La MaMa Blogs: 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

6 Questions: Seonjae Kim

Seonjae Kim's Riot Antigone comes to The Club at La MaMa from February 10 - 19, 2017. The show is a new take on Sophocles' tragedy, told from the perspective of a Chorus Leader and her all-female punk band, reminiscent of the 90s' Riot Grrrl movement iconized by bands like Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney and Bratmobile.   Seonjae took a break from preparing for the show to answer our 6 Questions.

1. What was the original inspiration behind creating Riot Antigone?
I was one of many international students from South Korea at my boarding high school in Concord, MA. At first, I didn't really fit in with the Korean kids or the American kids. So I found solace in losing myself for hours in front of my computer, developing obsessions with magnificent things outside my little world. I felt a strong, strange connection with the American Riot Grrrl movement of the 90s, even though I didn't grow up in that time, or that place. I would listen to Bikini Kill, Hole, Sleater-Kinney for hours alone in my dorm room, dreaming of screaming out loud
A couple of years later, in college, I encountered Sophocles' Antigone in my theater classes. I explored it as an actor, then a director, and even as a playwright. In playwriting class, I was writing things that bore resemblance to the classic play's structure. I started imagining the play with the rebellious songs that my younger self loved as the soundtrack. I am primarily a director. So initially, I thought I would direct Antigone with some Riot Grrrl inspired sound design, or maybe make it a jukebox musical. I knew there wasn't really a pre-existing adaptation I liked, so I started typing on a blank page. Soon I realized that what I felt inside my heart needed its own melodies, its own words
I've been working on the piece for a while, and it's gone through numerous drafts and changes in collaborators and collaborative dynamics. One thing that's been true is that it's felt more and more me - Jae - as I've been working on it. It was hard to embrace that at first, because it sometimes felt self-indulgent. But Riot Grrrl is about empowering each and every girl to find her own voice. I'm so proud of this iteration of Antigone, and so so grateful to everyone for devoting their time and talent to make it finally come true. 

2. How is music important to the piece?

Riot Antigone is told from the perspective of a charismatic Riot Grrrl rock singer who conjures the event with the help of her band of Riot Grrrls. In a traditional Greek tragedy, a Chorus of male elders comment on the action as it happens. In this piece, they are replaced by Riot Grrrls who sing songs about Antigone's turbulent internal life. They are the music Antigone hears in her head but doesn't have the words for yet. The music is a soundtrack of girlhood, of coming of age, of articulating questions and confusions, of letting your feelings explode into something beautiful and real, so that someone out there somewhere might say, "I feel that, too." 

3. In what ways is the Sophocles play important today?

Oh man. Our political climate is so appropriate - unfortunately so - for Greek tragedies right now. I think sometimes the secular, individualistic culture we live in can feel like it's all about what you want, what you can get - and not quite about what is right. We are driven by instant gratification instead of our internal moral compass. Greek tragedies are about people trying to do the right thing, and disagreeing, and failing, and learning. What would our world look like if we all lived a bit more like them - constantly examining the chilling moral impacts of our actions?
4. Who inspires you?
I am inspired by my parents, who built everything out of nothing so they could give me the world. By Patti Smith and David Bowie, who blazed trails for weirdos everywhere. By Hillary Clinton, whose tenacity, grace and commitment has fueled me, even after the heartbreak of November 8th, to make this play the best it can be. What she said in her extraordinary concession speech - "never forget that doing what is right is always worth it" - has sharpened my understanding of this piece. And of course, I am inspired by all the Riot Grrrls. 

5. What was the last good book you read

I loved Citizen by Claudia Rankine and The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson. I'm also currently reading Perpetually Cool, a biography of Anna May Wong, the first Asian American movie star totally excluded from our cultural memory of old Hollywood. 

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

I've wanted to work at La MaMa since I was eighteen years old and first learned about it. A legendary theatre in New York hosting artists from my home, South Korea, and all over the world, with "experimental" in its name? Sign me up. I believe La MaMa is one of the rare places left in New York City that takes true risks on new artists. I get frustrated at how the term "emerging artist" has become so muddled. You need a body of work to be recognized as an "emerging artist", but you can't build a robust body of work if no one is willing to take a chance on you. For artists who are hustling and making their own opportunities, but who still need an artistic home where they can be weird, messy and raw, La MaMa rises to the occasion. All it takes is one magical "Yes!" Mia Yoo and La MaMa have the courage to be the ones to say, "Yes!" I am honored to make my glorious mess here.
La MaMa presents 

