Born in Newark and based in New York City, choreographer Stephen Petronio is taking to the streets for his latest evening-length piece, Like Lazarus Did (LLD 4/30). The creator of such works as Underland, The Architecture of Loss, and I Drink the Air Before Me examines religion and resurrection in LLD, which will begin at Nineteenth St. and Ninth Ave., where composer Son Lux, trumpeter C. J. Camerieri (yMusic, Sufjan Stevens), violinist Rob Moose (Bon Iver, yMusic), and four choristers will lead a procession into the lobby of the Joyce, where they will make an invocation, all before the “official” dance starts inside onstage. Inside the theater, visual artist Janine Antoni will be suspended in a helicopter stretcher hanging over the audience. “Almost every religion promises some kind of rebirth or resurrection,” Petronio says in a promotional video for the show, “and how odd that the only thing that you can’t prove is the thing that drives the marketplace of all these religions.” A major collaborative effort that will have unique, site-specific elements at each venue it plays, LLD will be performed by the Stephen Petronio Company — Julian De Leon, Davalois Fearon, Joshua Green, Gino Grenek, Barrington Hinds, Natalie Mackessy, Jaqlin Medlock, Nick Sciscione, Emily Stone, and Joshua Tuason — in addition to thirty members of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City (directed by Francisco Núñez), Son Lux, and members of Bon Iver and yMusic, with costumes by H. Petal and lighting by Ken Tabachnick. The April 30 and May 1 shows will include a preshow musical performance in front of the Joyce as well. Ticket holders are encouraged to come early every night to experience Antoni’s unique installation. The May 2 show will be preceded by a talk led by Susan Thomasson at the neighboring Sushi Masaru restaurant and followed by a Dance Chat with members of the cast and crew.
Update: Stephen Petronio throws himself quite a New Orleans-style funeral in his latest evening-length piece, the site-specific Like Lazarus Did. The show begins outside the Joyce as musicians C. J. Camerieri, Son Lux, and Rob Moose play the slave song “Like Lazarus Did,” which features the oft-repeated refrain “I want to die / like Lazarus did.” Inside the theater, the curtain is lifted slightly above the stage, revealing a barefooted Petronio in a black suit, lying flat on his back as if dead. Meanwhile, performance artist Janine Antoni hangs over the audience, remaining stock-still in a helicopter stretcher surrounded by body parts, holding a light as if beckoning Petronio to rise up and join her in an ascent to the unknown. What follows is sixty minutes of bold and beautiful movement, with small hints at a narrative involving birth, death, and rebirth and heaven and hell, particularly when the back wall is illuminated in red with a stark, disinviting entrance and later when cords fall from above like the hands of God. Son Lux’s memorable score ranges from the traditional to the avant-garde, from pure gospel to cutting-edge experimental, with glorious contributions from the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, conducted by Francisco Núñez. The dancers are uniformly excellent, with a standout performance by Davalois Fearon, but they do so in some very silly costumes (loose-fitting smocks and skirts) by H. Petal and Tara Subkoff that actually detract from the overall impact of the show. Otherwise, Like Lazarus Did is a dazzling funeral procession that is well worth being a part of.