Making its New York City debut, This Beautiful Lady by Tony-nominated composer Elizabeth Swados (Runaways) will play at La MaMa this May. Previews will begin May 5 for the Off-Broadway run ahead of the May 8 press opening, with performances set through May 28 in the Ellen Stewart Theatre.
Set in the historic Stray Dog café in St. Petersburg, Russia, This Beautiful Lady explores "the power of art and the delicate nature of free speech." The café was a popular meeting spot for poets, writers, performers, and other artists between 1911 and 1915. There they pushed the boundaries of art and language as part of a revolution that would eventually turn on them.
Casting will be announced at a later date.
The musical looks into the threats which existed on free speech then, and continue to exist now, and features provocative writing of the time including poetry by Anna Akhmatova, Alexander Blok, and Marina Tsvetaeva. The text has been translated into English by Paul Schmidt.
Anne Bogart will direct the production which features a score by Swados who earned five Tony nominations for Runaways in 1978. This Beautiful Lady receives its debut New York City staging more than seven years after Swados' death.
Swados was an associate of La MaMa's founder Ellen Stewart. La MaMa's Artistic Director Mia Yoo said, “Throughout her career, Liz came back to La MaMa time and again to develop new work. Like Ellen Stewart, she spent her life influencing and empowering young minds through her work teaching. Both she and Anne Bogart are change-makers, revolutionary voices whose work has transformed how we think about theatre.”