A Hannah Greene and J. Mehr Kaur Production 
Created & Directed by Seonjae Kim 
Book, Lyrics & Direction by Seonjae Kim 
Music by Seonjae Kim, Erato A. Kremmyda, Mori Einsidler, Jane Cardona, Jess Marlor  February 10 - February 19, 2017 The Club @ La MaMa 74A East 4th Street New York, NY 10003 $20 Adults/$15 Students/Seniors - ten tickets are available for every performance for only $10 each (advance sales only) while they last

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter 2017 @ La MaMa

Winter is HOT at La MaMa!  Shows include:

La MaMa Squirts 2017: Generations of Queer Performance
COIL 2017: Real Magic, Meeting & Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster
Pavel Zuštiak and Palissimo Company's Bastard (The Painted Bird: Part 1) and Custodians of Beauty
AdA: Author Directing Author written & directed by Neil LaBute, Marco Calvani and Marta Buchaca
Culturehub's Hi-Fi | Wi-Fi | Sci-Fi by Robert Patrick
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot directed by Estelle Parsons
Benghazi – Bergen-Belsen
Talking Band's The Room Sings

Browse our digital brochure here.

Tickets now on sale, including La MaMa 10 @ $10 Tickets for all shows!

January is Hot 3 and 6-show packages available for selected shows in January!

Monday, December 5, 2016

The cast of Clover answer, "how does Clover help in understanding the history of violence in America?"

A killer walks in a circle, finds a killer, circles the killed. Experimental writer Erik Ehn’s latest play about the violent and universal cycle of life follows the tragedy of Emmett Till and his mother that helped spur the Civil Rights Movement as well as three other stories, illustrating America’s history of violence towards those most vulnerable.

"How does Clover help in understanding the history of violence in America?"

We asked several actors from the ensemble of Clover to reflect upon the importance of these themes for audiences today. 

December 01 - December 16, 2016
Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30PM; Sunday at 2PMFirst Floor Theatre | 74a East 4th Street
$18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors
Tickets available online:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

George Drance on Calderon's Two Dreams

George Drance SJ on a new play at La MaMa, in conversation with Fordham University's Loyola Scholar Michael Zampelli, SJ

The first presentation of the Sheen Center's new public forum, "The True, the Good, and the Beautiful" examining questions of faith in thought and culture.

Moderator George Drance, SJ in conversation with Fordham University's Loyola Scholar Michael Zampelli, SJ and the critically acclaimed Magis Theatre company present a look into the spiritual journey of Pedro Calderon de la Barca, one of Spain's greatest theatre artists of the Baroque era as they prepare to present their new production Calderon's Two Dreams at the legendary La MaMa Theatre in February 2017.

Rev. Michael Zampelli, SJ is the Paul L. Locatelli, SJ University Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Santa Clara University where he has been on the faculty since 1998. For the 2016-2017 academic year, he has the honor of holding the St. Ignatius Loyola Chair in the Theatre Program at Fordham University.

Father Zampelli teaches courses in performance studies, gender and sexuality in performance, theatre history and dramatic literature. He has written on the early modern Italian theatre, religious criticism of the theatre, the dynamics of Jesuit performance, and the spiritual functions of theatre. His current research focuses on the retrieval of Jesuit performance traditions in 19th and early 20th century America.

He received the PhD in Drama from Tufts University in 1998.


The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture presents

The True, 
the Good, 
and the Beautiful

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 7pm

Free Event

Sheen Center - Black Box
18 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012

For Info and Reservations: CLICK HERE

Monday, November 28, 2016

Video 6 Questions: Erik Ehn

6 Questions: Erik Ehn, playwright of CLOVER from La MaMa on Vimeo.

We spoke with playwright Erik Ehn, who's play CLOVER comes to The First Floor Theatre at La MaMa December 01 - December 16, 2016. CLOVER is about the violent and universal cycle of life follows the tragedy of Emmett Till and his mother that helped spur the Civil Rights Movement as well as three other stories, illustrating America’s history of violence towards those most vulnerable. 

