Stewart describes the piece as a "dance-theatre epic." She has set the piece in the Roaring '20s, with flappers, bootleggers and all. The cast will number 25. Among the jazz babies: Cerebus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates to Hades; the half-bull, half-man Minotaur; and the half-man, half-horse Nessos. The plot description goes this way: "Herakles must prove his godliness and atone for a hideous crime against his wife and two sons by performing a series of twelve labors, from killing a fierce lion to bare-handedly capturing a three-headed dog. Meanwhile in the court of Aphrodite, a handmaiden named Phaedra sets out to win the heart of a king, only to find herself falsely accused of having a love affair with her stepson. Herakles and Phaedra's stories intertwine, leading one to a tragic end and the other to glory."
The play will have choreography by Renouard Gee, with Bharata Natyam (South Indian dance) by Kamala Cesar of Lotus Studios, and Flamenco by Shigeko Suga; accompanied by original music composed by Genji Ito, Michael Sirotto, Heather Paauwe, Elizabeth Swados and Ellen Stewart. Also featured are bird and centaur puppets by Federico Restrepo, and masks by Gretchen Green; with set design by Jun Maeda; sound by Tim Schellenbaum; and projections created especially for this production by Jeffrey Issac.
The production will run until June 11. Tickets during previews are $20; after opening are $25, and can be reserved by calling (212) 475-7710 or online at www.lamama.org.