Performance Schedule:
June 7 - 24, 2001
Thursday - Sunday 8:00pm
Sunday Matinee 2:30pm
First Floor Theatre

From 1804 to1806, Meriwether Lewis, along with William Clark and the Corps of Discovery, journeyed across three thousand miles of uncharted territory from the Missouri to the Pacific Ocean. He was a Renaissance man: explorer, military commander, naturalist, geologist, astronomer, cartographer and writer. He embodied the best and the worst of Jeffersonian America. Lewis was at once idealistic, inquisitive, ingenious, confident, courageous, greedy, racist, and arrogant. On his return from the triumphant expedition he became, at a young age, as famous as a modern day rock-star, but he died, a probable suicide, three years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition ended.

Bitterroot views Lewis’ life and adventures through the filter of a troupe of actors, Payne’s Players, who in 1864 after the assassination of Lincoln are forced to go on the road, performing a musical play on a patriotic subject. The actors in the company are as colorful and diverse as the characters they portray. These characters include the young Shoshone woman, Sacagawea; her husband, the French Canadian trader, Charbonneau; and Clark’s slave, York.

Playwright Paul Zimet’s fascination with the complexities of Meriwether Lewis led him to travel by foot and canoe along the same trail that the Corps of Discovery followed. With support from the John Golden New Frontier Award, he traveled through Montana on the Upper Missouri River, and through the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho, where he experienced the still awesome beauty and formidable challenges of the land.

Featured in the cast of Bitterroot are William Badgett, Ellen Maddow, Isaac Maddow-Zimet, Tina Shepard, Jeffrey Reynolds, Ryan Dietz, Randy Reyes, Michelle Rios, and Hunyup Lee. “Blue” Gene Tyranny plays keyboards. Costume designs by Kiki Smith, lighting by Lenore Doxsee, and set design by Christine Jones.

Paul Zimet, artistic director of The Talking Band, has written numerous plays and musical theater works including NEW CITIES, BLACK MILK QUARTET, and most recently STAR MESSENGERS. He is a recipient of the Frederick Loewe Award in Musical Theater and three Obie Awards for his work with The Open Theater and the Winter Project. Paul is a member of New Dramatists.

Award winning composer, Peter Gordon began collaborating with Paul Zimet in 1996 when they wrote the multimedia musical theater work, PARTY TIME, which was presented at PS 122. Gordon first gained worldwide attention with the LOVE OF LIFE ORCHESTRA, which he founded in 1977. He won an Obie for his score for FALSO MOVIMENTO’S OTELLO, and a Bessie for his score for BILL T. JONES/ARNIE ZANE’S SECRET PASTURES. Upcoming, is FINDING HOPE IN THE BEAUTY OF OUR DIFFERENCES: A FOUR MOVEMENT RHAPSODY FOR PIANO commissioned by pianist Sasha Toperich ,which will be performed at Avery Fisher Hall in June.

Christine Jones received a special commission from the New York State Council on the Arts to design the sets for Bitterroot. She recently designed sets for THE GREEN BIRD on Broadway for which she received the Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Award nominations. Previous designing credits include TEXTS FOR NOTHING (with Joseph Chaikin) at the NY Shakespeare Festival, and LAST OF THE THORNTONS at the Signature Theatre. She will be designing NOCTURNE at New York Theater Workshop in May.

The Talking Band was founded in 1974 by Paul Zimet, Ellen Maddow, and Tina Shepard. Since it’s inception, The Talking Band has collaborated with musicians as well as designers and poets to create works of rich and energetic language accentuated by a broad range of musical expression and visual imagery. Because music is essential to the company’s unique way of storytelling, songs, rhythms and melodies are used not as a form of accompaniment, but as an integral narrative voice.

During the past twenty-seven years, The Talking Band has created and presented 30 theater productions, some of which have been recognized by the theatrical community with BESSIE and OBIE awards. This production is The Talking Band’s sixteenth at La MaMa. For more information about The Talking Band log on to www.

This production is made possible with funds from The New York State Council on the Arts and from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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