Thursday, October 19, 2017

6 Questions: Beth Dodye Bass


Beth Dodye Bass is next up to answer our 6 Questions.  The 50th Anniversary production of Charles Ludlam's CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE OR WHEN QUEENS COLLIDE plays The Ellen Stewart Theatre from November 2 - 19, 2017.  Tickets now on sale and seating is limited.

1. Who do you play in CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE?
Natolia, Queen of Saturn

2. Why do you think the play is still important/relevant today?
Chartles Ludlam wrote this play during a tumultuous time in our history. We were embroiled in a war with Vietnam and we were fighting for civil and gay rights here at home. Seems to me this is happening all over again, making this particular piece extremely relevant.

3. What does Ridiculous Theatre mean to you?
The ridiculous is brilliant, hilarious, audacious and courageous theatre. Their work crossed all human barriers. The ridiculous not only appealed to gay audiences alone but to theatre goers of every race, creed and sexual persuasion. It raises a mirror to the social mores of society and the consciousness of the people who experience their work.

4. Do you have a “dream role” or a favorite role you've played?
LILY POSTIA in Everett Quinton’s adaptation of CARMEN

5. What is the last good book/play/film/art exhibit you’ve seen?
Book: Recently reread 1984 by George Orwell, even more terrifying now.
Play: Little Foxes, Cynthia Nixon played Regina
Film: I just saw Gaslight again Bergman rocks!
Art exhibit: The Alexander Calder exhibit at the Whitney Museum

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
To Me La MaMa means the premier avant garde off Broadway theatre in the country. Artists from all over the world have performed in this theatre. La MaMa was a driving force in the creation of the off and off off Broadway movement. A safe haven for original ideas, performances and artists. I have been fortunate to have played at La MaMa before and I am thrilled to be performing at this great house once again.

_____


La MaMa presents

CONQUEST 
OF THE 
UNIVERSE 
OR 
WHEN 
QUEENS 
COLLIDE

by Charles Ludlam
directed by Everett Quinton

November 2-19, 2017
Thursday - Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 4pm; special performance Monday November 6th at 8pm

Ellen Stewart Theatre 
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $30 Adults; $25 Students/Seniors: 10@$10 Tickets available

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Reviews are IN for Belarus Free Theatre's BURNING DOORS!




“bruising exploration of the dynamics of resistance — the kind that occurs in the intersection of art and politics...Galvanizing...The astonishment of “Burning Doors” — conceived and staged by the troupe founders and artistic directors (in exile), Nikolai Khalezin and Natalia Koliada — is its ability to translate political rage and impotence into an art of indirection that is often as complex as it is powerful.” 

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“Burning Doors is the most essential piece of political theater New York has seen in a long, long time.” 



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“a smart, smoldering, physically brutal piece of theater...The climax of Burning Doors is among the most brutal physical sequences I have ever seen onstage.” 




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“Burning Doors is intense and profoundly physical alternative theatre...a visceral and intellectual evening you will not forget.” 




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It is one of the most sensory experiences you'll ever have in a theater.” 
Yes Broadway   

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“absolutely thrilling….Be Brave. Go and see Belarus Free Theatre’s Burning Doors at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre.” 

StageBuddy    



La MaMa presents

BURNING DOORS

Devised and performed by Belarus Free Theatre
Directed by Nicolai Khalezin and Natalia Kaliada
With Maria Alyokhina from Pussy Riot

October 13 - 22, 2017
10 Performances Only!

Ellen Stewart Theatre 
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery & Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $30 Adults; $25 Students/Seniors

For Tickets & Info: CLICK HERE

Monday, October 16, 2017

6 Questions: Brian Belovitch



We continue our 6 Questions with the cast of Charles Ludlam's CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE OR WHEN QUEENS COLLIDE with Brian Belovitch.

CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE plays The Ellen Stewart Theatre from November 2 - 19, 2017.  Everett Quinton directs this 50th Anniversary production of this early Ludlam epic comedy.


