The Fountain Theatre is now casting roles available in the world premiere of the new play, Human Interest Story, written and directed by Stephen Sachs. The timely drama examining homelessness and ethics in journalism is scheduled to open February 15, 2020.
Newspaper columnist Andy Kramer is laid off when a corporate takeover downsizes the City Chronicle. In retaliation, Andy fabricates a letter to his column from an imaginary homeless woman named “Jane Doe” who announces she will kill herself on the 4th of July because of the heartless state of the world. When the letter goes viral, Andy is forced to hire a homeless woman to stand-in as the fictitious Jane Doe. She becomes an overnight internet sensation and a national women’s movement is ignited. A funny and riveting tale on the ethics of American journalism, homelessness, the worship of celebrity and the need to tell your own story.
Now Casting the Following Roles:
BETTY FRAZIER/JANE DOE
35 to 45 years old, Black/African American female. Laid-off elementary school teacher Betty Frazier has been homeless two years. She becomes an overnight media sensation as the fictitious Jane Doe. Strong-willed, compassionate, deep feeling, smart, nobody’s fool. She has come from the hell of darkness and is now reaching for light. Fiercely fighting to be seen and be heard, she discovers her own voice. The one she always had.
Caucasian male. Seeking a versatile actor to play many roles including Miller, a cold-blooded, ruthless newspaper editor, and Bauman, a scheming far-right political campaign aide.
40 to 50 years old, Hispanic male. Seeking a versatile actor to play many roles including Hernandez, an ardent by-the-book newspaper Assistant Editor, and Moran, a polite sturdy bodyguard.
35 to 50 years old, Black/African American female. Seeking a versatile actor to play many roles including Nakesha, a hard-working impassioned school principal and TV Host, a razor-sharp intellectual black feminist.
Rehearsal starts Monday, January 6th, 2020. The production runs February 15 – April 5, 2020. Contract: AEA 99-Seat. Auditions: November 11 -22, 2019.
Montae Russell in “Between Riverside and Crazy” at the Fountain Theatre.
By Darlene Donloe
Montae Russell is well known throughout Los Angeles theater circles for playing meaty roles. He’s played Charlie “Bird” Parker in Bird Lives!, Memphis in Two Trains Running andElmore in a production of King Hedley II. He also played Mister on Broadway in King Hedley II opposite Viola Davis and Leslie Uggams.
Up next for the veteran thespian is a complicated, determined man named Walter “Pops” Washington who has declared war on almost everything in the Stephen Adly Guirgis 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy-drama Between Riverside and Crazy, opening October 19 at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.
Russell, a Pittsburgh native is ready to take on the role. While talking to him about the show and “Pops”, the 50-something, married (Tonia), father of one, walked around a local park to let the imagery of the play and the character “sink in.” It’s a process, he said allows him to be “closer to where I need to be” when he hits the stage.
Russell’s first acting role came in the seventh grade when he played Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. His first professional play was in the off-Broadway production of Three Ways Home at the Astor Place Theater in New York.
Eventually he brought his talent to Los Angeles where he became a respected film, television and theater actor.
A highly sought after actor, Russell had to decide between doing August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and Between Riverside and Crazy. He said it was a hard decision, but he read something in the “Pops” character that spoke to him.
In Between Riverside and Crazy, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy-drama by Stephen Adly Guirgis, ex-cop and recent widower Walter ‘Pops’ Washington has made a home for his newly paroled son in his sprawling, rent-controlled New York City apartment on Riverside Drive. But now the NYPD is demanding his signature to close an outstanding lawsuit, the landlord wants him out, the liquor store is closed, and the church is on his back — leaving Pops somewhere between Riverside… and crazy.
Montae Russell and Victory Anthony in “Between Riverside and Crazy”
I recently caught up with Russell to discuss his role in Between Riverside and Crazy.
DD: In your own words, describe Between Riverside and Crazy.
MR: I really can’t describe it because I’m in the midst of it. Well, from my character’s perspective, he was a cop who was shot by a white cop eight years ago. The cop overreacted when he saw black people in a bar. My character is in a battle with NYPD. He’s living in a rent-controlled apartment on Riverside Drive. The landlord wants him out so he can charge more rent.
But my character is dug in. He’s not backing down. His son is an ex-con. He is fighting for his son. Every father wants his son to become a man. He is also fighting a war with himself. He has war with a lot of people. He has a battle with the bottle and his body. He has stress and strife. There are external forces and an internal battle within himself. Sometimes it’s not about annihilating your opponent. Sometimes you just have to sign a truce.
DD: In what way are you like Pop and in what way are you the furthest from Pop?
MR: I’m a fighter, but I don’t have as many wars. I have a stubborn streak. I don’t have multiple wars, though. I don’t have people coming at me as he does. But, I can understand what it would be like. I respect the character. I just fight differently.
DD: Why did you want to play this part?
