I don’t like experimental theater.

But I loved Ellen Stewart.

The theater industry lost a major maverick last week when Ellen Stewart, the founder of the historically edgy La Mama theater passed away way too soon . . . at 91.

While I have never been a fan of theater that is so on the edge it sometimes falls off, that doesn’t mean I don’t thank the great Director in the Sky that there were people like Ellen who embraced it, found a place for it, and nurtured it for so many years.

“Experimental” by definition means it doesn’t work a lot of the time . . . but Ellen constantly reminded us that just because it doesn’t work, doesn’t mean we should stop experimenting.

And she worked her tail off to make sure that artists had a laboratory to do exactly that.

The entire industry has her to thank for helping to make the theater what it is today.

You’ll be missed, Ellen.  But I know you’re shaking things up wherever you are.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.