Over the past couple decades, electronic dance music has expanded beyond the realm of raves, nightclubs and festivals and received mainstream exposure as Kanye West, Lady Gaga and other major pop acts have included EDM elements in their chart-topping songs. Now, EDM has expanded to new horizons: musical theater.
Opening Sept. 21 at the East Village’s Theater for the New City, “Cleopatra: The New Pop Experience” fuses an EDM score with musical theater for an immersive audience experience that includes a live DJ and a dance floor.
Producer Nathaniel Hill conceived the show roughtly four years ago. Composer Jeff Daye wanted to put together a musical that explored the politics of the last two years of Cleopatra’s life, Hill explained. Cleopatra, the legendary Egyptian queen, is shown celebrating her empire’s latest triumph over the Roman Republic during an extravagant bash thrown by her lover Marc Antony. Meanwhile, the Roman general Octavian plots her demise just outside the city walls.
“We wanted to be true to the historical timeline,” Hill said. “We think of her as the ‘Beyonce’ of her day but also with political power and prowess.”
Daye incorporated elements of pop and house music into the score. “It’s really exciting music, full of energy, and no one was using it to tell a story,” Hill said.
“The way that it’s set, the audience will be standing on the dance floor, drinking, and surrounded by the show,” Hill said. “That’s why we call it the experience instead of a musical.”
The 14-person cast includes Talia Thiesfield (Veep and Limitless) as Cleopatra and original Hamilton cast member Sydney James Harcourt as Marc Antony.
There will be a total of 12 performances held between Sept. 21 to Oct. 8. Tickets are available online and at the door for $18.