Ellen Stewart, RIP
Ellen Stewart was the founder of the La Mama Experimental Theater Club
, and the champion of the Off-Off Broadway movement in NYC. At 91 she was still running the theater she founded in 1961, and working as the producer for over 70 shows per year.
From the article:
"Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Olympia Dukakis, Richard Dreyfuss, Bette Midler, Diane Lane and Nick Nolte were among the actors who performed at La MaMa in its first two decades. Playwrights like Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, Harvey Fierstein, Maria Irene Fornes and Adrienne Rich developed early work there. So did composers like Elizabeth Swados, Philip Glass and Stephen Schwartz.
La MaMa directors included the visionary Robert Wilson; Tom O’Horgan (who helped create the rock musical “Hair” at the Public); Richard Foreman, who founded the imaginative Ontological Theater Company; Joseph Chaikin, who founded the Open Theater; and even Papp, before there was such a thing as the Public Theater. Meredith Monk, the composer, choreographer and director, presented her genre-bending pieces there regularly. "
And that's just the beginning of the list of her accomplishments, from organizing tours and introducing Andrei Serban
, Jerzy Grotowski
, to America, to giving the Blue Man Group
an early home.
Ms. Stewart was a tireless promoter of new groundbreaking work and was known for her generosity in helping performers by giving them a place to stay in her apartment above the theater or cooking them a warm meal.
Other obit links.
Wall Street Journal