While the cast of our summer production, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, have been hard at work rehearsing, Sets-to-Go has been hard at work building the incredible set designed by our fabulous scenic designer, Desma Murphy.
Last week, the set for the Bluefish Cove beach cottage where a group of lesbian women spend their summers together was loaded onto our Outdoor Stage. Soon to come will be the rocks and dock of the cove.
Check out this short video chat with Desma and watch the magic happen as the crew installs the set and Bluefish Cove begins to become a reality.
Last Summer at Bluefish Cove begins previews on June 14, opens on June 17, and runs through August 27. Tickets/More Info.
Welcome to Bluefish Cove. The Fountain Theatre will transform the parking lot surrounding the set on its outdoor stage to create an oceanfront experience for its 40th-anniversary production of the groundbreaking comedy/drama, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove by Jane Chambers. Directed by Hannah Wolf, performances take place June 17 through August 27, with low-priced previews beginning June 14.
Set in 1974, a group of queer women spend their summers together in a remote oceanfront town on Long Island. Their lesbian enclave is disrupted when Eva, a naïve straight woman recently separated from her husband, stumbles unaware into their circle and falls for the charming, tough-talking Lil. This heartfelt play, a landmark in lesbian history, is bursting with friendship, laughter, love and hope, bringing well-rounded, three-dimensional characters that transcend stereotypes and preconceptions to the stage.
“The play ran for two years, from 1981-1983, at the Fountain Theatre 40 years ago starring Jean Smart, before Deborah Lawlor and I acquired the building and established our company,” says Fountain artistic director Stephen Sachs. “It was a benchmark achievement in L.A. theater, a turning point for L.A.’s queer community, and a milestone in the history of our building. Many women saw and remember it. Now its time for generations of young gay women born after the play was produced here to experience it for themselves.”
One of the first playwrights to depict love between women as happy, healthy, and well-adjusted, Jane Chambers (1937-1983) changed the course of American drama with works informed by second-wave feminism and the burgeoning gay rights movement, including A Late Snow (1974), Last Summer at Bluefish Cove (1980) and My Blue Heaven (1981). A prolific writer, Chambers also authored novels, poetry, and essays in addition to penning scripts for film and television. She trained as an actress at Rollins College and the Pasadena Playhouse because female students were not admitted to writing classes, and enjoyed success as an off-Broadway performer.
“(Bluefish Cove) was a benchmark achievement in L.A. theater, a turning point for L.A.’s queer community, and a milestone in the history of our building. … Now its time for generations of young gay women born after the play was produced here to experience it for themselves.”
In 1964, Chambers moved to Maine where she worked for MWTW-TV as a content producer and on-air personality. During President Johnson’s War on Poverty, Chambers took a position as arts coordinator with Jobs Corp, creating theater with inner-city youths. While earning a bachelor’s degree at Goddard College, Chambers returned to New York, co-founded Women’s Interart Theatre with Margot Lewitin, and met her life partner, talent agent Beth Allen. Chambers was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died in 1983. Her pioneering spirit is honored by an annual prize given in her name: The Jane Chambers Award for Playwriting is administered by The Women and Theatre Program. Chambers’ impact on American drama is also celebrated by a reading series at TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence) Theatre.
Earlier this month, eager students and their chaperones from three area high schools visited the Fountain Theatre for specially arranged morning performances of our current hit show, The Lifespan of a Fact. These kids had either been participants in Fountain Voices, the Fountain’s acclaimed theatre education program, or were recruited because they were active in their established high school theatre programs. Many of them already had an interest in the arts, some were newly exposed to it, and quite a few were even considering careers as writers and/or performers. All of them were thrilled to be seeing the show.
Ali Nezu, Magnet Coordinator for the New Media Academy and the Performing Arts Magnet at Hollywood High School was also excited for the opportunity. “It’s just been a blessing to have such an amazing group of artists and board members and community people that just love and respect the arts and that understand how desperately we need the arts to create social change,” she said. “And the learning that happens in a situation like this, and the engagement level of the students in the content and their own growth is just so much more than in a situational classroom. So I love that we are inspiring students to experience that but then inspire them and empower them to do that in their own lives moving forward.”
