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Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott’s 'Places Please!' A Backstage Onstage Romp

by Bonnie Rosenstock
January 14, 2018
Joe's Pub
The Public Theater
425 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10003
212-967-7555
Places Please! is longtime collaborators Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott’s contribution to the canon of all the stormy craziness and anxiety that performers go through backstage right before the onstage calm. It is presented in a series of frantic costume changes, comedic and serious banter and deft dance duets and solos, accompanied by music from a wide range of artists. It’s a wild romp of fast-paced fun.

Keigwin and Wolcott are long-time collaborators and finely attuned to each other. They co-founded KEIGWIN + COMPANY in 2003 after having created their signature work, “Straight Duet,” the year before. Wolcott was the associate artistic director and a featured dancer until 2013, but the two continue to maintain their creative association. Places Please! is part of DANCE NOW’s 2018 ENCORE! Series, presented for two shows only on January 11 and 14 at Joe’s Pub at The Public.

It’s amazing how much mayhem one can produce on a pizza-slice sized stage at Joe’s Pub. They danced wearing red sparkle bathing caps, short pants, long pants, form-fitting outfits, revealing outfits, dresses, skirts, goggles, barefoot, with socks, in all manner of fabric, patterns and textures. Wolcott changed wigs numerous times until she found just the right one.

This was my first time seeing the 55-minute piece, but there seemed to be repeaters in the audience among the animated fans, some of whom also became willing participants. They had four volunteers come onstage to sweep up the confetti they let loose. Then the four were prompted to do different movements, which they did quite well in the spirit of the evening. Keigwin’s phone rang on one of the tables, and he went into the audience to answer it. Wolcott threw costumes at audience members to hold onto until she later retrieved them. (I loved my charge, a tight-fitting bejeweled unitard, which I was admittedly reluctant to return.)

While seated on chairs, one of their recurring movements was tapping fingers on their knees. “It’s a durational piece,” joked Keigwin, “order a drink.” He later declared he had a hernia, from “pushing too hard.”

But the two could also turn serious. Wolcott’s star turn was about aging. “What I’m struggling with is when do I stop?” she wondered as she pulled out all stops in a dynamic, flowing solo to “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (“Don’t Leave Me”). Her credits include performing at the Metropolitan Opera, being featured in music videos, concerts, dance companies, rock bands and the film “Across the Universe,” as well as staging and dancing to her own choreography.

Keigwin’s solo narrative related to his career trajectory, which had its ups and downs, that is, “Too uptown for downtown and too downtown for uptown,” he said. His impressive resume includes dance gigs as widely diverse as the Metropolitan Opera, downtown clubs, Broadway and back downtown. He also choreographed the 2011 production of the musical “Tales of the City” in San Francisco, the Off-Broadway production of “Rent” (2011 Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation award) and the Broadway musical “If/Then” in 2013. I recently saw his contribution to the Martha Graham Company’s “Lamentation Variations” project, choreographed for the full company, a touchingly executed study in sorrow.

These individually accomplished artists make fine music and dance together. More encores, please.
Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott in 'Places Please!'

Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott in "Places Please!"

Photo © & courtesy of Whitney Browne


Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott in 'Places Please!'

Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott in "Places Please!"

Photo © & courtesy of Whitney Browne


Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott in 'Places Please!'

Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott in "Places Please!"

Photo © & courtesy of Whitney Browne


Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott in 'Places Please!'

Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott in "Places Please!"

Photo © & courtesy of Whitney Browne

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