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The Grand Paradise

Members say: Ambitious, Enchanting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Original
24 reviews
73 reviews

Third Rail Projects presents a story of desire and death, a coming of age, and a search for the Fountain of Youth at the resort of the eternally brokenhearted in this 'Sleep No More' -like theatrical experience.

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Set in the late 1970s becoming the 1980s, The Grand Paradise is a tropical resort that purports to be the home of the genuine Fountain of Youth, whose waters promise to quench our deepest longings. Greeted with a tropical drink, a garland of flowers, and an overly-cheerful activities director, visitors encounter the resort’s resident population: a rogue’s gallery of eccentrics, hustlers, eternal youths, gods, monsters, disco queens, and con men. Guests are invited to explore the resort and beaches, watch a floorshow, follow performers into one-on-one encounters, and trade their faded ideals for shiny new illusions.


Cast & Creatives (46)

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Reviews (97)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

"'The Grand Paradise' the latest and lushest of the many immersive theater spectacles to set up camp in New York in recent years, traffics in instant nostalgia...The effect is of taking and remembering a wild vacation at the same time...Using the ’70s as a time frame turns out to have been an inspired idea...It winds up hitting home. Your stay at the 'Grand Paradise' lasts a precisely measured two hours. But I can promise you that when it’s over, you’ll have little idea how long you’ve been t... Full Review

Time Out New York

"The piece is a captivatingly sensual interactive adventure. After an initial group welcome, you wander through a labyrinth of locations, immersed in a whirl of music, dance and ’70s atmospherics...The show’s running themes are love, death and the space where they meet, otherwise known as nostalgia. This escapist world is our oyster, where each grain of sand in an hourglass has a shot at becoming a pearl." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"An enthusiastic if not always engaging exercise in theatrical immersion…The movement is well executed, but before long there’s a depressing sameness to all that writhing. Maybe this is meant to suggest the eventual monotony of all erotic experience, which it certainly does, but it’s doubtful 'The Grand Paradise' wants to stress such a downer of a theme...It would help if the producers had at least managed to secure a liquor license." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"As a piece of engineering, 'The Grand Paradise' is fairly impressive...But all this effort has resulted in a largely vacuous event...At least at a play -- a good one, anyway -- you get something to think about. 'The Grand Paradise' is rather like going to a party where the guest list consists of eccentric strangers." Full Review

New York Theater

“'The Grand Paradise' can be a fun, hip and sensuous two-hour holiday...One difference could be crucial to your enjoyment...The context in 'The Grand Paradise' is less specific (the 1970s), its cultural allusions less direct and less substantive (Fantasy Island comes to mind)...What’s on offer here may be a kind of faux-nostalgia, and a hip factor that may exert a kind of peer pressure." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"The evening worked and the dance numbers performed by a strong ensemble are the reason why. What worked less well was the production design at the smaller, more detailed level...Self-contained scenes were less successful textually, but none were bad, a credit to the actors who delivered them." Full Review

AM New York

"'The Grand Paradise' is somewhat more structured than 'Sleep No More.'...During my two-hour stay, I caught (among other things) a dance party, a bar fight, and a young man dancing and disrobing on a beach...Some parts are more engaging than others. But on the whole, 'The Grand Paradise' is extremely impressive in the scope of its detail. Personally, I wouldn’t mind taking in another show to observe different characters." Full Review

Theater In The Now

"Transporting the audience to the 1970s and incorporating themes of youth, beauty, and time, among many, many others, 'The Grand Paradise' is an event like no other...It's the little moments that we will treasure forever. I found serenity at 'The Grand Paradise' and I feel rejuvenated. This is one night that will stick in my memory for eternity." Full Review


"These things generally go off better with a bit of liquor; that didn’t transpire. I had a good time at 'The Grand Paradise,' hokey and heavy-handed though it could sometimes be. The Third Rail team is admirably skilled at provoking you to a reaction, even if what you remember most is feeling vaguely uncomfortable and insecure." Full Review

