At 7:30 PM Beatrice Manley's folk opera Conjure Woman begins performances at LaMaMa's Annex. The folk-opera features musical contributions from LaMaMa founder and artistic director Ellen Stewart as well as Sheila Dabney, Harry Mann, Jasper McGruder and Yukio Tsuji.
Conjure Woman, presented as part of Black History Month, is a one-woman folk opera written by the late Beatrice Manley. "A conjure woman uses spells and potions to turn her lover into a tree so that he cannot be sold into slavery. Tragically, even the conjure woman's powers cannot stop the tree from being chopped down and made into logs," according to production notes.
George Ferencz, a resident director at La MaMa, stages the one-woman opera starring Sheila Dabney. The design team features Obie-winning set designer Jun Maeda and light designer Jeff Tapper. Conjure Women will run through Feb. 10.
Also on Jan. 31, the new musical Jack of Tarts begins performances at LaMaMa's First Floor Theatre at 8 PM.
The quirky musical, according to press notes, is "an audacious fairy tale set in a kingdom called Tartannia where life is centered around the consumption of irresistible tarts. On the day of the annual Grand High Tea, a revolutionary named Agnes endeavors to blow the house of tarts down. The Queen of Tarts and her tart-making son, the Jack of Tarts, feel the threat of impending rebellion. Things get even more complicated when a brazen hemophiliac named Annabel Lee comes to town and steals the Jack's heart." Eric Wallach and Chris Tanner penned book and lyrics for the new musical that features a 16-song score and additional lyrics by Paul Johnson. Songs in the production include "Gimme Gimme," "Today is the Day," "Fat Up and Fuck" and "Queen Queen."
Jack of Tarts co-creator Eric Wallach directs a cast that includes Michael Lynch, Lance Cruce, Chris Tanner, Julie Atlas Muz, Jen Cintron, Sarah Rolleston, Meg Cavanaugh and Richard Spore.
Creative duties for Jack of Tarts are handled by Garry Hayes (set design), Becky Hubbert (costume design), Paul Jebson (lighting design), Lance Cruce (musical arrangements) and Erick Paiva Nouchi (video design).
The Jack of Tarts - A Bittersweet Musical will play LaMaMa e.t.c. through Feb. 17.
Tickets for both productions are available by calling (212) 475-7710 or by visiting www.lamama.org.
LaMaMa e.t.c. is located at 74A East 4th Street in Manhattan.