Thursday, January 13, 2011
There are reports now that La Mama founder Ellen Stewart has passed away. She was 91.
Stewart founded La Mama in a Lower East Side basement back in 1961 ... and guided the theater to its current mini-empire on East Fourth Street. "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 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and creating the capital of what became known as Off Off Broadway," according to her obituary in the Times today.
As Michael Feingold wrote on Runnin' Scared, Stewart opened every La MaMa performance the way same: By "ringing a cowbell and declaring, 'Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to La MaMa, dedicated to the playwright and to all aspects of the theater.'"
Wrote Blue Glass upon hearing the news: "There will never be another like her."
[Photo via La Mama]