La MaMa Blogs

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Remembering Michael K. Williams

We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of actor Michael K. Williams on September 6, 2021 at age 54. He performed at La MaMa early in his career, as well as the National Black Theatre Company and the Theater for a New Generation. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Photo by Demetrius Freeman

In this podcast episode, Marc Maron revisits a conversation with Michael K. Williams from earlier in 2021 where he says the following about La MaMa:

I was blessed to be introduced to the off-Broadway theatre world of New York City. My first play that I did was at a theatre on the Lower East Side called La MaMa Experimental Theatre under Ellen Stewart.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

La MaMa's 60th Season In The News!


La MaMa's 60th Season

At La MaMa, a New Season During a 'Revolutionary Time'

Penny Couchie (left) and Animikiikwe Couchie-Waukey (right) photo by Donn Svennivick in Misdomeaner Dream by Spiderwoman Theater

La MaMa 2021–2022 Season to Include The Drag Seed, The Beautiful Lady, More


The Off-Broadway company will reopen its original home
after  a three-year renovation.

From left to right: Carson (Kalli Grace Bottrall) is comforted by their mother, Connie (Ed Jones) in Hell in a Handbag's The Drag Seed. Rick Aguilar Photography

La MaMa Announces 2021–2022 Season


Baba Israel in Cannabis! A Viper VaudevillePhoto by Paula Court

The 60th Season Kicks Off With

The 2021 La MaMa Puppet Series

La MaMa's biannual festival of new contemporary puppet theatre by American and International Artists curated by Denise Greber. Premieres by the Loco 7 Dance Theatre Company, Tom Lee, Lady Xok, Kevin Augustine, Shoshana Bass, Charlotte Lily Gaspard, and Tarish "Jeghetto" Pipkins are featured in the festival, being performed live, in-person at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart and Downstairs Theatres.



Single Tickets + Puppet Packages



A compilation of work by Haruna Lee, Chuck Mee, Adrienne Kennedy, Robert Patrick, Eric Ehn, Huntrezz Janos, and Christopher Rivas-presented by CultureHub and La MaMa (Oct 27 – Oct 30)

the La MaMa debut of Stephen Petronio Dance Company (Nov 18 – 28)

John Sims' multi-media project  which explores the complexity of identity, cultural appropriation, and visual terrorism through Confederate iconography and African-American culture (Dec 2 – 5)

the premiere of James E. Reynolds' HISTORY/OURSTORY: THE TRAIL TO TULSA, marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre (Dec 9 – 12)

A digital collaboration across distance between Seoul and New York FEATURING THREE AXES LIVE.

By Timothy White Eagle - November 11 – 21 at the Downstairs Theatre. An immersive, part-improvisational, part-ritualistic new work by the well-known Seattle-based Indigenous artist. THE INDIGO ROOM asks us to consider life anew after the isolation of the pandemic.

January 6 – 16 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. A co-presentation by La MaMa, HERE, and Prototype, this theatrical concert explores the history of cannabis in music, dance, and spoken word. Composed by Grace Galu, libretto and co-direction by Baba Israel, dramaturgy and co-direction by Talvin Wilks.

By Martha Clarke - January 20 – February 10 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. The iconoclastic creator of the form-changing dance theatre works THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS and VIENNA: LUSTHAUS returns with her first new full-length work in a decade. Written by Ms. Clarke and poet Fanny Howe, GOD'S FOOL is an interpretation of the ancient story of St. Francis of Assisi and his singular life as a man of privilege who chose community over self and lived among the poor, lepers, and others disenfranchised by society. With a cast featuring John Kelly, George de la Pena, Adesola Osakalumi, and Patrick Andrews.

By Paul Lazar - February 13 – 27 at the Downstairs Theatre. Paul Lazar speaks a series of one-minute stories by John Cage from his 1963 score INDETERMINACY, while simultaneously performing a complex choreographic score by Annie-B Parson. The stories are spoken in random order with no predetermined relationship to the dancing, yet chance serves up its inevitable and uncanny connection between text and movement.

A new work by Spiderwoman Theater, directed by Muriel Miguel. March 3 – 20 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre

By Object Collection - Jan 27 – Feb 6 at the Downstairs Theatre. Based on the legendary French director Eric Rohmer's 1980s film cycle COMEDIES ET PROVERBES about love and desire. Directed by Kara Feely and text composed by Travis Just.

By Theodora Skipitares - February 14 – March 6 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Renowned puppet creator Skipitares—known for her large-scale puppet likenesses of human figures—examines Frederick Douglass and his passion for 19th-century art forms, including the early practices of photography. Featuring a cast of professional performers and students from a public high school in Brooklyn.