1. Who do you play in CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE?
I play Alice, First Lady of the Earth.

2. Why do you think the play is still important/relevant today?
The Ridiculous theatre is important for many reasons not only for its obvious historical relevance but for it's incredible, creative and theatrical accomplishments. It has inspired generations of talented artists and was an often overlooked early pioneer in the pre-Stonewall gay rights movement. The vast collection of plays written by Charles Ludlam are infused with biting and often hysterical social commentary that is still relevant today. Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide is a perfect example of what is happening today politically in the world some 50 years later. Also, the bravery and brilliant artistic vision that began in the 60's when there were no gay rights when you could be arrested as a gay person speaks volumes about the intrepid spirit of the early founders. Charles acting in drag was a hugely political act that took incredible bravery to be who you were at a time when the world was in such cultural and political turmoil.

3. What does Ridiculous Theatre mean to you?
I was an 18-year-old gender non-conforming teen when I saw my first Ridiculous play, Camille. I also had an excruciating toothache and almost stayed home but my friend begged me to go. From the moment Charles made his entrance the laughter became the best painkiller I could have taken. I completely forgot about my toothache. Coming from a small city I hadn't been exposed to much theater but I knew early on I wanted to act. Little did I know when I walked into that little theatre that it would have such a profound effect on me. Not only were men playing women's roles as was Charles as Camille, but there was such an unapologetic free spirit from the actors that made me feel like I wasn't alone in my queerness. It gave me tremendous hope that there was a place for me in the theatre and I've always been grateful for that early inspiration.

4. Do you have a “dream role” or a favorite role you've played?
A dream role for me would be a musical version of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane starring me as Baby Jane Hudson! A girl can dream.

5. What is the last good book/play/film/art exhibit you’ve seen?
The last play I saw was Charm over at the Lucille Lortel theatre, it was based on a true to life story about a transgender woman who ran a charm school for LGBTQ kids on the fringes of Chicago. It was timely, extremely well written with a beautifully talented and diverse ensemble of LGBT actors. I also was at the reading at La MaMa legend and superstar Jackie Curtis's Guts, Glamor, and Gold which was a religious experience

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
I've appeared in several La MaMa productions over the years, my first was John Epperson's, (Lypsinka) Ballet of The Dolls. I also did Anthony Ingrassia's last play Sweet Dreams so for me it holds a very magical space in my heart. I'mover the moon to be returning to the stage at La MaMa after a long absence with the legendary Ridiculous Theatre and acting with and directed again by the divine Everett Quinton.


_____

La MaMa presents

CONQUEST 
OF THE 
UNIVERSE 
OR 
WHEN 
QUEENS 
COLLIDE

by Charles Ludlam
directed by Everett Quinton

November 2-19, 2017
Thursday - Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 4pm; special performance Monday November 6th at 8pm

Ellen Stewart Theatre 
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $30 Adults; $25 Students/Seniors: 10@$10 Tickets available

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

6 Questions: Grant Neale


This month we are playing 6 Questions with the cast of Charles Ludlam's CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE OR WHEN QUEENS COLLIDEConquest of the Universe is directed by Everett Quinton and runs from November 2 - 19, 2017 in the Ellen Stewart Theatre.  First up is Grant Neale:


1. Who do you play in CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE?

I play Tamberlaine (President of Earth), something I have always wanted to be :)

2) Why do you think the play is still important/relevant today?

This play is spot on to our current political circumstances. It is also refreshingly incorrect, impolite, subversive in a way that modern audiences don't get much of. It is above modern notions "good" and "correct" instead it is honest, and biting about certain aspects of human behavior, and oh yes, Funny. The people who get to see this are in for a treat!

3) What does Ridiculous Theatre mean to you?

Ridiculous has had and still has a huge impact on my personal and professional life! Since I first joined the Ridiculous in 1992 playing Lech Fabrinski in the late great Georg Osterman's BROTHER TRUCKERS my creative views have been expanding. Joining Ridiculous Theatrical Company gave me the opportunity to bend into the largeness of my acting while most styles were asking me to dial it down and become small as an actor. Embarrassing the size of the style while remaining emotionally truthful and present in the moment is a wonderful challenge and feels so good to share with an audience! My experience with RTC has also permanently changed views on casting. At the Ridiculous casting "type" has more to do with the inside of the actor than with their outward appearance. The Ridiculous has also been quite expansive for me socially. Being a member of the company helped me be more open in my heart and mind about sexual and gender identity.

4) Do you have a “dream role” or a favorite role you've played? 