Stage Buddy

“What this theatrical experience, conveyed by the brilliant minds at Third Rail Projects, gets right from the very start is that there is always an element of the forbidden when it comes to finding pleasure…The concept beautifully epitomizes what has become more than clear when it comes to the arts, which is the notion that in the digital age plot has truly become irrelevant when you could offer guests an experience instead.…The path followed by this reviewer was both erotic and moving.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"One of the beauties of 'The Grand Paradise' is that it allows for so many of these smaller, intimate moments. The cast, all trained as dancers, effortlessly and elegantly guide the audience through the evening and truly make you feel as if the performance was being done exclusively for you...Audiences escape for two hours that both fly by and yet feel satisfyingly endless." Full Review


"Mostly a dance theater piece...the heart of it comes in the monologues, which are intimate, moving scenes about the nature of time, and loss, and unfulfilled desire. When immersion theater works, it is because it becomes something you are experiencing rather than something you are watching. The best of it is a little disorienting, a little exotic, a bit joyful, sometimes a bit frightening...'The Grand Paradise' does all this. It's worth the trip." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"Over the course of your visit, you’re likely to be rubbed, grabbed, hugged, massaged, slow-danced, and led into private rooms, but it’s all in great fun...Each of the five main characters experiences a kind of reawakening—compelling, emotional stories we followed with great interest...Kudos go out to the cast, composer and sound designer, costumer, and environment designer, who have gone full tilt in making sure your stay is a very pleasant one." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"This immersive show holds the promise of a sensual, boundary-pushing adventure, but in reality it suffers from tiresome repetition and without a solid dramaturgical core there’s limited bang for your substantial buck...It's challenging to give over completely to an environment that is tightly controlled, vaguely executed, and lacking in any real risks...Nostalgia can only get you so far if it’s denuded of meaning...For a show about sex and desire, it was quite tepid and tame." Full Review

Applause! Applause!

"All of the dancers are extremely talented performers and are very attractive. The choreography is inspired and utilized to exhibit sexuality and/or to tell a story...Interactions seemed forced and were unusually uncomfortable...The company members didn't seem to have the skills to put a guest at ease...That having been said, 'The Grand Paradise' is an experience you will not want to miss. It is part of the happenings of our decade." Full Review

Fuck Yeah Great Plays

"The performers are gorgeously genuine in these intimate interactions. It’s all hushed voices and soft gestures, but the connections feel real. The audience is lightly guided from room to room with some flirtatious touches and the timed opening and closing of doors...Throughout the whole show there was explosive movement and dance tying each moment together." Full Review

New York Theatre Review

"Exploring notions of desire, trust, and the search for happiness, 'The Grand Paradise' is an elaborate, ambitious piece of three-dimensional dance theatre...'The Grand Paradise' focuses much more on philosophy than plot. It is common for this genre to sacrifice narrative in favor of feeling and atmosphere...'The Grand Paradise' shines when it shows off what Third Rail does best: dance. The choreography is a superb blend of poetic movement and disco at its grooviest." Full Review

Off Off Online

"'The Grand Paradise' keeps audiences entertained during their entire two-hour stay and the ensemble cast is a veritable treasure trove of diverse talent…Within the marvelous bigger picture of 'The Grand Paradise,' the slightly lengthy improvisational dance scenes are a forgettable flaw...The cohesive theme, remarkable talent and complex-yet-invisible immersive design make for a fun and refreshingly unique experience." Full Review

Village Voice

"The problem here is one that haunts certain original musicals. Without the familiar characters — without the brilliant madness and psychological armature of Carroll's life and work — the universe created in 'The Grand Paradise' rings hollow. This show's halcyon era, barely forty years behind us, yields less wonder, and fewer exquisite artifacts, than the group's Victorian-set prior project...It's no better than it should be, and no worse." Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"I was very much impressed at 'The Grand Paradise' being set in the '70s and not feeling like some sort of 'Brady Bunch' nostalgia trip. Everything felt lived in, but recently, and not a pastiche...Should you see 'The Grand Paradise?' Very much yes. Go, and go with an open mind, and a readiness to engage and explore and flirt. If your night was anything like mine, it will be a highly rewarding and transformative experience." Full Review

