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Talking Band's THE ROOM SINGS to Tell Intertwining Stories at La MaMa This Spring

A room in a country house sings of those who have lived there over a span of seventy years. Performed with striking theatricality by the OBIE-award winning Talking Band, The Room Sings, uses an array of genres to tell the stories of four interlocking sets of people. As their individual stories unfold they intertwine and illuminate each other.

Each timeline has its own theatrical style. The present makes use of Chekhovian farce and tragedy. In the 1980's, Sicilian puppet opera infuses the behavior of the characters Sal, Al, and Loretta, and their scenes culminate in a puppet opera sung by beavers (puppets by Ralph Lee). In the 1960s, Mr. Ma and Oskar's story unfolds in the style of a Chinese folk ghost story; while in the 1940's an old brother and sister are in a noir film. The Room is also a character who sings of the seasons, and the people and animals who have lived in the house and left their mark.

Visually inspired by the work of photographer Barbara Probst, who sets up multiple cameras to capture a single moment from different but simultaneous points of view, The Room Sings offers multiple, fractured views of a place and the people who inhabit it.

As the play unfolds, each group of characters comes into the foreground as another recedes. The scenes move on rolling platforms, so the audience sees them not only from different distances but from different angles as well. Soon the audience realizes that they are seeing the characters not only from different points of view, but also at different moments in time.

Running time is 90 minutes.

The Room Sings features Will Badgett ("The Sheild" and "24"), James Himelsbach (OBIE award for the Foundry's Talk), Luka Kain, Ellen Maddow, Theresa McCarthy (Titanic on Broadway), Abigail Ramsey, Joe Roseto ("Salome" directed by Al Pacino), Tina Shepard (Founding member of Talking Band and OBIE award for The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol, Andrew Weems (Inherit the Wind and Born Yesterday on Broadway), Jack Wetherall (Elephant Man on Broadway, "Queer as Folk"), and Henry Yuk ("The Sopranos"). The Room Sings is written and directed by Paul Zimet with music by Ellen Maddow, set design by Nic Ularu, lighting design by Lenore Doxsee, costume design by Kiki Smith, puppet design by Ralph Lee, video design by Baxter Engle, and stage management by Lisa McGinn.

Performance Schedule:
Fri Mar 31 at 7pm *preview
Sat Apr 1 at 2pm *matinee
Sat Apr 1 at 7pm *preview
Sun Apr 2 at 4pm *opening
Mon Apr 3 at 7pm
Wed Apr 5 at 7pm *special benefit performance
Thurs Apr 6 at 7pm
Fri Apr 7 at 7pm
Sat Apr 8 at 7pm
Sun Apr 9 at 4pm *matinee
Wed Apr 12 at 7pm
Thurs Apr 13 at 7pm
Fri Apr 14 at 7pm
Sat Apr 15 at 2pm *matinee
Sat Apr 15 at 7pm
Sun April 16 at 4pm *matinee

The Room Sings is performed at La Mama's Ellen Stewart Theater, which is located at 66 E. 4th Street (b/w Bowery and 2nd Ave). More information at and

Tickets: $25 general; $20 for students and seniors; ten tickets are available for $10 each (advance sales only) as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative. For tickets go to: or 212-352-3101.


Paul Zimet (writer / director)

Paul Zimet is the Artistic Director of the Talking Band. Born and raised in New York City, he studied clarinet and voice at the High School of Music and Art, comparative literature at Columbia College, and medicine at Harvard Medical School. Music-theater works he has written and directed include The Golden Toad, (episodes 2 and 4) Marcellus Shale, New Islands Archipelago, Radnevsky's Real Magic, Imminence, Belize, The Parrot, Star Messengers, Bitterroot, Party Time, Black Milk Quartet and New Cities. He also wrote Shadow Passports and Bone Room, and episodes 2 and 8 of the Talking Band's serial mystery drama The Necklace. Zimet has directed over thirty productions for the Talking Band, and received a 2003 Village Voice OBIE award for his direction of Painted Snake in a Painted Chair by Ellen Maddow. In 2011, he directed Taylor Mac's The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, which Charles Isherwood of The New York Times named one of the year's top 10 productions. In 2010, Zimet directed The Deity, the first section of Taylor Mac's OBIE award winning epic The Lily's Revenge. He also received three OBIE awards for his work with the Open Theater and the Winter Project, both directed by Joseph Chaikin. Zimet has received the John C. Lippmann "New Frontier" Award and the Frederick Loewe Award in Musical Theater, a Playwrights' Center National McKnight Fellowship, playwriting fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, a New Dramatists/Children's Theatre Playground commission, a Rockefeller/Creative Capital MAP Fund grant, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a 2008 NewYorkTheatre.Com People of the Year award. In addition to performing with Talking Band (most recently in The Peripherals and Panic! Euphoria! Blackout, both by Ellen Maddow), Zimet has performed with Mallory Catlett's Restless NYC, Otrabanda Company, The Stratford Festival of Canada, and the New York Shakespeare Festival. Zimet has taught for many years at colleges and universities, including Princeton, Williams, NYU, and Fordham. He is Associate Professor Emeritus in Theatre at Smith College, and an alumnus of New Dramatists.