I have been lucky to play many "dream roles" including the Nicodemus/Lady Enid track in Charles Ludlam's THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP, Romamn Polanski in Saviana Stanescu's POLANSKI POLANSKI, and Fool in my brother Randy Neale's wonderful two hander THE FOOL'S LEAR. I am very much looking forward to playing Mr. Smee (of "Peter Pan" fame in the short film 'TSMEE!

5) What is the last good book/play/film/art exhibit you’ve seen?

I really love John Robert Tillotson's solo show Resdiual Effects (of course I am completely bios as I directed the piece. The Irving Penn exhibit at the Met Museum was so inspiring! And I loved reading "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr!

6) What does working at La MaMa mean to you?

I've had the pleasure of working at La MaMa several times over the years as an actor, director, and producer. What I have found is that unlike some theatrical institutions that seem to ask "What is your show going to do for us?" "How is your show going to be the sexiest thing to hit the theatrical world in recent memory?" La MaMa seems to ask "What can we do to help you bring your show to life?"

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La MaMa presents

CONQUEST 
OF THE 
UNIVERSE 
OR 
WHEN 
QUEENS 
COLLIDE

by Charles Ludlam
directed by Everett Quinton

November 2-19, 2017
Thursday - Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 4pm; special performance Monday November 6th at 8pm

Ellen Stewart Theatre 
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $30 Adults; $25 Students/Seniors: 10@$10 Tickets available

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Monday, October 2, 2017

6 Questions: Karole Armitage



The world premiere of Karole Armitage's HALLOWEEN UNLEASHED: Dancing Bones, Tasting Darkness and the Skeleton Within comes to The First Floor Theatre on October 27, 2017 for just 8 performances!   Karole took time out from rehearsals for the show to answer our 6 Questions about her inspirations for the show, its musical influences and the film A Ghost Story.  You can read Karole's answers below - and get tickets for HALLOWEEN UNLEASED - appropriate for ages 10 and up!

1. What was the original inspiration for creating HALLOWEEN UNLEASHED: Dancing Bones, Tasting Darkness and the Skeleton Within?

I discovered Walt Disney’s marvelous 1929 animation, The Skeleton Dance, with its extraordinary bond between image and music. The skeletons dance to the great composer Carl Stalling’s delightful score, mixing Grieg and foxtrots. It had such joy and creativity forged in severe discipline and finds a perfect balance of popular culture with the poetic traditions of intellectual, provocative art. It is a little herky-jerky masterpiece. 

I had an intuition that mixing Disney’s Skeleton Dance with the home made surrealism of the Haitian carnival would capture something special - not only the topsy -turvey reversals of power that dancing skeletons and the street theater of Haiti embody, but something about the magical thinking prevalent in American culture today. Halloween Unleashed is a weird, surreal comedy and it reflects the surreal world we find ourselves in with Trump as President. It was born as a protest – seeing art is a haven where one can create a world with the values of a complex, nuanced mind. It acknowledges that we are in surreal times and have to laugh in order to persevere. 

2. What are some of the musical inspirations for the piece?
The music is spunky and driven by wit. New York no wave bands like DNA and Theoretical Girls, Wyclef Jean in his early Haitian inspired dream music followed by hard core David Lang at his most uncompromising. Terry Dame provided new music for several scenes and there are even appearances by Rossini and Fats Waller. Most of the music is joyful and all of it is great.

3. What should audiences expect from HALLOWEEN UNLEASHED?
Fun and something quite unlike anything they have ever seen before. I would call it screwball surrealism. The dancers are a marvel – full of imagination on top of their phenomenal technique. We begin each day with a ballet class taught by one of our several former New York City Ballet teachers and then work for 6 hours daily on the creative process. We use ballet as a liberating force to do whatever it is we want to do with our bodies. Ballet is a great technology for freedom when you use it outside of its conventions. My dancers are fluent in modern dance techniques and street forms ranging from salsa to twerking to kendo. We seek to make it new.

4. What was the last good book you read? (or film/play/art exhibit you saw?)
Gosh so many! But I will cite a film since appropriate to Halloween Unleashed: A Ghost Story. A Ghost Story is a wonderful independent film that won a prize at Telluride. It is surreal and poetic, showing a guy walking around with a sheet over his head that gets deep into the mysteries of love and memory.