By Talking Band - March 10 – 27 at the Downstairs Theatre. Written by Ellen Maddow and directed by Paul Zimet, this new work is a comedic celebration of older women-and those who will one day become older women. The cast includes Michael Lynch Ellen Maddow, Lizzie Olesker, Tina Shepard, Louise Smith, and Jack Wetherall.

A new large-scale work by Kosovo's Qendra Multimedia and La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company - March 31 – April 10 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. With a new English translation and an American cast, Aeschylus's Greek epic gets an update with an American context about the fragility of democracy in the post-Trump presidency.

By David Cerda, performed by HELL IN A HANDBAG under the direction of Cheryl Snodgrass - March 31 – April 10 in the Downstairs Theatre. An 11-year-old is determined to become the next drag superstar, and with the help of their mother, young Carson enters the competition at The Josephine Baker Rainbow Academy for Gifted Students. This NY Premiere follows the play's acclaimed debut in Chicago.

La MaMa's annual contemporary dance festival curated by Nicky Paraiso, April 11 – May 1 in all La MaMa venues.

By Elizabeth Swados, directed by Anne Bogart - May 12 – June 5 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Originally announced for the 2019 spring season, which was Covid-cancelled, this new production of Swados' 1980s composition has a libretto by Paul Schmidt. The late composer has adapted the words of the Futurist Russian poets from the times of the 1917 Russian revolution into a complex musical score that depicts the events that changed the world. Ms. Swados' longtime collaborator Kris Kukul (BEETLEJUICE) is musical director.

All staff, artists and audiences must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to be at La MaMa and to attend performances. Masks are required to be worn by audience members at all times.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Artistic Directors’ International Online Meetings

 Artistic Directors’ International Online Meetings



Artistic Directors’ International Online Meetings


Broadcast from Nov 24th Dec 6th 2020, for free 

Available in both Japanese and English

TMT website:


Session1 (English (Japanese



As the host panelist from Japan, Hideki Noda of Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre joins the talk.

Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre(TMT) organize “Artistic Directors International Online Meeting” as a special edition of TMT Autumn Selection of Tokyo Festival. Tokyo Festival have decided to hold the festival this year, in the belief that an international performing arts festival is needed to prevent Tokyo from closing its diverse circuits. Therefore, as a part of the festival, TMT specially invite world leading artists and directors with whom TMT planned to work together this year or with whom TMT have a strong bond, to get together online and hold hot discussion. Hideki Noda, the artistic director of TMT will join as the host panelist. Such a gorgeous gathering which would not have been realized if it is nor for this occasion, will extend the exciting talk. 2 sessions of online discussion will be held with ZOOM, and the recording will be streamed for about two weeks.

SESSION 1:   Theatre artists about our times

The world’s leading directors discuss how the theatre of our times will survive this situation. Throughout history, theatre has experienced similarly difficult moments: plague, shutdowns, lockdowns. In the times of Shakespeare, for example. Can such disasters redefine it or not?

Guest Panelists

Didier Deschamps (Théâtre National de Chaillot)

Thomas Ostermeier (Schaubühne)

Ivo Van Hove (Internationaal Theater Amsterdam)

Host Panelist

Hideki Noda (Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre)


Octavian Saiu (theatre critic)

SESSION2: The present and the future of Art Festivals

The modern festival culture started after WWII, in a ruined world, when festivals became platforms of joy. What can we learn from this crisis and how could art festivals fulfill this mission again now? What is the role of international art festivals now?

Guest Panelist

Constantin Chiriac(Sibiu International Festival)

Yi-Ruu Liu(National Theater and Concert Hall, Taipei)

Host Panelist

Hideki Noda(Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre)


Octavian Saiu(theatre critic)

Video messages from:

Mark Ball(Manchester International Festival),

Tisa Ho(Hong Kong Arts Festival),

Damien Jalet(choreographer),

Robert Lepage(director, playwright, actor. Ex Machina),

Silviu Purcarete(director),

Mia Yoo(Artistic Director, La MaMa)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Interview with Split Britches (Lois Weaver & Peggy Shaw)

La MaMa: How would you describe Split Britches’ work?

Lois Weaver: It’s personal. It’s queer. It’s autobiographical, but it’s not autobiography that looks at our lives; it’s a way to use our lives to look at other things that are going on in the world. We look at things from our own personal points of view and combine those things, combine issues with personal experience to create primarily a text-based but also imagistic kind of performance that’s rooted in popular culture, humor, and queer and feminist aesthetics.

