By Kenneth Jones
31 May 2012
The Spiegelworld tent sits on a vacant lot at 265 W. 45th Street. Shows continue to Sept. 2. Ross Mollison, Spiegelworld producer, said in a statement, "We've scoured the planet to find the most awe-inspiring acts ever performed, and assembled them together on one stage, creating the greatest show New York has ever known. New Yorkers are the most demanding audiences in the world, and so we have had no choice but to deliver a show that represents the very height of the art."
At the launch of the show's previews members of Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) gathered on West 45th Street to picket the non-union show. By opening night, union spokesman Bruce Cohen said, "Contracts have been signed for the four unions that were on the picket line: Local One IATSE, Local 741 IATSE (box office), Theatrical Teamsters and American Guild of Variety Artists. We took the [picket] lines down for the holiday weekend and by Tuesday we had signed contracts for the four unions. We are very pleased." Read the earlier Playbill.com story.
Empire headliners include Moondog, Carrot Man, Polka Dot Woman, Rubbish Bag Lady, Lime Green Lady and many more.
Spiegelworld shows first came to life in New York City in summer 2006, when it launched an annual summer season on Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport neighborhood. Spiegelworld has produced Absinthe, La Vie, Late Night Lounge and Desir under its tent. The company has also toured to Miami's South Beach and Melbourne, Australia.
A 440-seat Belgian spiegeltent is the venue of the Empire experience. According to production notes, "Popular across Europe during the early 20th century, the luxurious traveling spiegeltents were used as dance halls and music/cabaret venues, featuring intimate in-the-round seating, ornate wooden paneling, mirrors, stained-glass windows, and velvet-upholstered seating booths."
Spiegelworld offers "a carnival-style bar facility and a speakeasy VIP lounge."
The creative team of Empire includes Wayne Harrison (director), John O'Connell (choreographer), Jamie Siegel (music producer), Angus Strathie (Academy Award-winning costume designer), Josh Zangen (production designer), Matthew Hodges (art director), Martin Kinnane (lighting designer) and Matt Kraus (sound designer). Empire is presented in New York by Related Companies and Boston Properties.
Tickets are priced at $59 and $89, and are available at telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200. A special VIP Ticket is available for $129 and includes a complimentary glass of champagne.
The performance schedule is as follows: Monday at 7:30 PM, Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM and Sunday at 7:30 PM.