A Macabre Celebration, The Etiquette of Death at La MaMa

Brandon Olson as Joey Girdler (center) and cast members in the World Premiere of The Etiquette of Death. Photo by Ves Pitts

Death can be uproarious. The macabre is celebrated in The Etiquette of Death, the final show in La Mama’s 50th anniversary run. Gaudy, glitzy, glamorous and demented, the musical comedy pits Joan Girdler (Chris Tanner), an over the top cosmetics saleswoman who is somewhat famous in the beauty circles, against Death (Everett Quinton), a bawdy queen who is both enamored of Joan’s work and also out to usher her and her melancholic, invalid son (Brandon Olson) into the afterlife.

Arts Watch: Chris Tanner’s ‘Etiquette of Death’ Premiers at La MaMa

La MaMa closes its 50th Anniversary season with a show about death. Death you say? Yes. Well, the topic is still fresh in the minds of all who know and love La Mama, since it was only last year that the famed ‘Mama’ of La Mama, Ellen Stewart, passed away at the age of 91. Her golden touch is felt in every corner of the place, and in fitting tribute to her influence on generations of artists that have graced La MaMa’s stages these past fifty years, they have chosen to present the world premier of Chris Tanner’s The Etiquette of Death.