“It’s just been a blessing to have such an amazing group of artists and board members and community people that just love and respect the arts, and that understand how desperately we need the arts to create social change,” says Ali Nezu, Magnet Coordinator for the New Media Academy and the Performing Arts Magnet at Hollywood High School.
“I really appreciate how Fountain Voices teaches students how to get into someone else’s shoes,” enthused Ebony Haywood, who teaches English and Theatre at Compton Early Collage. “To understand how someone else is thinking, to how do you put this story together? How do you present, and represent, this story on stage? It’s like an exercise in being human.”
Sherrick O’Quinn, the Fountain’s Theatre Education Manager, agrees. “Fountain Voices is instrumental in giving kids an opportunity to realize and find their voice,” he says. “The programming we are providing is giving them the tools to learn how to be change agents of the future by using the theater arts to communicate their own stories that can change lives, hearts, and minds. Whether it’s learning how to use playwriting or visiting our theater to see a show, we’re creating accessibility to the arts when we’re seeing students increasingly not being given those opportunities – especially in underserved communities.”
France-Luce Benson has been honored by the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly the Actors Fund) with the 2023 Teaching Artist Award for Innovative Curriculum. France-Luce was recognized for pioneering Fountain Voices, the Fountain Theatre’s arts education program serving students in schools throughout Southern California. The award is supported by the generosity of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The majority of students in the Fountain Voices program have never seen a play, read a play, or know much about theatre at all. Ms. Benson observed in her thank-you remarks, “They are completely unaware of the power of theatre – which is that it is a space for us to use our voices. Many of the students have never been given that kind of space. They don’t know they have a voice, or that what they have to say matters. Many of them have never been asked to think about what matters to them, what is important to them – let alone write about it. And it’s exciting to watch them come alive when they begin to discover that, to discover who they are, what they care about. And the most exciting thing is not to see them use their voices, but to experience their desire to be heard, to step into the belief that they have a right to be heard.”
Congratulations, France-Luce! We’re proud of the educational outreach work we do at the Fountain. Thanks for laying out the blueprint to help make it happen.
What happens when telling the truth gets in the way of a good story? The Fountain Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of the Broadway hit play, The Lifespan of a Fact, by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell. Simon Levy directs for a February 18 opening, with performances continuing through April 2 on the Fountain’s indoor stage. Previews begin February 15.
Based on the nonfiction book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal, this highly entertaining, very funny new play follows Fingal (Jonah Robinson), a young intern at an elite New York magazine. Fingal’s first assignment from his editor (Inger Tudor) is to fact-check an essay written by a highly celebrated and cantankerous author (Ron Bottitta as John D’Agata). What Jim finds turns his world upside down. Thought-provoking, with zinging one-liners, The Lifespan of a Fact explodes into a hilarious slugfest between “facts” and “truth,” making it hard to imagine a play ever being more timely.
“The play urges us to take a harder look at the content we read and the stories we’re told — even from sources we trust,” says Fountain artistic director Stephen Sachs.
“What I love about this play is that it’s based on a true story and that it tackles the concepts of ‘fact’ and ‘truth’ in a theatrical context through three wonderfully contrasting, funny and compulsive/obsessive characters,” says Levy. “When you’re writing a nonfiction piece about a real person, are ‘facts’ and ‘truth’ negotiable? Or is it okay to make stuff up for the sake of a good story?”
D’Agata and Fingal’s book received critical attention from multiple publications, including NPR, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. It was subsequently named a “Top 10 Most Crucial Book” by the editors of Slate, a “Best Book of the Year” by the Huffington Post, and an “Editor’s Choice” by The New York Times Book Review. The stage adaptation, which opened on Broadway in 2018 starring Daniel Radcliffe, Bobby Cannavale, and Cherry Jones, was called “terrifically engaging” by The New York Times in its “Critic’s Pick” review.
The Fountain’s creative team includes scenic designer Joel Daavid, lighting designer Alison Brummer, sound designer Marc Antonio Pritchett, costume designer Michael Mullen, video designer Nicholas Santiago and properties designer Joyce Hutter. The production stage manager is Hannah Raymond. Stephen Sachs and James Bennett produce for the Fountain Theatre.
The Fountain Theatre is pleased to add Sherrick O’Quinn to its staff as Theatre Education Manager. In the newly-created position, Mr. O’Quinn is responsible for cultivating and strengthening all strategic community educational partnerships for The Fountain Theatre, enhancing its profile as an arts education leader in Los Angeles. Most important, he will oversee the theatre’s various arts education programs under the banner, Fountain for Youth. The programs include Walking the Beat and Fountain Voices.
