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‘My Beatnik Youth: A Solo Riff’ Debuts Next Week

La MaMa Experimental Theatre  welcomes playwright and performer, Justin Elizabeth Sayre back to the revitalized Club Space with their new work, My Beatnik Youth: A Solo Riff.  Fashioned after a Beat Era poetry reading, this play with music will be directed by Fempath, and musical director Tracy Stark will lead a jazz trio and the show will feature different guest poets for every performance.  Performances begin Thursday, March 14 and run thru Sunday, March 24. Evening performances are at 7:30 PM and matinees at 3:30 PM. Tickets available at

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This new solo work from Sayre will tell the tale of Jay a teenager obsessed with the Beat Generation. After a serious drunk driving accident, Jay is placed in the psyche ward to avoid charges and contemplate what brought them towards this brush with death. During this month-long hospitalization, Jay will face their own demons and the demons of those suffering around them. Throughout this time, Jay draws upon the world of the Beat Generation, from works of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg to the incredible music of Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

Justin Elizabeth Sayre – Photo by Matthew Dean Stewart

“While this play is a fiction, it remains a very personal work,” says Sayre. “For me, My Beatnik Youth is about poetry, mental health, and the ability to see the dark but still choose to see the light.” Sayre has written before about their own battles with mental illness. “But throughout all the struggles that are inherent in a piece like this, I believe I’m ultimately telling a story of hope. For me that’s what the Beat Generation was about. As is the case with any Romantic movement, the Beat Generation was looking to celebrate our humanity at the beginning of the Atomic Age. I think that message, especially in our digital age, has so much resonance. This play is celebration of the beauty and fragility of human resistance and the drive to find our own luminosity.”

My Beatnik Youth: A Solo Riff

Written and performed by Justin Elizabeth Sayre

March 14 – 24, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 3:30 PM

The Club at La MaMa, located at 74 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003.

Tickets are $30 for adults; $25 for students and seniors; first ten tickets for every performance $10 each (online, advance sale only; first come, first served).

Tickets available at or (646) 430-5374.

“Justin Elizabeth Sayre is Oscar Wilde meets Whoopi Goldberg.”

– Michael Musto


Follow in IG  @justinelizabethsayre

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