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Julie Taymor Set for Monday Nights at La MaMa Series, 6/4

La MaMa's popular series MONDAY NIGHTS AT LA MAMA -- featuring La MaMa artists in discussions about their careers and their work at La MaMa -- will conclude on Monday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. with the Tony-winning and Academy Award-nominated director Julie Taymor at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4 St.)

The discussion with Ms. Taymor will be moderated by Diane Wondisford, Producing Director of Music-Theatre Group. The evening will include video clips from Ms. Taymor's productions through the years, as well as a discussion of her illustrious career and her work with La MaMa, where her large-scale, Balinese-inspired work TIRAI -- which starred Bill Irwin and featured Indonesian musicians and employed shadow puppets -- was presented in 1980.

With its MONDAY NIGHTS AT LA MAMA series -- one of the highlights of the theater's 50th anniversary season, "Homecoming" -- La MaMa welcomes home alumni who have been instrumental in shaping the legacy of La MaMa. On select Mondays throughout the year, La MaMa has hosted performances and intimate conversations by some of art's greatest innovators, whose commitment and dedication are helping ensure that La MaMa remains an artistic home for future artists as it has been for them. Previous Monday Night events featured Elizabeth Swados, Meredith Monk, F. Murray Abraham and Andrei Serban.

In 1998, Julie Taymor became the first woman to win the Tony® Award for Best Direction of a Musical, and also won a Tony® for Best Costumes, for her landmark production of THE LION KING. The musical has won three Molière Awards including Best Musical and Best Costumes, garnered Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards for Taymor’s direction, and myriad awards for her original costume, mask and puppet designs. For her latest Broadway production, SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, Taymor served as director and co-book writer. Taymor made her Broadway debut in 1996 with JUAN DARIEN: A CARNIVAL MASS, nominated for five Tony® Awards. Other theatre work includes THE GREEN BIRD, TITUS ANDRONICUS, THE TEMPEST, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, THE TRANSPOSED HEADS and LIBERTY'S TAKEN. Taymor’s feature film directorial debut, TITUS, starred Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange and Alan Cumming. In 2002, her biographical film FRIDA starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina, earned six Academy Award® nominations, winning two. She took on the music of the Beatles, and earned a Golden Globe® nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Julie’s most recent film THE TEMPEST had its North American premiere at the 48th New York Film Festival in October 2010, following a world premiere at the 67th Venice International Film Festival. Taymor’s adaptation of the William Shakespeare play features an all-star cast including Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Djimon Hounsou and Alfred Molina. Beyond the theatre and screen, Taymor has directed five operas internationally including OEDIPUS REX with Jessye Norman, for which she earned the International Classical Music Award for Best Opera Production. A subsequent film version premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won her an Emmy® award. Taymor also directed SALOME, THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, DIE ZAUBERFLOTE (which has been in repertory at The Met for six years), THE MAGIC FLUTE (the abridgEd English version of DIE ZAUBERFLOTE which inaugurated a new PBS series entitled “Great Performances at The Met”) and Elliot Goldenthal’s GRENDEL. Taymor is a 1991 recipient of the MacArthur “genius” Fellowship.

As Producing Director of Music-Theatre Group, Diane Wondisford, oversees the making of music-theatre from scratch; ranging from quiet work with composers, writers, directors and designers in the conceptual phase of their creations to the controlled chaos of the performing company’s first attempts to physicalize the words and music, to sitting amidst the audience at previews and performances and providing timely feedback to the creators. Currently running in Philadelphia (June 8 – 17) at Kimmel Center is Music-Theatre Group’s co-commission and co-production with Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia of Nico Muhly and Stephen Karam’s DARK SISTERS. Prior to her current role, Diane, in a twenty year partnership with the Group’s founder, Lyn Austin, produced the legendary JUAN DARIEN by Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal; MARCO POLO by Tan Dun and Paul Griffiths, RUNNING MAN by Diedre Murray and Cornelius Eady, directed by Diane Paulus, EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES by Eve Ensler, and GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS by Martha Clarke and Richard Peaslee, among other seminal works. She also led MTG in worldwide touring to 14 cities with the works originated at MTG by Martha Clarke and Richard Peaslee, Richard Foreman and Stanley Silverman, and Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal.

Tickets to MONDAY NIGHTS AT LA MAMA are $25 and can be purchased by calling 212 475 7710 or online at

La MaMa is an arts institution with a world-wide reputation for producing cutting-edge work in theater, dance, performance art, and music. Founded in 1961 by theater pioneer and legend, Ellen Stewart, La MaMa has produced and presented more than 3,000 theatrical productions to date and is a vital part of the fabric of cultural life in New York City and around the world.

La MaMa provides a supportive home for artists and takes risks on unknown work. Artists such as Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Harvey Fierstein, Blue Man Group, David and Amy Sedaris, -and others whose names you haven't heard of yet - began their careers at La MaMa. International Artists introduced to America by La MaMa include Tadeusz Kantor, Andrei Serban, Kazuo Ohno and, more recently, the acclaimed Belarus Free Theatre.La MaMa has been honored with more than 30 OBIE Awards, dozens of Drama Desk and Bessie Awards, and, in 2006, Ellen Stewart was recognized with a special TONY Award for "Excellence in the Theatre."

Photo credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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