This musical takes the crown for oddest premise!
A new “immersive nightclub musical” opening in Bushwick this weekend will blend the future and the past with pop culture obsessions and hot dance moves. “Oscar at the Crown,” opening at 3 Dollar Bill on Jan. 18, also details the rise and fall of the ultimate queer pop figure — Oscar Wilde, according to the show’s creator.
“Oscar was as much a star as Britney Spears and Lady Gaga,” said Mark Mauriello, who lives in Bushwick. “He would have been the best at twitter.”
The story of the witty Victorian writer, who was sentenced to prison for his homosexuality, is just part of a melange of pop culture in the show, he explained.
“It is a dance party, with great original hot music and incredible dancing, that folds together parts of real pop culture, with more literary and historic story of Oscar Wilde,” said Mauriello.
The show is set in a fascist future society, where anyone who is not a heterosexual, cisgender, white conservative has been exiled. These outcasts — the cast members and audience — gather in a bunker where they have formed a religion from the cast-off pop culture remnants of the past, including “The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde” and episodes of reality shows “The Real Housewives” and teen soap opera “The O.C.”
Mauriello, who co-founded the Neon Coven theater company, also plays the exile portraying Oscar Wilde.
“They’re big shoes to fill,” he said. “It’s very interesting, because he was someone who was a true master of performance, so he and his story lend themselves so well to this show.”
The play has been a long time coming. Mauriello presented a version of it as his senior thesis at Harvard in 2015, and it had other incarnations before that. But when Mauriello and other members of the Neon Coven theater group stepped into 3 Dollar Bill, a nightclub that opened last summer in Bushwick, it was a magical moment for the production.
“We peered into this Narnia behind the curtain, and knew that we had to do it here,” he said.
The show will happen not only on the club’s stage, but will have dancers riding moving platforms into the audience and dancing alongside them.
“It’s a 360-degree experience,” he said. “It really explodes all over the entire space.”
Mauriello thinks that the scattershot nature of the play will help it to appeal to a wide variety of people, including club kids, reality television fans, and scholars of Victorian lit.
“If you just want to have a drink and hear some great, original pop vocalists, if you are an Oscar Wilde fan or a ‘Real Housewives’ fan — I think you will find a lot to chew on,” he said. “I think fans of Oscar Wilde will be surprised that they’re at a fun dance party.”
“Oscar at the Crown” at 3 Dollar Bill in Bushwick (260 Meserole St. between Bushwick Place and Waterbury Street in Bushwick, www.thene