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Christopher John Conry

first performed on September 19, 2013
Diane’s Circus, Brooklyn, NY
performed once in 2013


Robert Bingham & Laurel Jay Carpenter

Philadelphia, PA / Alfred, NY


Armed with her signature platinum beehive, glittering lips and eyelashes and clutching a whiskey on the rocks, CocoRose lays bare her soul. She never speaks. Yet when she lip-syncs—merging expertly with the vocalist—her story is revealed in the lyrics of bygone ballads. She is a performer with a long history: past her prime, but an old pro still on the march.

CocoRose rides the A train to Nostrand Avenue, heading to her latest gig. She smiles at the crowds on the subway, imagining a swarm of ardent fans. As she emerges onto the street, a stranger calls, “Hey, Cinderella,” and she beams, blowing kisses. At the party, she signals to loyal companion Sonny. He refills her cocktail and cues up tonight’s number: Marion Montgomery’s original “That’s Life.” Out of the rumble of the audience adjusting their seats and pouring drinks between acts, the song takes shape. Coco, standing in the dim light, is luminous. She lip-syncs with her entire being and her performance, subtle and intense, brings a whiff of danger, as she serves up innuendo, intimacy, longing, regret and desire. She performs a few times over the evening, whenever the mood strikes or upon request in line for the rest room. You catch her glance your way; is she ever not performing?

Who is this CocoRose? Is she a star, or does she only think she’s a star? Who is the person concealed—or revealed—by the mask? As with the best performances, in every genre, this is an act, but it’s real.

The characters CocoRose and Sonny are the creation of dance artist/researcher Robert Bingham and performance artist Laurel Jay Carpenter, originally conceived and developed for Bingham’s dance-theater work “I Think I’ll Play Myself” in 2011. Since then, Coco+Sonny have become the subject of several new collaborations between the artists, including video, dance theater and durational performance works.