Sherrick O’Quinn is an actor, educator, minister, and artist originally from Louisville, KY. He began his career in Louisville, KY working on stage and in film, TV, commercials and voiceover prior to moving to Los Angeles to complete his MFA in Acting degree at the University of Southern California. He formerly ran the GO College program which empowered and prepared at-risk high school students for college-going and career readiness prior to pursuing acting full-time. He spends his time acting, creating, coaching and working as a teaching artist. Sherrick is blessed to be part of Fountain Theatre’s mission to support and amplify diverse voices and create tangible change. His aim is to find intersections in art, work, and his daily life to be a change agent that encourages others to step into their voice, purpose, and light.
The Fountain Theatre is now casting the Los Angeles Premiere of Steven Levenson’s funny and poignant play, IF I FORGET, directed by Jason Alexander (TV’s Seinfeld). Steven Levenson is the author of TICK, TICK… BOOM!, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, and FOSSE/VERDON. IF I FORGET will be performed on the Fountain Theatre’s Outdoor Stage in East Hollywood.
Storyline: Los Angeles Premiere. A funny and powerful tale of a family and a culture at odds with itself. In the final months before 9/11, liberal Jewish studies professor Michael Fischer reunites with his two sisters to celebrate their father’s 75th birthday. Each committed to their own version of family history, they clash over everything from Michael’s controversial book, to whether they should sell the family business. Secrets and long-held resentments bubble to the surface as the three negotiate – with biting humor and razor-sharp insight – just what they’re willing to sacrifice for a chance at a new beginning.
Producer/Theatre Company: The Fountain Theatre Artistic Director: Stephen Sachs Director: Jason Alexander Writer: Steven Levenson Casting Director: Simon Levy, Jose Fernando Lead Producers: Simon Levy, James Bennett Auditions: April 18-19, 2022 Rehearsals: June 13 – July 19, 2022 Previews: July 20 – 22, 2022 Opens/Closes: July 23, 2022 – September 10, 2022
LOU FISCHER 65 to 75 years old, male. (to play 75) Smart, sensitive, caring. He is capable of deep feeling but can be distant as is typical of men of his generation. Holds disturbing secrets from the war. A Jewish WWII veteran, proud of his family and Jewish heritage. Suffers a debilitating stroke during the course of the play. A man of quiet dignity. An untapped well.
MICHAEL FISCHER 45 to 50 years old, male. Lou’s son. A Jewish Studies professor who happens to be an atheist. A cynical, avowed liberal whose intellect and passions coupled with his ego and neurosis often cloud his better judgment and his better angels. Proud, defiant, stubborn and yet fearful and ultimately a bit lost. He struggles to make his heart as potent as his mind. A brilliant, if tortured, soul.
HOLLY FISCHER 45 to 52 years old, female. Lou’s oldest daughter and Michael’s older sister. (should read slightly older than him). Her dress and manner reflect a lifestyle that connotes a degree of financial success and social influence. She thinks highly of herself and freely speaks her mind, oftentimes at the expense of others. Though brash and biting, she means well and genuinely cares for her family. She is driven, fierce – but the bark is far worse than the bite.
SHARON FISCHER 38 to 40 years old, female. Lou’s youngest daughter. Sweet to the point of almost seeming simple. A natural giver, reflected in being a kindergarten teacher and Lou’s primary caregiver. She is also a bit high strung and desperate to have a family of her own at this later stage of her life. She harbors unspoken resentment toward her siblings for making her the de facto nanny and nurse. Though fragile and brittle, she spends much of the play struggling to assert herself and fight for the things she wants and believes in.
ELLEN MANNING 40 to 43 years old, female. Michael’s wife. Not Jewish. Kind, calm, and the voice of reason when tensions arise between Michael and his siblings. She is supportive of her husband’s career and beliefs though keenly aware and nervous of their offensiveness. She determinedly suppresses her fear and anxiety about her daughter’s mental illness. She is a woman very much on the edge and holding on with all the grace she can muster.