La MaMa: Have the current conditions of the world influenced your creative practice? If so, how?

Peggy Shaw: We’re very lucky because our work has always been based in what we’re going through, and it’s never been separate from our theatrical life. Our personal life and performance life have always informed each other. I went to London to rehearse Last Gasp for La MaMa in the spring for our opening of the show, and of course, I got there, and the pandemic really hit. And then the second show we had after La MaMa, which was Barbican, also got postponed, so I had nowhere to live. These wonderful people we know in London talked to their neighbor, and they gave them a key and said we just bought a house but we can’t do anything with it right now – it’s empty. It’s a Victorian house with a backyard. So we stayed in it for five months, and because we had the energy to make a show, we made a movie of the show with everything we had.

What did we have? We had two computers; we had a video camera which we didn’t use. We used Zoom. We made a Zoom Last Gasp, and it’s almost finished. Today’s the first time we’ve seen the whole thing all together as a total, complete work, and La MaMa’s going to present it in November. We think that because we are lucky and we didn’t know anybody who had COVID, and we’ve gone through things in our lives like the AIDS crisis, and starvation, and no money, we know how to survive. So we just survived, and actually did really well and have been very excited.

Lois Weaver: Peggy said something quite important, which underlines what I said. We make work from our lives. We use our work to help us understand what it is we’re going through. We always used our performance almost as a methodology for figuring out life. The other important thing she said is that we work with what we’ve got. We’ve always just worked with what we’ve got, so what we had was the necessity to stay home. How it has changed our work and or lives is that we’ve had to, in a sense, stay home in ways that we haven’t before. We’re usually all over the place, and we make our work all over the place. But there is a certain sense of what it means to stay, to be home, that’s changed, and we’ve been working with that. And that is an essential part of the residency. We’ve been working on something called Sheltered in Place. What does it mean to be sheltered, and what does it mean to be in one place, and what comes out of that? Those are the questions we’re asking.

La MaMa: Tell us about Care Café. What made you start it and how has it evolved since then?

Lois Weaver: I started it right after Donald Trump was elected president. Peggy and I had been going downtown and texting for Hillary [Clinton], and we had enjoyed the camaraderie of being in one place with people we didn’t necessarily know but having nice conversations and doing something. After he was elected, it felt like we needed to have a wake, or we needed to have an opportunity like a wake where people come together and acknowledge the circumstance of loss in this case. I also wanted to reclaim that feeling of being in a place with people I didn't necessarily know, having good conversations, and doing something. So, I used that structure to create this thing called the Care Café to give us a chance to come together and start to heal. I used that experience as what I call a protocol. It feels like a café. It looks like a room setup like a café. People walk in and sit down with people you probably don’t know and start to have very informal conversations while you are making something, or painting something, or cutting and pasting something, or writing postcards – all under a roof of care. There’s no agenda, and there’s no discussion led by anyone in particular. It’s just a way to be together. The activity that we do, and there’s different activities each time, is just a way to take our mind off things so we can have proper conversations.

Peggy Shaw: I always think of a story when Lois’ mother finally had a couple of her kids raised, and she was going to go out to work and she was so excited. She put on her shoes and jacket and left the house, and she found out she was pregnant with Lois. She just went back into the house, took off her coat, put on the coffee, and started over. It’s just that – not even trying to control anything, but it’s just, ok, how are we going to survive this? It’s survival without anxiety in a way.

The worst part of the pandemic seems to be a lot of people grinding their teeth and not sleeping. It’s true, of course, especially when you have no money to pay your rent, but there is something about just saying: Well that didn’t work. Let’s make a new life. Let’s go back to what we think of as the old America, not what Donald Trump thinks of it, but people planning new wonderful things that don’t manipulate a system but just make a new system.

La MaMa: Tell us about your residency with La MaMa this season.

Lois Weaver: We’re always in residence at La MaMa. Even when we’re not there, we are somehow at home in La MaMa. We know that it’s always our home ,and we’re always considered as family, and we’re always connected. Even now in doing these digital residencies, and a little bit later we will be in physical residency, it doesn’t matter. We are always there. We are always at home there. That feels like a really important backdrop for the work we’re trying to do now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

La MaMa Launches Patreon Memberships

La MaMa is launching Patreon Memberships to view this season's Online Happenings on-demand as well as special events and selections from the La MaMa Archive.

All of La MaMa's Online Happenings will remain free 
when broadcast live this season.

Join for as little as $2 per month!

Become a Patron!