CANNABIS! A VIPER VAUDEVILLE to be Presented by HERE and La MaMa

Performances will take place at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre on July 14, 2022, and open July 20 for a limited run through July 31, 2022.

By: May. 19, 2022
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CANNABIS! A VIPER VAUDEVILLE to be Presented by HERE and La MaMa

The Obie Award-winning HERE will present the HERE Artist Residency Program production of Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville. Co-presented with La MaMa, Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville features compositions & music direction by Grace Galu, concept, libretto & co-direction by Baba Israel, dramaturgy & co-direction by Talvin Wilks, and environmental design & associate direction by Nic Benacerraf. Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville will begin performances at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003) on July 14, 2022, and open July 20 for a limited run through July 31, 2022.

Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville is a theatrical concert exploring the history of cannabis using music, dance, and spoken word grounded in the Hip Hop tradition of the remix and mashup. Inspired by Martin A. Lee's book Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana, CANNABIS! A VIPER VAUDEVILLE weaves the music of icons such as Bob Marley with the stories of grassroots activists Dennis Perron and Brownie Mary with personal narratives. From Congo Square to the speakeasies of the jazz age, from the revolutionary happenings of the '60s to the AIDS activism of the San Francisco buyers club, our time traveling tale invokes a tradition of rebel spaces -- sites of music, healing, and resistance.

"Premiering this show on the heels of legalization in New York State is serendipitous," says Baba Israel. "Our nation has a long history of using the criminalization of this drug against communities of color, playing into America's worst tendencies around race and civil disobedience. Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville examines this history, by which a formerly sacred and medicinal herb was transformed into a corruptive agent of the jazz age, of beatniks and hippies, and of activists and rebels."

Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville was originally planned to open its run during HERE and BMP's PROTOTYPE Festival on January 7, 2022. Due to COVID, the 2022 Festival and all performances of Cannabis! were postponed.

The cast of Cannabis! will include Grace Galu as Sativa Diva, Baba Israel as Magical Mystical MC, Jonathan "Duv" Zaragoza as Hipster Trickster and dancer Twice Light. Choreographer-Performers include Tatiana Barber, Courtney Cook, Chanon Judson, and Samantha Spies.

Cannabis! will feature sound design by Asa Wember, costume design by Kate Fry, projection design by David Bengali, light artistry by Tuce Yasak, and transcription by Robert Knowles. The Production Stage Manager is Alex B. West.

The Cannabis! band will feature keys by Robert Knowles, saxophone / flute and arrangements by Sean Nowell, drums by Juan Carlos Polo and bass guitar by Osei Kweku.

The performance schedule for Cannabis! is as follows: Tuesday-Saturday at 8:30pm, Saturday & Sunday at 4pm.


La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa's historic 60th Season is committed to Radical Access, a comprehensive access that includes physical and economic accessibility, opportunity, representation, and relevance. La MaMa celebrates its 60th season with the reopening of its first permanent home at 74A East 4th Street after extensive renovation ensuring new generations of artists a space to create work and change how we think about and experience art, and ultimately transform our cultural narrative. La MaMa's vision of nurturing new artists and new work remains as strong today as it was when Ellen Stewart first opened the doors in 1961 and has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists of all nations, cultures, races and identities.

A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, and more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Ping Chong, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Warren Leight, Michael Mayer, Tadeusz Kantor, Bette Midler, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.


The Obie Award-winning HERE (Kristin Marting, Founding Artistic Director) was named a Top Ten Off-Off Broadway Theatre by Time Out New York and is a leader in the field of producing and presenting new, hybrid performances viewed as a seamless integration of artistic disciplines - theatre, dance, music and opera, puppetry, media, visual and installation, spoken word and performance art.

HERE's standout productions include Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge and The Hang, Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers, Young Jean Lee's Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, James Scruggs' Disposable Men, Corey Dargel's Removable Parts, Robin Frohardt's The Pigeoning, and Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique.

Since its founding in 1993, HERE and the artists it has supported have received 18 Obies, 2 Bessies, 3 Drama League nominations, 5 Drama Desk nominations, 2 Pulitzer Prizes, 4 Doris Duke Awards, 7 Tony nominations, and 2 MacArthur Fellowships.

Tickets to Cannabis! begin at $35 and are available at


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