La MaMa Season to Include Premieres by Elizabeth Swados, Dario D'Ambrosi and John Jesurun

News   La MaMa Season to Include Premieres by Elizabeth Swados, Dario D'Ambrosi and John Jesurun
Tony Award nominee Elizabeth Swados will pen an oratorio based on the words of late La MaMa founder Ellen Stewart as part of the Off Off-Broadway company's 2011-2012 season, which will also feature works by Ping Chong and John Jesurun.

Ellen Stewart
Ellen Stewart Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Stewart, who died in January at the age of 91, was succeeded by her protégé and co-artistic director, Mia Yoo. The season will celebrate the legacy of the late La MaMa founder and welcome back a host of artists with ties to the downtown theatre.

Several celebrations are planned to commemorate Stewart's life, including an Oct. 16 "World Block Party," offering tours of LaMaMa and performances by artists including Blue Man Group. The evening will culminate in a city proclamation naming East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Ave. as "Ellen Stewart Way."

On Oct. 17, LaMaMa will throw a gala including performances and readings by Jackie Curtis, Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, Wally Shawn, Taylor Mac and musician Patti Smith.

Swados (Runaways, Kaasper Hauser) will create a new oratorio using Stewart's spoken and written words for its text. The untitled piece will be presented Nov. 7, on what would have been Stewart's 92nd birthday.

LaMaMa will also host the 10th anniversary year of the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival, running Oct. 20-30. Here's a look at the 2011-2012 season:

Angels of Swedenborg (Oct. 27-Nov. 13). A revival of director/choreographer Ping Chong's 1985 work directed for Great Jones Repertory. It is billed as a "multi-media dance theatre meditation on the fate of modern man, caught between his material existence and spiritual aspirations."

Golem (Nov. 17-Dec. 4). "The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre will present a radical interdisciplinary re-staging of Golem with marionettes and live puppets." Vit Jorejs authored the script, which has a score by Frank London of the Klezmatics. Naomi Goldberg will direct.

Medea (Dec. 15-23). Dario D'Ambrosi will direct and adapt this world premiere for the Pathological Theatre. The work will feature a cast of professional actors and children from the Drama Academy for disabled children. D'Ambrosi's Medea "focuses on the relationship between language and the human body."

Lifeline (Dec. 1-18). Raina vonWaldenburg's solo show, directed by Victoria Libertore and inspired by the Grotowski technique, "is part musical, part storytelling and part cooking show, and depicts the story of Handel von Wonderburger, an elderly androgynous burlesque performer and narcoleptic organic goat farmer."

Stopped Bridge of Dreams (Jan. 19-Feb. 5, 2012). John Jesurun's world premiere is inspired by 17th-century Japanese writer Saikaku Ihara. The piece "takes place in a modern version of the pleasure quarter of a 'tea house,' a 'floating world' that is an anonymous airplane that circles the globe. With its central story concerning a mother and son who operate the teahouse, Stopped Bridge will also involve 30 'satellite' plays that reveal the lives of the clients."

I Kissed My Mother (Feb. 16-March 4, 2012). Karin Conrood's world-premiere play, set in Romania, "tells the story of Bernadette, a teenage girl who was abandoned after birth by her mother, a Gypsy woman. She grows up in a series of orphanages and forms a relationship with Clip, who dies trying to save her. The work is based on the true story of a Romanian orphan, one of thousands who resulted from the reproductive policies of the Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu."

Also planned to take part in the season and special events are Meredith Monk, Tony Award winner Scott Wittman, Tan Dun, Theodora Skipitares, Karen Finley, The Gate Theatre, Jomama Jones, Everette Quinton and Mink Stole.

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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