Nestled inside The Wick in Boca Raton, the new Museum Club aims to make dining a truly theatrical experience.
When it officially opens in October, visitors will sit at tables surrounded by 360-degree video projections from “My Fair Lady” and mannequins wearing Oscar-winning costumer Cecil Beaton’s designs. More than 50 costumes from Beaton’s original 1956 Broadway wardrobe will dazzle on display, including the historic dress worn by Julie Andrews.
The late great Beaton himself will greet guests via a video.
Eliza Doolittle, the beloved Cockney flower girl, is the first sartorial subject of this new immersive-restaurant-within-a-museum, with an exhibit that traces the character from her first appearance in George Bernard Shaw’s play, “Pygmalion,” to all of the leading ladies who have portrayed her on film and onstage right up until a 2018 Broadway revival.
Kimberly Wick, curator at the costume museum, says she and her crew started putting together the project in the late summer of 2021 — the idea born out of a mother-daughter visit to an immersive Van Gogh art exhibit.
“I think the immersive technology is the future of any sort of presentation form in the country, be it your corporate event, or theater as we know it,” she says. “I mean, this is absolutely the future. And I think that eventually the future of what we’ve done in the back will lead into the main auditorium. I just see that happening.”
During a sneak-peak gala on Sept. 16, guests got to see how the traditional museum tour has morphed into something more elevated within the space, which can seat about 100 people.
Below, find more about the Museum Club at The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum.
As part of what’s called The Ascot Experience, Wick says guests will take a seat in the main room and begin by watching a “beautiful, amazing 25-minute immersive experience, ‘All About My Fair Lady,’ ” with the wardrobe all around them.
“They can get up to look at the [clothes] up close, then you’ll have your meal, and then we’re going to have … a performer singing some songs from the show. We’ll go into The Hat Room and have a little peek at the stage, and their day is complete.”
That’s for the luncheon. For dinner, they plan on — later on this fall — adding a successful cabaret show that they had been staging in the Wick lobby during the pandemic.
Wick predicts that when the cabaret/evening experience is launched, it will start with a shorter version of The Ascot Experience, with cocktails followed by a three-course dinner.
“As soon as dessert is about halfway through, there’ll be a nationally recognized performer … and locals [on the cabaret stage]. And while they’re performing, there’ll be some immersive stuff going on around them, of course,” she says. “Maybe they sing a song about New York and up comes the city skyline. It’s gonna be really impactful.”
Before the Wicks transformed what was formerly the Caldwell Theatre Co. in Boca Raton, the family was already internationally known for Costume World Rentals and the Costume World Broadway Collection. Both were located in a Pompano Beach warehouse (the rental business is still there, along with the corporate offices for The Wick).
A popular part of the costume warehouse tour back then was known as The Hat Experience.
Guests “would try on hats and take pictures, and it was just such a fun thing,” Wick explains. “Making memories is what we do on the stage and we made a lot of memories in that room …
“People ask me about it every day,” she adds. “So that room is now back.”
There’s also a life-sized horse evoking the Ascot Race scene in “My Fair Lady.”
“You know, they can take pictures with the horse. We’ve got all these little fun vignettes for them to take their pictures with,” she says.
The Wick’s first restaurant, featuring furnishings — table settings, chandeliers, wallpaper — from the famed Tavern on the Green eatery in New York’s Central Park, is expected to resume its service of preshow dinner and Sunday brunch when the mainstage season resumes
The Eat Beat – Restaurants, Bars and Recipes
Dining out, cooking in and all the South Florida restaurant news and information you need.
“Guests can certainly come and join us for a beautiful lunch before they go into the [matinee] show or dinner before they go into the evening performance,” Wick says. “It will operate just like it always has, no exceptions.”
The menus between the Museum Club and Tavern will be very different.
“We’re going to keep that tried-and-true mainstay of the Tavern with that three-course-type, prix-fixe meal,” she says. “And in The Museum Club … in the evening, it’s going to be a little bit more avant-garde. We’re going to do more tapas style and a la carte and, of course, main course entrees.”
Wick says the spark behind adding an immersive dining experience came when she and her mother, executive managing producer Marilynn A. Wick, made a trip to Miami to catch one of the three Van Gogh immersive art exhibits last year. Their plans for the Museum Club concept suffered pandemic-related delays, however, with equipment not arriving on time.
“We’ve always had some technology-forward things happening in the museum, to enhance the wardrobe, etc., and I thought: Well, let’s see what this immersive thing is all about.
“The minute we walked in [to the Van Gogh exhibit], I knew we were in trouble,” she says. “Oh my god, can you imagine — that beautiful ‘My Fair Lady’ wardrobe on these massive screens with the real clothes in front of it? And then, you know what? Show the embassy ball costumes all around you, like you are actually going to the embassy ball. Your mind starts going. Of course, my mother has great vision about these things too.”[ RELATED: Will the real Vincent van Gogh immersive experience please stand up? ]
- The Museum Club and The Wick Theatre are located at 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. Visit TheWick.org/Museum-Club or call 561-995-2333.
- Starting in October, the Museum Club’s lunch package — including the exhibition, three-course meal, live entertainment and the Hat Room Experience — will be $85 per person. Later in the season, the Museum Club will also host special evening events that will include cocktail service, gourmet dining and live entertainment on the venue’s cabaret stage.
- Admission to the exhibit only is $45.