5. Who inspires you?
I am mad about Ovid and Lucretius, architecture from Mali, and a lot of pre-Christian art from Italy, Africa and Asia. I find ancient sources in art and literature to be wildly radical in their understanding of what it is to be human.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
La MaMa represents liberated thinking and artistic daring. It is a haven in the slick world of branding and celebrity, which has infected so much art and culture.


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La MaMa presents

HALLOWEEN UNLEASHED: 
Dancing Bones, Tasting Darkness 
and the Skeleton Within 

by Armitage Gone! Dance, New York City
Choreographed by Karole Armitage
Original Commissioned Music by Terry Dame
Music by DNA, Theoretical Girls, Wyclef Jean, Marilyn Manson, David Lang, Fats Waller

October 27 - 29, 2017
Friday: 7pm and 10pm; Saturday: 2pm and 7pm; Sunday: 2pm and 4pm

Tickets: $20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors/Kids

The First Floor Theatre 
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

For Tickets & Info: CLICK HERE

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ellen Stewart Presents: Fifty Year of La MaMa Experimental Theatre



Theater scholar Cindy Rosenthal relates the history of La MaMa through its performance posters, capturing the irreverence and the aesthetic of La MaMa over five decades. Richly illustrated, including posters and photographs of early productions and other rarely-seen photos, and featuring interviews with a wide range of now-famous La MaMa alums, Ellen Stewart Presents is a book for theater aficionados and anyone interested in the history of Off-Off-Broadway, the cultural history of New York City, or visual culture from the ‘60s to the present. 

La MaMa has several events planned around the release of Ellen Stewart Presents including a poster exhibit, a panel discussion and exhibit and archive tours. For more info: http://lamama.org/poster_history/ 

Friends of La MaMa get a 30% discount by using code UMLAMAMA30 when ordering! 

To order go to: https://www.press.umich.edu/1487979/ellen_stewart_presents or call 1-800-621-2736

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Video Preview: Fall 2017 @ La MaMa

 
  La MaMa 56 | Fall Season from La MaMa on Vimeo.

Sample the Fall Season at La MaMa and guarantee $10 tickets for all shows with a La MaMa ETC Membership starting at $56!

Learn more about La MaMa Memberships: Click Here

 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

6 Questions: Ping Chong


La MaMa resident artist, Ping Chong, brings his newest show ALAXSXA|ALASKA to The Downstairs at La MaMa after its world premiere in Anchorage. Ping answered our 6 Questions about the show, what inspires him and what working at La MaMa means to him.  You can read his answers here - and don;t forget to get tickets to the show which runs from October 12 - 29, 2017.

1. What was the original inspiration for ALAXSXA|ALASKA?

I had been toying with the idea of making a series of chamber works about the states that comprise the United States because their histories are quite different, fascinating and little known. Did you know, for instance, that the Oregon Constitution included the words “No Negro, Chinaman or Mulatto shall have right of suffrage”? In essence White Supremacy was written into Oregon’s founding documents.

I considered starting the States series with a piece about Hawaii but then fate and Theatre Communications Group conspired to introduce me to Ryan Conarro, my collaborator and guide on ALAXSXA|ALASKA. Ryan moved to Alaska over 15 years ago and has lived and worked in several communities there as an artist, journalist, and educator. His experiences led me to begin research on the colonial history of Alaska. Through Ryan, I met our collaborator Gary Upay'aq Beaver. Gary is a Yup’ik dancer and drummer and lives in Kasigluk, an Alaska Native community of six hundred accessible only by plane, boat or, in winter, by snowmobile. He and Ryan worked together in the past as teaching artists. Finally, we invited puppeteer Justin Perkins to join our research and creation process. The show interweaves three contrasting perspectives – that of Alaska Natives, that of people who have come from the “Lower 48,” and a selective historical/ecological narrative. The intersection of these narratives creates a portrait of the state: its past, present and future.