Ellen Maddow (music)

Ellen Maddow has been working in the theatre in New York as a writer, composer, and performer for the last forty years. Born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of a screenwriter and a modern dancer, she attended Hollywood High School and received a B.A. in theatre from Antioch College in Ohio. She was a member of the Open Theatre from 1971-1973, performing in Terminal, Mutation Show, and Nightwalk. Ellen is a founding member of the Talking Band and has performed in most of its works. Works she has written for the company include Burnished by Grief, Fat Skirt Big Nozzle (with Louise Smith) The Golden Toad (episodes 1 and 3), The Peripherals (studio album available on itunes), Panic! Euphoria!Blackout, Flip Side (published in Plays and Playwrights 2010), Delicious Rivers, Painted Snake in a Painted Chair (for which she received an Obie award), The Necklace (episodes 3 and 7), Tilt, Brown Dog is Dead, Fern and Rose, and five pieces about the avant-garde housewife, Betty Suffer: Bedroom Suite, Betty and the Blenders, Betty Blends the Blues, Dopplebetty, and Betty Suffer's Theory of Relativity. In addition to writing music for a number of the works mentioned above, she wrote the scores for the Talking Band's production of Marcellus Shale, Hot Lunch Apostles, Taylor Mac's - Walk Across America for Mother Earth (published by Playscripts.), New Islands Archipelago, Radnevsky's Real Magic, Imminence (with Peter Gordon), Belize, The Parrot, Black Milk, The Plumber's Helper, New Cities, Star Messengers. She also composed the music for 1969 Terminal 1996 (directed by Joseph Chaikin), Jubilee and Home/Wire Walking for Risa Jarislow and Dancers. She wrote Persephone for Mettawee River Theatre Company. Ellen was a performer in Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge. She wrote music for Liz Duffy Adam's - Buccaneers commissioned and performed by the Children's Theatre of Minneapolis, and John Fleming's Superhuman Happiness commissioned and performed by Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse. Ellen is the recipient of an OBIE Award, a McKnight Playwriting Fellowship, the Frederick Loewe Award in Musical Theatre, a NYFA Playwriting Fellowship. She was a participant in the NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, and received a New York People of the Year Award. She is an alumnus of New Dramatists, and a mediator for the New York Peace Institute, working in both the Civil and Criminal Courts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.


Talking Band has been making innovative and influential theater works in New York for 42 years. Collectively, the founders have earned 11 OBIE awards and numerous other honors. Whether through collaboration or simply via the lasting impact of their paradigmatic artistry, Talking Band-with its commitment to radical collaboration, and to the fusion of diverse theatrical styles and perspectives-has influenced generations of artists, both experimental and mainstream, even in art forms beyond theater. Past and present collaborators include Julie Taymor, Anne Bogart, David Greenspan, Taylor Mac, Loudon Wainwright, Lisa D'Amour, Eisa Davis, Anne Kaufmann, Ken Rus Schmoll, Julie Atlas Muz, Machine Dazzle, Peter Gordon, Blue "Gene" Tyranny and Jack Ferver. Nearly 50 of its original productions have toured the United States and the world. Notable productions include The Golden Toad, Marcellus Shale, The Walk Across America For Mother Earth, Bitterroot, Radnevsky's Real Magic, Painted Snake in a Painted Chair, Black Milk Quartet and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol.


La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. The organization has a worldwide reputation for producing daring performance works that defy form and transcend barriers of ethnic and cultural identity. Founded in 1961 by award-winning theatre pioneer Ellen Stewart, La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists from more than 70 nations. A recipient of more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has helped launch the careers of countless artists, many of whom have made important contributions to American and international arts milieus.

La MaMa's 55th season celebrates the creative and collective histories of La MaMa's local and global communities Since its beginning, La MaMa has forged creative partnerships with artists based in different parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. In recent years, these long-term relationships have taken on new life through distance collaborations over the Internet. The 55th season embraces new pathways forged in performance and technology to connect the myriad experiences, politics, conflicts, aesthetics, intimacies and dreams of people and communities participating in an increasingly globalized world.

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