Norwalk's Hamlet Hub

"Unlike other entrancing theater experiences, 'The Grand Paradise' is dance-based with an intentionally ambiguous plot, and offers more intimate and frequent one-on-one scenes with the actors. It's a welcome respite from this month's bitter cold, and another jewel in this new style of theater's crown. The show time seemed to fly by, and, as with most getaways, even after the final act was over, I didn't want my time in paradise to ever end. " Full Review

Strange Beacon

"I really enjoyed the show, and surprisingly loved being curated into certain scenes, until I was taken out of the storyline I was interested in and sent into one I had zero say in...Minus this little issue I had, and it’s just a personal thing not to say the show wasn’t incredible because it was, I love the piece and can’t wait to return. This really is something special and with time I know it is going to be amazing...Go see this show!" Full Review

Actually Scorched

"An absolutely excellent show…It’s really fun. Interspersed are moments of profundity, loss, grief, and contemplation. The predominant mode in the show is fun, exploration, release, and reconnection…I don’t think it’s necessarily the most impressively choreographed work I’ve ever seen, on the level of the individual dances at least…What really is impressive, though, is the overall event choreography." Full Review

Quick Theatre

"More intimate for the viewer than anything else I’ve seen to date. The emotional impact of such intimate encounters cannot be overstated...Every moment, every touch, every story shared is deliberate and leaves you with something to meditate on...I would also be remiss in not noting the superb work by all performers...Overall, my trip was welcoming, seductive and enlightening. 'The Grand Paradise' is sexy, wistful and boisterous and I can’t wait to check in again." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Confusing, Disappointing, Lush

See it if you are an immersive theatre junkie.

Don't see it if narrative is a necessity for you.

Absorbing, Edgy, Enchanting, Resonant, Indulgent

See it if you love the 70s vibe and you want a short escape from the stressful NYC city life to refresh your mind.

Don't see it if you are not into new age philosophy. And that you are uncomfortable of full male nudity and getting intimate with a stranger.

Also This piece will forever be in my memory since I didn't get to experien... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Edgy, Quirky, Interesting, Great staging

See it if you like immersive theater experiences done with a great eye for detail

Don't see it if you need a play with a strong plot or if you dislike interacting with actors and being left alone in small spaces

Edgy, Indulgent, Cliched, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if Like the one-on-one interactive experience.

Don't see it if Don't want to be single-out. Looking for an actual story.

Disappointing, Insipid, Entertaining, Great staging, Fluffy

See it if your appreciation of immersive theatre isn't dependent on such elements as "plot" and "dramatic arc."

Don't see it if you need some sort of a plot line to find your time well spent.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting

See it if you love immersive theater, you have a particular fondness for the analog and 70's kitsch, you love Third Rail Projects.

Don't see it if you're timid about interacting with actors; you're uncomfortable with seeing a lot of sensuality, you don't love long dance sequences.

Also I loved this piece, maybe even more than Then She Fell. They did a rea... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Disappointing

See it if you want an immersive show without having to navigate five flights of stairs, and the opportunity to have many one-on-ones with the cast

Don't see it if you're contemplating seeing this or 'Then She Fell' (go with the latter). GP's lack of a story drowns out the actor's choreography

Original, Clever, Enchanting, Interactive, Seductive

See it if you seek "immersive theatre" with an original storyline. It's not very complex, but a clever, fun exploration of sex & the art of seduction.

Don't see it if you're a passive audience member or you seek deep meaning. More orderly than Sleep No More, slower than Then She Fell & flimsier than both.

Ambitious, Enchanting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Must see

See it if You enjoy other immersive theatre. Grand Paradise is a meld of the Sleep No More and Then She Fell approaches with a lighter feel.