HOWARD KILBERG 50 to 55 years old, male. Holly’s husband. Jewish. A corporate lawyer. Successful and affable but a bit of a dolt. He is socially awkward, never sure of where he stands in anyone’s esteem. He is mild-mannered, even kindly but uncomfortable in his skin. And he harbors a secret that he greatly fears will ruin his life if revealed.
JOEY OREN 16 to 20 years old, male. (to play 16) Holly’s son. A smart and socially awkward teen. Has some behavioral issues; not violent, just acts out to get attention. He acts indifferent toward his family but can’t help revealing genuine concern during trying times. Takes refuge in gaming. An awkward kid, probably somewhere on the spectrum.
Please submit electronically via Breakdown Express/Actors Access or email email@example.com. First round of auditions will be self-tape of Sides, which will be made available by the casting coordinator. Then there will be an in-person audition at the theatre. Then a callback.
The Fountain Theatre returns to indoor performances in October with the Los Angeles Premiere of the acclaimed Tony Award-nominated drama The Children by Lucy Kirkwood. With case numbers of the Delta variant trending downward in Los Angeles, the Fountain plans to reopen its indoor stage in October with all health and safety guidelines in place after nineteen months of closure due to the pandemic.
The Children is set in a small cottage on the east coast of England, where Hazel and Robin, two retired nuclear scientists in their mid-sixties, are living. A recent disaster at the local nuclear power station where they used to work has devastated the area, and they live under the threat of radiation pollution. Electricity and water are rationed, and they keep a Geiger counter to check for signs of radiation. However, Hazel is determined to preserve some semblance of normality and live the healthiest life she possibly can. So, Robin now farms, while Hazel practices yoga and devours salad. But when Rose, a former colleague whom they haven’t seen for 38 years, suddenly turns up, she disrupts their precariously ordered existence. Rose is determined to fix the problems they have caused for the next generation, even if it means certain death. Without ever mentioning climate change, Lucy Kirkwood’s brave, funny, humane, and chilling play asks us to confront the responsibility each generation must face for how it leaves the world. What is our responsibility to the future? Especially as we get older. What legacy, future, do we leave our children?
[ROSE] 64 to 68 years old, all ethnicities female. LEAD. Nuclear scientist/engineer. Sharp wit. No-nonsense. Strong-willed. Independent. A survivor. But these are shields to hide regrets and deep pain. Never married. Never had children. Lived in America for many years. A city person. She’s on a mission to save the world, to be accountable. She has many secrets, including being the former lover of ROBIN. She’s come to visit HAZEL and ROBIN after 38 years, out of the blue, with a request, with one of those secrets that is the turning point of the play.
[HAZEL] 64 to 68 years old, all ethnicities female. LEAD. Nuclear scientist/engineer. Retired. Has lived in the countryside most of her life. British droll sense of humor. She’s the homemaker, the caretaker. She believes in routine. She believes routine and salad and yoga will keep her and ROBIN and the world safe. She just wants everything to be nice, to be okay, to be controllable. But when that’s challenged by ROSE, she can be a fierce, formidable foe. Married to ROBIN for 40 years. Mother of 4. Grandmother. She will do anything to keep everyone safe. And she will not let ROSE steal ROBIN from her… and she will not let ROSE’s secret mission destroy her world.
[ROBIN] 64 to 68 years old, all ethnicities male. LEAD. Nuclear scientist/engineer. Retired. Down-to-earth. British droll sense of humor. Has that lived-in look. Husband of HAZEL. Married for 40 years. Father and grandfather. Former lover of ROSE. He’s the jokester. The little boy. He needs to turn pain and discomfort into humor and playfulness whenever possible. He’s also a workaholic. Always got to be doing something. Working the former farm. Taking care of the animals. Fixing the cottage. Can’t sit still. Like ROSE, he, too, has secrets… but ROSE’s secret request forces him to confront a moral dilemma that will change everything.
Producer/Theatre Company: Fountain Theatre Artistic Director: Stephen Sachs Director: Simon Levy Writer: Lucy Kirkwood Casting Director: Stephen Sachs Audition Date(s): Sept. 2, 2021 Callback Date(s): Sept 7. 2021 Rehearsal Date(s): Sept 13, 2021 Preview Date(s): Oct. 20, 2021 Opening Date(s): Oct. 23, 2021 Closing Date(s): Dec. 19, 2021 Rate of Pay: AEA 99-Seat Contract Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA