s and character’s subplots, and to be immersed in its current socio-political issues. There is nothing quite like live theater, and it is as alive as it gets.

Duration: About 90 minutes, without intermission.

Tammany Room plays until Sunday, January 9, 2022 at the SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, NYC. For tickets (priced at $ 89), go to the box office (Tuesday to Sunday, after 4 p.m.) or go in line. Members of the public must be fully immunized with an FDA or WHO approved vaccine and present proof of vaccination and a valid ticket upon entry. The use of a mask is required inside the building in accordance with current CDC guidelines.

For a preview, you can watch the trailer below, then be sure to experience it for yourself in person at the theater: