Review: A Talent for Talentlessness in ‘Stairway to Stardom’

Review: A Talent for Talentlessness in ‘Stairway to Stardom’


Ms. Szeglowski’s script is a collage of musings and reminiscences by friends, family and acquaintances, as well as quotes from, say, the 1974 movie “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” or a Vogue interview with Jennifer Lawrence.

The text is often delivered, in a purposefully neutral tone, by two or more performers moving and speaking in unison. The dancers are prone to striking Amazonian power poses, especially when the lines are less than triumphant: “I’m very enthusiastic I guess. But that’s not a talent.” “Half my endorsements on LinkedIn are from my mother.”

The plotless evening tends to meander, especially since Ms. Szeglowski’s choreography gets repetitive after a while, leaving the idle mind free to ponder: What is the show trying to say?

What remains striking about the original “Stairway to Stardom” is its mix of sincerity, enthusiasm and oblivious ineptness. Nowadays even the inhabitants of YouTube’s deeper recesses appear either professional or self-conscious, while audiences themselves have lost their innocence.

The new piece’s emphasis on half-baked dreams and dead-end jobs comments, if amorphously, on our economically thwarted middle class. What’s missing from the show is what made its TV inspiration so endearing: unselfconscious hope.



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