Don't see it if You don't like to be interacted with by performers or if you need a clear narrative, even in immersive theatre, to enjoy yourself.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Resonant, Indulgent

See it if You're into some home-grown immersive theater; if you're open to interacting with performers, and have a tortured relationship with desire.

Don't see it if You have a low tolerance for dance sequences; if you walk through the world with a stank face on.

Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you enjoy Brooklyn and immersive theatre

Don't see it if you are expecting the same quality and overall experience as Sleep No More

Absorbing, Enchanting, Resonant, Could have been longer

See it if You love immersive theatre, & you've already done Sleep No More. It's a really interesting and different experience, w/ some really beauty.

Don't see it if You hate immersive theatre. Also, at 2h and $110/ticket, GP isn't as much "bang for your buck" as Sleep No More. But it's still cool!

Edgy, Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Confusing

See it if you like ambitious, unusual immersive theatre with some interesting ideas and committed performances.

Don't see it if you want a clear story or plot that you can follow, or if you're impatient with long, sometimes indulgent movement sequences. Hit and miss.

Ambitious, Enchanting, Confusing, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if you like immersive theater and want an enchanting evening surrounded by handsome, scantily clad men. You'll love it. Expertly put together.

Don't see it if you want depth. Or a story to follow, or differentiation of experience from room to room. One on one's were good but still superficial.

Original, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you loved Then She Fell and don't mind there's no well-known story to follow. To enjoy, be patient (slow start), have a drink, & relax

Don't see it if you want value-for-money; this intimate show is pricey and has no real plot But we had fun, came out smiling & talking about our experiences

Original, Absorbing, Ambitious, Cliched, Great staging

See it if you enjoy immersive theater, if you would have preferred Sleep No More with less violence and creepiness.

Don't see it if if audience interaction bugs you, or if you don't like being touched by strangers.

Original, Delightful, Enchanting, Great staging

See it if you want a less intense intro to immersive theatre than Sleep No More

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable interacting with the cast and audience; you dislike sand; you need linear plot and control of your experience

Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if you enjoy immersive theatre mixed with philosophical monologues. Unexpectedly deep while still managing to be fun - this piece is special.

Don't see it if frequent interactions with/being touched by actors turns you off, you don't want to think about your own mortality.

Original, Ambitious, Clever, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you like intimate theater one on one. The world of the Grand Paradise Resort creates and evokes memories of things that might have been.

Don't see it if you need to sit down to enjoy a show. There are place to sit but the full experience depends on you to interact with the performers.

Experience being inside an episode of the 70's tv show "fantasy island"

See it if You are 1 of 60 "guests" at a tropical resort in the 70's. The "play" is the experience and WTF interaction with the actors in various rooms

Don't see it if No real plot. Tons of interpretive dance and philosophical monologues. Need to be willing to explore & tolerate being touched/fed liquids

Absorbing, Ambitious, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if You'd like an immersive experience at a tropical resort, and partaking in philosophical repertoire. You will feel welcome at every turn.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable being intimately touched by strangers, gratutitious nudity, or tire of repetitive exotic dance routines

Original, Clever, Edgy, Enchanting, Great staging

See it if You enjoy creativity on a grand scale, inventive theater, immersive experiences, a choose your own adventure. Have seen this show 3 times!

Don't see it if Being touched, nudity, alone in tight, dark spaces bother you.

Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great staging

See it if you like Sleep No More or Then She Fell

Don't see it if you have to be in control of your own experience and need to have linear plot

Absorbing, Enchanting, Sensual

See it if You like interactive theater; very sensual and though provoking (some scenes are beautiful; other a little cliched)

Don't see it if You are not into "new age" philosophy; feel uncomfortable on 1 on 1 interactions or being touched.

Original, Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you like immersive theatre, or at least are willing to relax and experience a show that might involve interacting with the performers.

Don't see it if you are paralyzed by the idea of talking with, dancing with, or interacting with someone you don't know (because it will definitely happen!)