The Transfiguration Of Benjamin Banneker

January 23 - February 02, 2020

Ellen Stewart Theatre | 66 East 4th Street (2nd Floor)

Thursday to Saturday at 7PM; Sunday at 3PM

$25 Tickets; $20 Student/Senior Tickets [+$1 Facility Fee]

Running Time: 65 minutes

View the Digital Program

World Premiere
Conceived, Designed and Directed by Theodora Skipitares

Music by LaFrae Sci

The Transfiguration of Benjamin Banneker is a multi-disciplinary spectacle with a marching band, dancers, 12-foot puppets, shadow puppetry and moving projection screens. The band is an award-winning group, the Soul Tigers, young men and women who attend Benjamin Banneker High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Also featured are the Banneker Dancers.
This event celebrates the life of Benjamin Banneker, a free black man living in Maryland from 1731 to 1806, who had a passion for the stars, taught himself mathematics and astronomy, and made important scientific discoveries. The play time-travels forward to the 1960's, and illuminates the life of Ed Dwight, the first black astronaut. Students from the high school contribute autobiographical material to the performance and will participate alongside professional performers.
Composer LaFrae Sci has received an Individual Artist's Commission from NYSCA for The Transfiguration of Benjamin Banneker.


Received support as part of The Jim Henson Foundation 2019 Presenter's Grant

Creative Team

Conceived, Designed and Directed by Theodora Skipitares
Music by LaFrae Sci
Choreography by Edisa Weeks

Puppetry Direction by Jane Catherine Shaw
Set Design by Donald Eastman and Theodora Skipitares
Lighting by Jeffrey Nash
Stage Manager Karen Oughtred

featuring the Soul Tigers Marching Band and the Banneker Dancers
with Reginald L. Barnes as Narrator, puppeteers Jane Catherine Shaw, Chris Ignacio, and Alexandria Smalls
and Tom Walker as Jefferson


"With abundant ingenuity that brings to mind the wonders of Alexander Calder's circus, Theodora Skipitares makes of the Trojan War, a central saga of Greek tragedy, a puppet spectacular."
- The New York Times

"Her work is an illuminating exploration into the laboratories of life."
- The New York Times

"Skipitares' works have a bitter humor and dreamlike brevity...she is a possessed and clairvoyant miniaturist."
- The Village Voice

About the Artists

Skysaver Productions, a resident company at La MaMa, is an award-winning interdisciplinary performance group based in New York. Under the direction of Theodora Skipitares, the company has created 30 performance works, each featuring documentary texts, original music, video, and as many as 300 puppet figures. Ms. Skipitares and her group have worked in India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Brazil and Iran.