Article Pixel

La MaMa announces that Coffeehouse Chronicles will celebrate Ellen Stewart's 100th birthday the way MaMa loved it with music, dance, and puppets. The celebration will feature recorded personal memories from artists all over the world. The Great Jones Repertory Company will remount scenes from Ellen's shows including Mythos Oedipus, Antigone, Hercules, and Asclepius. Rod Rodgers Dance Company will perform scenes from The Cotton Club with Keith David and a live band. Puppeteers Jane Catherine Shaw, Vit Horejs, and Tom Lee will perform original scenes based on the Pushcart story. Coffeehouse Chronicles #155: Ellen Stewart will take place on November 2, 2019 from 3:00-5:00pm at the Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 East 4th Street).

Coffeehouse Chronicles #155: Ellen Stewart will be livestreamed by CultureHub on HowlRoundTV, the global, commons-based peer produced network on Saturday November 2nd 2019 at 3:00pm EST.

Ellen Stewart was a dress designer when she started La MaMa in a basement apartment in 1961, a woman entirely without theater experience or even much interest in the theater. But within a few years, and with an indomitable personality, she had become a theater pioneer. Not only did she introduce unusual new work to the stage, she also helped colonize a new territory for the theater, planting a flag in the name of low-budget experimental productions in the East Village of Manhattan and creating the capital of what became known as Off-Off-Broadway. She was a vivid figure, often described as beautiful - an African-American woman whose long hair, frequently worn in cornrows, turned silver in her later years. Her wardrobe was flamboyant, replete with bangles, bracelets and scarves. Her voice was deep, carrying an accent reminiscent of her Louisiana roots. Few producers could match her energy, perseverance and fortitude. In the decades after World War II her influence on American theater was comparable to that of Joseph Papp, founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival, though the two approached the stage from different wings. Papp straddled the commercial and noncommercial worlds, while Ms. Stewart's terrain was international and decidedly noncommercial. Her theater became a remarkable springboard for an impressive roster of promising playwrights, directors and actors who went on to accomplished careers both in mainstream entertainment and in push-the-envelope theater.

Coffeehouse Chronicles is an educational performance series exploring the history of Off-Off Broadway. Part artist-portrait, part history lesson, and part community forum, Coffeehouse Chronicles take an intimate look at the development of downtown theatre, from the 1960s' "Coffeehouse Theatres" through today. Events feature firsthand oral accounts from artists of the day, as well as conversations with contemporary artists who work in the same bold, daring manner today. Since 2005, La MaMa has presented more than 150 Coffeehouse Chronicles, building on our mission to provide a home for personal engagement with art. Coffeehouse Chronicles are held on one Saturday each month (September through June).

This program is curated by Series Director Michal Gamily, with archival material provided by La MaMa Archives. Educational outreach is provided by Arthur Adair.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the city council.

Tickets are $10 for Adults, $5 for Students/Seniors, and free for La MaMa members.

For tickets and more info please visit

Related Articles View More Off-Broadway Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You