La MaMa presents

Erik Ehn's 


A Planet Connections Production 
Written by Erik Ehn 
Directed by Glory Kadigan

December 1 - 16, 2016

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

Tickets: $18 Adults/$13 Students and Seniors; La MaMa's 10@$10 tickets available for all performances, in advance only

For Tickets & Info: CLICK HERE

Thursday, November 17, 2016

First Look at PIANO TALES

All photos by Theo Cote for La MaMa


La MaMa presents


Written, Performed, & Composed by James Harrison Monaco and Jerome Ellis 
Directed by Andrew Scoville 

November 18-20, 2016
Friday and Saturday at 10pm; Sunday at 6pm

The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

6 Questions: Nic Ularu

OBIE award winner Nic Ularu (UniArt Theatre Co.) returns to La MaMa with his new work, Fusions which explores the effect of technology on society.  Nic took too time out from preparing for the show to answer our 6 Questions. Don't miss Fusions, coming to The Club at La MaMa from  November 25 - December 4, 2016, only!

1. What was the original inspiration behind creating FUSIONS?

In my last plays, I tried to analyze the artist's condition and to respond to some questions such as: what makes us try to express ourselves artistically in such money oriented society, based on consumption and globalization? During the process, I realized that first of all I should observe the public to whom we are addressing our theater art nowadays, and it was obvious that the technology and social media drastically the contemporary society.

2. What should audiences expect from the show?

The show is like a magnifying mirror that reveals how the human existence can be turned into grotesque by the influence of the TV reality shows, social media, video games, internet sex and the dependence on the computer.

3. The show investigates "the impact of the technology on the nowadays' society" what is the biggest way technology has impacted you personally?

A few years ago, when my laptop crashed, and I lost a lot of documents and files, I discovered my dependence on my computer. I realized that my life was dangerously linked to this strange object. It was like all my thoughts, all my memories, everything I did in the last few years were encapsulated in this device, and it seemed that this data was immensely important for me. Out of the blue, I felt some ridiculous desperation and emptiness. It was the moment in which I decided to stay as far as I can from this tool and to don't transform it into a meaning of life. I decided to observe the people around me, to communicate more, to see with my own eyes the things I like in the nature or visiting other countries, not through the video camera, iPhone or any other recording devices. I still spend a lot of time in the front of the computer, but I always feel guilty about it.

4. Who inspires you?

The people around me… For this particular show, some young guys who spend more time looking on the small screen of their cellphones texting, playing, emailing, etc. than interacting directly with each other. People who are more interested in the celebrities' lives and style of living then in their existences. The addiction to Facebook, Tweeter, Pokémon Go and all the social media, that consume too much time from our short and precious lives alienate us.

5. What was the last work of art (performance/film/books) that made an impact on you?

There are many works of art that are impacted me over the years. I think the most difficult thing for any artist is to tell a story in the simplest way. I saw recently Louis Malle's Vanya on 42ndStreet, and, as always, I was amazed by the power of acting and transmitting a message without the scenic effects, costumes and theater artifice.

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

Since I came in this country, my artistic life revolved around La MaMa.  I had the privilege to know Ellen Stewart, who offered me the opportunity to make my debut as a playwright and theater director in New York. I designed sets for ten shows at La MaMa, and I directed three of my plays (FUSIONS is the 4th collaboration between my company UniArt Theatre Co. and La MaMa ETC). In 2003, I was awarded an OBIE for the production of TalkingBand's Painted Snake in a Painted Chair, that was produced at La MaMa.  Recently, I dedicated a significant chapter of my Ph.D. thesis on Off-Off Broadway theater, to the personality of Ellen Stewart and the importance of La MaMa in the contemporary American and international theater.


La MaMa presents
a new play written and directed by Nic Ularu (UniArt Theatre Co.)

Featuring: Paul Kaufmann, Drew Richardson, Carin Bendas, Chad Henderson 
Set Design: Nic Ularu
Costume Design: Max Archimedes Levitt
Lighting Design: Jim Hunter
Video and Sound Design: Baxter Engle

November 25 - December 4, 2016
Friday & Saturday at 10pm; Sunday at 6pm

The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 each are available for every performance (advance sales only) as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative.

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Join the board and members of the staff of La MaMa on an outing on Broadway to Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Cherry Orchard staring Diane Lane.We invite you to attend the performance and a special post-show meet and greet with Diane Lane, who began here career at La MaMa at the age of seven.

The story of Lyubov Ranevskaya (Academy Award® nominee Diane Lane) and her family’s return to their fabled orchard to forestall its foreclosure, The Cherry Orchard captures a people—and a world—in transition, and presents us with a picture of humanity in all its glorious folly. First produced in Moscow in 1904, The Cherry Orchard still stands as one of the great plays of the modern era. By turns tragic and funny, Roundabout’s new adaptation, by Stephen Karam (The Humans), promises to breathe fresh life into this towering tale.