2. How is this show different than your previous work?

In one sense, it is not different at all. Thematically and formally, A|A is very much in the style I have worked in for the last forty years. The theme is “Otherness” and “the clash of cultures.” Formally, these themes are expressed through performance, dance, puppetry and media. What is unique about A|A is the degree to which my collaborators and I have used interviews and personal testimony as sources for text and media elements. Much of the material we dramatize comes from the lived experiences of Gary and Ryan and the scores of people we met in Alaska researching the show. You will hear some of their testimonies in the media elements of the show. In fact, we had so much vivid material that Ryan built a website, EncountersAlaska.org, to feature the stories of the Alaskans we met, and to be a platform for continuing the conversations in the play even while we're performing it.

3. What have you learned from making ALAXSXA|ALASKA?

I had never been to Alaska until I worked on this project, so needless to say, between the extraordinary experience of Alaska itself and the research I embarked on, a whole new world has opened up to me. Meeting Gary and Ryan has really enriched my experience of this new world. At the same time, the story of Western colonialism and its reach continues to echo and refract among its indigenous population and in my mind in fresh ways. And I had akutaq--"Eskimo ice cream"--and roast moose for the first time!

4. How did you find out you were receiving the National Medal of Arts?

It was in the summer. I was lying on a beach baking with my friend Muna Tseng when the call came through that I had received the award. It was surreal and wonderful. So was receiving the medal from President Obama at the White House.

5. Who inspires you?

It isn’t really who inspires me, rather so much as what. I am inspired by hidden histories that need to be revealed to counter the lies of official narrative. I am inspired by a need to recognize and articulate the injustices perpetuated by the powerful and greedy against those who are not. I am inspired by the peculiarities of human behavior and culture and to look at it from all sides. As an artist, I like to puncture certainties of cultural assumption and hold them up to the light.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?

I have worked at La MaMa since 1978 and made over 25 shows here. La MaMa has always been a home to rebels and outsiders. It is place that understands the importance of difference, of diversity, a place that gives a platform to unheard voices from here and abroad. Ellen Stewart gave me my first opportunities when the rest of the American Theater couldn’t be bothered. She made a home for me and her unconquerable spirit lives on at La MaMa to this day, thank God. I miss “MaMa” who was always there for me and inspires me to this day.​





La MaMa in association 
with Ping Chong + Company 
presents

ALAXSXA|ALASKA

Directed by Ping Chong & Ryan Conarro 
Created by Ping Chong, Ryan Conarro, Justin Perkins & Gary Upay'aq Beaver (Central Yup'ik)

October 12 - 29, 2017

The Downstairs @ La MaMa
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Monday, September 25, 2017

First Look: Charles Ludlam's CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE












All photos by Theo Cote

Everett Quinton directs the 50th Anniversary production of Charles Ludlam's CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE OR WHEN QUEENS COLLIDE at La MaMa.  CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE plays November 2 - 19, 2017 at The Ellen Stewart Theatre.

La MaMa presents

CONQUEST 
OF THE 
UNIVERSE 
OR 
WHEN 
QUEENS 
COLLIDE

by Charles Ludlam
directed by Everett Quinton

November 2-19, 2017
Thursday - Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 4pm; special performance Monday November 6th at 8pm

Ellen Stewart Theatre 
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $30 Adults; $25 Students/Seniors: 10@$10 Tickets available

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE



Friday, September 22, 2017

NY Times Fall Preview


Thanks to The New York Times for featuring La MaMa in their Fall Preview issue!  Come see Charles Ludlam's CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE OR WHEN QUEENS COLLIDE directed by Everett Quinton, the New York premiere of BURNING DOORS by Belarus Free Theatre, The world premiere of PANORAMA PT. 1 by Motus Theatre and The Great Jones Repertory Company and so much more this season at La MaMa.

And you can get $10 tickets to ALL shows at La MaMa with an ETC Membership.  CLICK HERE to learn more.


Thursday, August 31, 2017




LU! LU! LU! LU! 
An Evening Celebrating Spiderwoman Theater’s 40 Years 

Celebrate 40 years of a beloved stalwart of New York’s downtown scene. A gala theatrical evening of tributes by stellar admirers internationally honors Spiderwoman Theater's contributions to Native, feminist, and avant-garde theatre. Samples of the collective’s unforgettable “storyweaving” will manifest the magical spell that can be summoned, with everything climaxing in a rousing dance party by First Nations electronic group - A Tribe Called Red.

Tuesday, September 19th

Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets starting at $20!

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE