One-Man Show at Joe’s Pub this weekend

John Heginbotham’s dying for you to come to his One-Man Show, running Friday and Saturday night at Joe’s Pub, as part of the DanceNOW [NYC] Dancemopolitan series.  Each night he rises from a terminal diagnoses by the disarmingly charming doctor and nurse team, played by Elizabeth DeMent and Aaron Mattocks with panache and ironic wit, to find himself in the spotlight on the same stage that musical legends Leonard Cohen, Eartha Kitt, Meshell Ndegeocello, and several others have graced.  His voiced-over inner monologue runs amok as he wanders the space noting the legendary status of the location, admiring the photo wall and the foam wall, envisioning his audience naked, and panicking.  Once he switches frequencies, Daniel Pettrow, seated at an electric keyboard, serves as his brain and challenges him to come up with something useful to do in his last 50 minutes alive.

Realizing he never got any further than the dying wish to perform a solo show at Joe’s Pub, he frantically tries to come up with material and taps into early childhood failures and his eventual success at Dance, Dance, Revolution in the song “Participant/DDR” and a listing of what fantastic feats he’ll accomplish in “Spectacular,” with lyrics by Gordon Leary and music by Julia Meinwald.  Pettrow suggests he do one of those shows where the solo performer re-enacts a movies while playing every cast member starting with “Empire,” Andy Warhol’s 8-hour, black & white, slow motion film of the Empire State Building.  Heginbothom decides to play both Fred and Ginger in “Cheek to Cheek,” from the film “Top Hat,” returning to perform the dance in retrograde (and heels) in reference to former Texas Governor Ann Richard’s comment that Ginger did everything Fred did, only backwards and in heels.

The stream-of-conscious, Attention Deficit Disorder/multitasking “DanceNow” number, a hit during the September Fall Festival, brings dance humor and commentary on our disintegrating social structures together. Heginbotham collapses at the end of the dance and DeMent, Pettrow, and Mattocks vent about how much they’d rather be in someone else’s show.  They each do fantastic send-ups of their favorite solo performers including Elaine Stritch, Spalding Gray, and Liza with a “Z.”  Though Heginbotham will die each night, this one-man show is an ensemble-driven gem that lives and thrives in the moments of interchange among the quartet of experienced artists.  It’s a delightfully smart legend of one little life and a witty little homage to legendary performers.  Dancers, bring your theater friends, your musical friends, or even your musical theater friends, there’s a little something for everyone.

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