The cast also includes: Tavi Gevinson, John Glover, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Harold Perrineau, Joel Grey, Tina Benko, Kyle Beltran, Chuck Cooper, Susannah Flood, Maurice Jones, Quinn Mattfeld, Aaron Clifton Moten, Peter Bradbury, Philip Kerr, Lise Bruneau, Jacqueline Jarrold, Ian Lassiter and Carl Hendrick Louis

Purchase includes an orchestra ticket and the opportunity to meet the Academy Award nominated star.

Friday, November 18, 2016 - 7pm

The American Airlines Theatre
27 West 42nd Street
New York, NY, 10036 

Tickets: $100 

For tickets and info: CLICK HERE

Sunday, November 13, 2016

6 Questions: Jerome Ellis

Photo by  Bailey Carr

Jerome Ellis is the "Jerome" in James and Jerome and he took time out from getting ready for the show Piano Tales to answer our 6 Questions.  Piano Tales comes to The Club @ La MaMa this week, November 18 - 20 for 3 performances only!
1. What should we expect from Piano Tales?

(Dear reader: James answered all of these questions so eloquently, so I recommend you read his answers alongside mine!)

In Piano Tales James and I tell tales solely by speaking and playing piano. The words and music bear the tales along in equal measure. But whereas in past shows the audience receives an experience akin to classical music—meticulous and composed—Piano Tales is a more improvisatory spectacle. We have twelve possible tales to tell; the audience will choose which three we tell each night and in what order, and then we’ll tell those three in a totally new way. With this show I like to think of James and I as two cooks who end up at a party one night and whip up a meal with whatever ingredients are on hand.

2. How do you describe the style of your performance?

The scope, spaciousness, and density of a George Eliot novel (e.g. The Mill on The Floss; if you ever have the opportunity, I recommend asking James to talk to you about it); the speed, surprise, and moment-to-moment sensitivity of live Charlie Parker (e.g. “Salt Peanuts” at Massey Hall); the leitmotifs, arc, and humor of a Rossini opera (e.g. L’Italiana in Algeri); the intimacy and room for contemplation of kora/zheng duo 42 Strings (e.g. “Indian Ocean”).

3. How did you and James meet?

We grew up ten minutes apart in Virginia Beach and have been going to school together since we were ten. I remember watching him act in high school productions and admiring him from afar. We always had mutual friends, but it wasn’t until we were both in New York for college that we started eating Apple Jacks together at 3 a.m. and calling each other brother.

4. Who inspires you?

As a stutterer I am inspired by Susan Howe: her works show me the beauty language can acquire when it is fractured, interrupted, looped, or erased.

My mind leans on the music and writings of Hildegard von Bingen. Her religious expression took many forms: inventing her own language (Aigonz = God, zizria = cinnamon), composing unorthodox hymns to the Virgin, or preaching across Europe. As someone else who seeks to hammer his devotion to the divine into different shapes, I turn to her often.

Simone Weil, who wrote with lightning in her pen, and who inspires me to live more ferociously.

The writer and publisher Roberto Calasso has been a compass for my spirit lately, via both the ongoing saga he’s writing (eight volumes and counting) and the publishing house he directs: Adelphi Edizioni. When James introduced me to Adelphi’s catalog last year he said, “Move on in!” Since then it’s indeed felt like my mind has moved into a palace, each book a room I’m excited to get to know.

The Psalms, especially in Miles Coverdale’s miraculous 16th century English translation. They water my heart when it grows arid, via the page or via the recordings put out by the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir in London, which is composed of both boys and men. My mother had me read the Psalms when I was little and I've been reading them ever since; maybe the sound of this choir moves me so much because they’ve accompanied me as both boy and man?

My little brother Kelvin and my friend Althea, both consummate artists and human beings of whose glory I always fall short.

Dr. Jeffrey Barrett, M.D.: my uncle and my godfather. He gave me my first book and took me on night drives into Manhattan from Canarsie when I wasn't even big enough to see over the dashboard, playing Mozart so loud the car rattled. He fulfilled perfectly the classic duty of the godparent: the cultivation of the godchild’s spirit.

My little family of colleagues at the Columbia Law Library Circulation Desk: Grace, Abed, Heath, and Marc. Their life stories, which I've been piecing together slowly over the years, are four of the most fascinating tales I've ever heard.

My friend Charlene, toward whom I feel nothing short of awe.

5. What 3 albums would you want with you on a desert island?

The Javanese Gamelan (World Music Library compilation). Vast, opulent music, like a palace for the ears.

