LaMaMa's Stewart Contributes to Folk Opera Conjure Woman

News   LaMaMa's Stewart Contributes to Folk Opera Conjure Woman LaMaMa founder and artistic director Ellen Stewart has penned original musical for Conjure Women, which begins performances at the downtown venue Jan. 31.

The blues-infused opera includes musical contributions from Stewart as well as Sheila Dabney, Harry Mann, Jasper McGruder and Yukio Tsuji. Designed to be reminiscent of 1800's slavery music, the instruments for the opera include harmonica, washboard, jug, acoustic guitar, bass and percussion. LaMaMa resident set designer Jun Maeda has also created a unique bass instrument designed specifically for the production.

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 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 conjur woman's powers cannot stop the tree from being chopped down and made into logs," according to production notes.

Conjure Woman creator Beatrice Manley was a founder of the San Francisco Actor's Workshop. Her extensive theatrical career spanned over six decades, including Broadway's Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Alchemist, The Country Wife, and The Cherry Orchard.

Conjure Woman will run through Feb. 10 at LaMaMa's Annex Theatre. Tickets 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.