Slava’s Snowshow will be the only Broadway production this winter to create a snowstorm that completely envelops the audience when it begins performances November 11 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
How creator-stager Slava Polunin and his creative team manage to pull off that feat is best left a mystery, but an indoor blizzard is not the only thing that sets the show apart from the rest of the holiday offerings on the Great White Way.
As Slava the clown and his friends travel through a winter landscape in search of joy, the show becomes “about finding your inner childhood innocence,” says producer David Carpenter.
“It’s very hard with traditional theatrical storytelling to have the audience be part of explosive moments,” says producer Hunter Arnold. “Slava has constructed something where you are literally part of an explosion of happiness—you are not just observing, but in the middle of it.”
Carpenter says audiences will get a different experience each night, thanks to the loose structure of the story, which invites the cast to improvise and interact with theatregoers.
For the show’s 100 minutes, there is no dialogue. While that’s rare for Broadway, there is a rich theatrical history of storytelling without speaking. Arnold points to circus and ballet as two examples, calling them “the language of movement and feelings.”
“Any time I see a piece of art that is opening doors, I get really excited,” the producer says. “I think a lot of times people misinterpret that live theatre is this stuffy thing, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Slava’s Snowshow is non-denominational, too. “The true holiday spirit is across all religions,” says Carpenter. “All people have this moment during this time of the year when we are celebrating life.” Arnold agrees: “This truly is something that anybody can walk into and still feel both kinship with their fellow men that are in the room and the joy of the holiday season.”
And just like the holidays, this is one experience for kids and adults alike. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a stroll through a winter wonderland?