Abida Parveen: Songs of the Mystics. This is a collection of Sufi devotional songs in Urdu, Punjabi, and Sindhi. Because I don't know these languages, I can more easily focus on the music’s bristling texture, woven from alto voice, tabla, and harmonium.

Gabriel Fauré: Requiem (King’s College Choir recording). For when I’m in the mood for something light!

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

It is such an honor. At the season launch party in September I felt welcomed into a big, wise, diverse extended family. My own extended family is relatively big (I have twenty-six cousins), so there was a familiar feeling of being bound to many different people by something strong, be it blood or shared values. And especially this season, their 55th, I’m extra aware of the depth of history and tradition into which James and I have been invited. Thank you La MaMa!

Also, I want to thank Andrew Scoville (our director) and Marika Kent (our production designer) for guiding us!


La MaMa presents


Written, Performed, & Composed by James Harrison Monaco and Jerome Ellis 
Directed by Andrew Scoville 

November 18-20, 2016
Friday and Saturday at 10pm; Sunday at 6pm

The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Friday, November 11, 2016

Video Preview: PIANO TALES

Piano Tales from La MaMa on Vimeo.


La MaMa presents


Written, Performed, & Composed by James Harrison Monaco and Jerome Ellis 
Directed by Andrew Scoville 

November 18-20, 2016 - THREE PERFORMANCES ONLY
Friday and Saturday at 10pm; Sunday at 6pm

The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Staged Reading of Benghazi Bergen -Belsen

Prior to the world premiere in March 2017, you can attend a one-night only staged reading of Benghazi Bergen -Belsen, Lahav Timor's adaptation of the novel of the same name by Israeli novelist Yossi Sucary, tracing the Jews of Libya through the Holocaust. 

Silvana Haggiag is a brilliant and beautiful young woman in her early twenties, dismissive of the patriarchal norms that govern her Jewish community in the Libyan city of Benghazi. When Silvana’s family is violently uprooted from its home and homeland, she is taken along with other Libyan Jews through the blazing Sahara Desert and war driven Italy to freezing Germany. Benghazi-Bergen-Belzen, the first novel about the Holocaust of Libyan Jews, brilliantly depicts the transformations and tribulations this intriguing community has undergone during the Second World War.

Yossi Sucary an author and a radical activist published the novel Benghazi Bergen -Belsen in 2013 based on his family experience and will be a guest of the Historical Jewish American Society this coming Monday.

Benghazi Bergen -Belsen
Staged Reading
Monday, November 14, 2016, 7:00 pm

$15 General, $7 Students/AJHS and ASF members/Seniors

Center for Jewish History
Forchheimer Auditorium
15 West 16th Street 
(Between 5th & 6th Aves.)
New York , New York 10011 

To purchase tickets: CLICK HERE

Monday, November 7, 2016

Israel Horowitz Returns to La MaMa

Nearly fifty years after the premiere of Line at La MaMa, playwright Israel Horowitz returns to La MaMa with the New York premiere of Man in Snow.

Back in 1967, when Line premiered, Horowitz was given a budget of $80 for his show and was told he could keep whatever he didn't spend on the production.  According to Jonathan Zeller at “The only piece of scenery in the show is a piece of adhesive tape on the floor,” he says. “I cleared a profit of about 78 dollars.”  

You can see the original program for the La MaMa production of Line at the La MaMa Arichives Digital Collection.

Man is Snow  tells the story of David, who is recently retired and mourning the loss of his young son, as re-visits Mt. McKinley in Alaska, a mountain he summited at age 25. He’s not climbing this visit. Instead, he is guiding a group of Japanese honeymooners who hope to conceive a child under the spell of the Northern Lights. This powerful, passionate drama was originally written by Israel Horovitz 20 years ago for BBC Radio 4 and is now being re-visited and totally re-conceived for the stage.

The cast includes Will Lyman, Ron Nakahara, Paul O'Brien, Sandra Shipley, Ashley Risteen and Francisco Solorzano. Mr. Horowitz also directs.

There will post show discussions with Israel Horowitz and the cast of Man in Show follwing the Sunday matinees on November 13th and November 20th.

La MaMa presents
NY Premiere of Gloucester Stage Company's Production of


Written & Directed by Israel Horovitz
Presented in association with Barefoot Theatre Company & Compagnia Horovitz-Paciotto 

November 11 - November 27, 2016 
Thursday to Saturday at 7:30PM; Sunday at 2PM 
- additional perf Monday, Nov. 14th at 7:30PM

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

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 each are available, in advance only, for every performance as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 tcketing initiative

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE