15 Questions in 15 Minutes

by Deb Miller of the DC Metro Theater Arts

In 1968, Pop artist Andy Warhol made his much-celebrated observation, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” The future is now, and Andy was right. With the advent of the internet and social media, today’s connected world is able to create viral sensations with a mere touch of the keypad. And it can also shine a virtual spotlight on outstanding talent, spreading the well-deserved fame of those achieving Superstar status across the web, both nationally and internationally.

Most recently seen as a standby in the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway revival of Smokey Joe’s Cafe at Stage 42, New York native and Broadway veteran Dan Domenech has announced his January debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below (the nightclub beneath the legendary Studio 54, where Andy was a fixture in its heyday of the late 1970s), with a one-night-only performance of his must-see cabaret Bootleg Famous. The title of the show, which premiered in July at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, comes from Domenech’s enormous internet following, when the posting of an illegally-recorded video of his performance in Heathers: The Musical (which has since been taken down) garnered a phenomenal 24 million hits.

I caught up with Dan for an informal shoot with photographer Abby Warhola (Andy Warhol’s grandniece) and a Warhol-style Pop-quiz interview about his upcoming cabaret, his trending success, his perspectives on fame and life, and his signature branding with bread.

1.What’s the most fabulous thing about being ‘Bootleg Famous’?

Dan: Being able to reach people in other countries. I just got a message from someone in Turkey, and all I could think was, “How did you know me?” It means the world.

2. What song in the cabaret best captures your feelings about performing at 54 Below? 

“I’d Rather Be Sailing.” It’s stressful to be on stage in your own show, you don’t know how people will respond, so I get nervous!

3. Straight or curls? Dress-up or casual? What will the look be for the show? 

The curls probably won’t be out yet, after this latest botched haircut; it will probably take at least six months for them to grow back. I’ll definitely be dressing casual, or maybe a little of both, with a jacket. But I want to be me.

4. What food or drink selection would you suggest to suit the mood of the night?

 A Whiskey Sour [laughing], or maybe an Old Fashioned – that’ll sum up the night!

5. What three things do you always have in your refrigerator?

 Butter, Brita water, and a lot of vegetables – probably all expired and spoiled.

6. What is it about toast?

 It’s another state of bread; it’s fiery bread, bread in the morning!

7. What do you like best about playing in the intimate space of 54 Below? 

Just that you can see everyone in front of you and have a genuine moment. In a theater you’re playing to the dark, you can only see maybe the first six rows. In a cabaret you can respond to people.

8. What’s one thing your fans don’t know about you that you won’t be sharing with the cabaret audience in January but can tell us now?

Oh, gosh. Oh, man. It’s like ‘being people’ stuff. I just did a purge of my apartment and found a folder of songs I’ve attempted to write that are all just eight bars of music. That’s where my brain wants to stop. I don’t get past the first eight bars.

9. What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself?

 Chill, blunt, and utilitarian.

10. What’s the one thing that always makes you smile? 

You guys – people – in the truest, most sincere sense. When you’re easy to talk to, it’s easy to smile!

11. What’s your favorite indulgence? 

Pizza. PIZZA!!!

12. Do you sing for fun when you’re off stage?

 I used to. Now it depends; it has to be the right setting.

13. What one song haven’t you performed professionally that you would most like to do in the future?

“Michael in the Bathroom” now, from Be More Chill; and I’ll be doing it in Bootleg Famous. But in the past, I’ve sung everything I wanted.

14. Which emoji most accurately represents your attitude towards life?

The straight mouth. It’s perfect when you’re being serious, or sarcastic, or funny. It has so many uses.

15. What quote best summarizes your personal philosophy?

You aren’t famous till they put your head on a Pez dispenser.

Thanks, Dan, for a fabulous 15 minutes; I can’t wait to see the NYC premiere of Bootleg Famous. I’m sure Andy would love you, and your legions of fans would all agree – your 15 minutes will never be up!

Dan Domenech: Bootleg Famous plays Sunday, January 13, 2019, at Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 West 54th Street, NYC. For tickets, call (646) 476-3551, or purchase them online.

Daniel Domenech