La MaMa Gala, Honoring Sam Shepard With Ellen Stewart Award, Held Oct. 17

News   La MaMa Gala, Honoring Sam Shepard With Ellen Stewart Award, Held Oct. 17 The downtown experimental theatre company La Mama etc honors Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard with the first-ever Ellen Stewart Award, named in honor of the late La MaMa founder, Oct. 17 in the Ellen Stewart Theatre.

Sam Shepard
Sam Shepard

Shepard, whose early works were nurtured by Stewart at La MaMa, is being celebrated during the company's 6:30 PM gala. As part of the recognition, Shepard will also select a young theatre artist to create a new work to be presented and produced at La MaMa.

The honor is presented "to an artist who embodies the courage and pioneering spirit that Ms. Stewart encouraged at La MaMa, an artist who carries on her ideal of challenging conventional theatrical boundaries and expanding our understanding of human potential." Stewart died Jan. 13 at age 91.

The gala promises entertainment from actors and writers with ties to La MaMa, including Wallace Shawn, Estelle Parsons, John Kelly, Justin Bond, Scott Wittman, Taylor Mac and Elizabeth Swados.

Split Britches' Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver host the evening that includes an excerpt of Shawn's The Hotel Play; as well as Estelle Parsons and John Kelly in a scene from Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy. Justin Bond and Scott Wittman are announced to pay tribute to late playwright/performer Jackie Curtis of the Cockettes, with a scene from his play Vain Victory; and Taylor Mac is scheduled to perform highlights from The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac.

Also in attendance will be New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Julia Stiles, Marc Shaiman, Warren Leight and James Houghton. Swados is announced to share excerpts from her La MaMa Cantata, which is composed of Stewart's own spoken words. It will have its world premiere Nov. 7.

Shepard is a Pulitzer winner for his play Buried Child. His plays also include Kicking a Dead Horse, True West (Tony and Pulitzer nomination), Curse of the Starving Class, Tongues, Simpatico and Fool for Love (Pulitzer nomination). He earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in "The Right Stuff," and has appeared in the films "Brothers," "The Assassination of Jesse James…," "The Return," "The Notebook," "Hamlet," "Snow Falling on Cedars," "Steel Magnolias," "The Pelican Brief" and "Crimes of the Heart."

Tickets are available by calling (212) 475-7710 or by visiting LaMaMa. LaMaMa e.t.c. is located at 74A East 4th Street in Manhattan.

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