“Oscar at the Crown” Promises a Wilde Night of Immersive Dance and Delight

Written by | Entertainment, Stage

Oscar at the Crown

Let’s face it: If we’re all gonna go up in a flash of light underneath a mushroom cloud, Oscar at the Crown suggests a pretty sweet way to kiss the day goodbye.

The immersive drama/dance/satire/party returns for an open-ended run with previews that begin this Saturday at 3 Dollar Bill in Bushwick.

It’s a fetish fashion parade. It’s a kinky comedy involving The Real Housewives, the work of Oscar Wilde and set in a post-apocalyptic near future. It’s also the brainchild of composer/choreographer and costumer Andrew Barret Cox and Mark Mauriello, who plays Oscar Wilde as you’ve never seen him before.

According to Cox, the evening is “meant to be a kind of choose-your-own-adventure experience. You can just come and dance with your friends, or you can get involved and follow the storyline. It’s really anything you want to make of it. You could come see the show and have a good time, dance, leave feeling euphoric, get some ideas about destroying the patriarchy — or all of the above. The idea is that you could come back multiple times and be able to get something new out of it every time. Each time you come, you’ll have a new experience.”

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Oscar Goes Wilde

Cox and Mauriello wrote the first iteration of Oscar while still in college. “That was back in 2014,” he says. “Years later, we mounted a workshop version of the show to keep refining it, and it slowly became the post-apocalyptic nightlife show about otherness and how we live in a media-obsessed society.”

Oscar at the Crown promises is a deep dive into fantasy and performance that invites audience to tumble down into a rabbit hole of elaborate construction and meticulous execution. “The best possible result,” Cox muses, “is that people come and have the best time of their lives, and then come back because they know that there is more to experience.”

Cox’ music is a character unto itself: “It’s been described as Scissor Sisters on acid,” he says with a laugh, “so I suppose that Daft Punk on Molly with a Red Bull chaser hits pretty close to the mark as well. I have had people tell me they play my music while they’re working out, and I suppose that says a lot, too. What I wanted to create was something high-octane that keeps people engaged, entertained and wanting to be involved.”

While Cox does not appear in the show alongside collaborator Mauriello, it’s not because he lacks enthusiasm for the project. He’s simply out of bandwidth.

“I constructed a lot of the costumes, designed others, and choreographed too,” he explains, “so it’s really too much on my plate to be in the show at the same time. In terms of the dancing, that’s been as much fun and challenging in a different way. We’re trying to create this world that’s both uniquely ours and belongs to Oscar, while at the same time pay tribute to underground dance styles like waacking, which is kind of an offshoot of vogue.”

Party Like It’s 2019

Think of Oscar at the Crown as a revolutionary rave, as a Rorschach Test in pop culture, or as a multi-media Roshomon that introduces a cavalcade of New York talent seldom seen in mainstream settings.

“I think if people are going to be surprised by anything,” Cox concludes, “it’s that we have tapped a well of talent here that has been begging for exposure for a long time. Because of the demands of the show, we’re using a lot of people who are crazy talented but whose talents are rarely showcased in what ‘Broadway’ musicals typically look for. I always want to give uniquely creative people an opportunity to shine in a way that also provides the audience with a show not quite like anything they’ve seen before.”

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Last modified: May 9, 2019

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