Amanda Szeglowski and her company, cakeface, pay oblique homage to the 1980s cable-access talent show and YouTube cult favorite Stairway to Stardom, whose hapless performers made up in ardency what they may have lacked in talent. Absorbing and suggestive, this droll dance-theater piece is less campy and more disciplined than one might expect, using echoes and shadows of the TV show as background for a more general inquiry into showbiz aspiration and mundanity. The impressive cast of five women—Ali Castro, Jade Daugherty, Ayesha Jordan, Nola Sporn Smith and Szeglowski herself—wear disco-ball-silver outfits by Oana Botez; the piece weds sharp synchronized choreography, partly inspired by moves from the series, to equally tight deadpan delivery of modern, interview-based textual fragments. Jagged video and sound design (by Matt O'Hare and Brian Wenner, respectively) add to the sense of determined disconnect.
HERE (Off-Off Broadway). By Amanda Szeglowski. With ensemble cast. Running time: 55mins. No intermission. Through September 23.