LA MAMA CANTATA TOURS MACEDONIA AND TURKEY IN FALL 2014 Sept 19, 2014: MOT International Theatre Festival PLATEAU Outdoor Stage in Skopje, Macedonia Sept 22, 2014: Bahcesehir University Conference Center in Istanbul, Turkey
“…Fearless and provocative theater” -NY Times “…The best musical in town!” -Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com
Elizabeth Swados’ musical depiction of the life and times of Ellen Stewart embodies the passion, spirit and vision of La MaMa’s founder and theatrical legend. Ellen Stewart founded La MaMa in 1961 and was known by the artists she nurtured and the entire La MaMa family as “Mama.” Ellen once said, “La MaMa is a lot of people. Many persons say, well, how does it keep going? But I know at this moment in every corner of the Earth there are people whose energies and heartbeats-- some part of which is directed towards La MaMa-- and with that kind of thing holding us up, honey, we don’t sink.”
La MaMa Cantata, composed and directed by Tony Award® nominee Elizabeth Swados, uses Ellen’s own words and experiences to tell the story of her long, miraculous journey of life and La MaMa’s 50 year history. A tribute in song, La MaMa Cantata embodies Ellen’s indefatigable spirit and her belief in the power of art to transform lives.
The La MaMa Cantata both remembers and commemorates Stewart and the origins of her groundbreaking organization, La MaMa ¬- the home of the off-off Broadway movement. La MaMa Cantata captures the tenor of those seminal times in the 50s and 60s when Ellen first arrived in New York and it seemed wildly improbable that a woman of color could provide a much-needed creative home for artists like Sam Shepard, Tom O’Horgan, Lanford Wilson, Leonard Melfi, Paul Foster, Tom Eyen, Jean Claude van Itallie, Maria Irene Fornes and Harvey Fierstein, Tadeusz Kantor, Peter Brook, Andrei Serban, Kazuo Ohno among many, many others.
La MaMa Cantata is conducted by musical director Kris Kukul and performed by a large chorus with multiple performers taking on the role of Ellen, each one bringing out a different aspect of Ellen’s personality: her joy, her passion, her saucy humor, her strength of purpose in rising above racial discrimination, economic struggle, and political strife to create a world theater that continues to be a beacon to artists from all over the globe.
Director and Composer: Elizabeth Swados / Musical Direction and Arrangements: Kris Kukul/ Production Manager: Kaori Fujiyabu/Musician: Eric Read/ Videographer: Theo Cote/ Performers: Rachael Duddy, Roe Hartrampf, Tom Hennes, Starr Busby, Preston Martin, Alicia Olatuja, Molly Hager and Hannah Whitney
La MaMa Cantata 2014 World Tour has been generously supported by Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and Ford Foundation.