MR: When I read it, I cracked up. A lot of things about the character made me laugh. He is raging a war with God, or with his beliefs because of all the things that have happened. You can’t win that war. It’s a very hilarious play. Pops is pulling no punches. He doesn’t care. He is the master of his domain. He’s a very funny cat. He’s not a rabble-rouser. He’s not an activist. He’s a conservative – but not in a social way – more of an interpersonal way. He’s a traditional man, an old school man. He comes from a time when you controlled your emotions.
DD: How did you go about developing Pop?
MR: It’s a day-by-day thing. We’ll be developing until the end of the play in December. Different stuff is revealed each time you crack open the script. There is constant tweaking.
He’s not funny, Ha, Ha. He’s funny concerning his perspectives. Living like that can cause problems. You have to give a fuck at some point. You have to give a fuck about something.
DD: Have you ever been between Riverside and crazy?
MR: You would have to ask the people around me.
Montae Russell, Joshua Bitton, Lesley Fera, Marisol Miranda, Matthew Hancock.
DD: By what criteria do you decide to do a show?
MR: It has to be a challenge. I have to think I can bring something to it. It’s about what speaks to me. I was supposed to do Gem of the Ocean. I was going to play Caesar. Both shows were going up at the same time. I opted to do this instead. It’s difficult to turn down a role like Caesar. It would have also been difficult to turn down this role.
DD: You’ve played a lot of characters. What role did you nail?
MR: I try to do that all the time. I enjoyed playing Memphis in Two Trains Running. August Wilson front-loads his characters with a lot of stuff they are dealing with. The character challenged me. It felt good that I concurred it. The stuff he has to live through. His backstory – all of that comes into the show. You’re responsible for the backstory even if it doesn’t come up in the play.
DD: How do you prepare to go on stage? Any rituals?
MR: I gotta be at the theater at least 45 minutes before I’m supposed to be there. I have to have food in my stomach to power through the show. It’s just like a sporting event. You can’t keep running back to the locker room. I like to warm up my voice. I warm up my diction and I stretch. I need to be by myself and get in my space. I like to get in my zone.
DD: Why did you want to be an actor?
MR: A lot of people today don’t know what they want to do. I was blessed at 13 – that’s when I knew. From there, I got green lights all the way. One job led to another. August Wilson wrote my letter of recommendation to get into Rutgers. He reached back.
DD: What happens to you when you’re on stage?
MR: It allows you to go to another world. Your imagination has to buy it. It’s the same concept when doing a show. We are on stage being looked at by an audience. That to me is fun. It’s nice to get away from the real world and step into someone else’s shoes for a while.
STORYLINE: Hannah is two weeks away from becoming a board-certified neurologist when she receives a strange package from her grandmother, who may—or may not—have just ended her life in a most flamboyant fashion. The mystery leads Hannah and her family on a surreal, funny, heartbreaking adventure back to their roots in South and North Korea and the forbidden Demilitarized Zone that divides them. This startling new comedy twists together creation myths and family histories to explore what it means to walk the edge between.
Producers: The Fountain Theatre in association with East West Players Playwright: Jiehae Park Director: Jennifer Chang
HANNAH – 28 to 36 years old, East Asian female. about to become a board-certified pediatric neurologist. Control freak.
FATHER – 45 to 55 years old, East Asian male. professor. Keeps It Together for the Family. Emotionally clueless. Must speak Korean.
MOTHER – 48 to 56 years old, East Asian female. In a deep depression that she is hiding from her family, Gardening fanatic and HGTV addict that her family isn’t necessarily aware of. Comedic and playful sensibility a must.
TRICKSTER – 30 to 60 years old, East Asian female. Plays the following characters: Voice/Grandma/Mrs. Lee/Old Man In Coat/Official/Nurse/Mr. Kwon/Kim Jong II/Grandmother Tiger trickster-lost-soul-friend-voice-of-god. May or may not have been here since the beginning of the world. Possible memory loss. Must speak Korean.
DANG – 20 to 26 years old, East Asian male. Recent graduate and professional slacker. Has-a-band-sort-of. Good kid. Guitar playing a plus.
GIRL – 19 to 26 years old, female. Activist in search of a cause. Used-to-have-a-band-sort-of. Blunt. Comedic sensibility a must. Musical Instrument a plus.
Actors Bill Brochtrup and Tim Cummings, co-stars of the Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed 2013 production of The Normal Heart, will reunite for this season’s Southern California Premiere of Daniel’s Husband by Michael McKeever. Simon Levy, who helmed The Normal Heart, will direct. Daniel’s Husband opens May 4th.
Brochtrup and Cummings are joined by LA favorites Jenny O’Hara and Ed Martin. Jose Fernando makes his Fountain debut.
Daniel and Mitchell are the perfect couple. Perfect house, perfect friends — even a mother who wants them married. They’d have the perfect wedding too, except that Mitchell doesn’t believe in gay marriage. A turn of events puts their perfect life in jeopardy, and Mitchell is thrust into a future in which even his love may not be enough. Daniel’s Husband is a bold reflection on love, commitment, and family in our perilous new world.
The recent Off-Broadway production earned rave reviews. The New York Times hailed it as “Compelling”, the Huffington Post declared it was “Emotionally charged,” and the Daily Beast described it as “Beautiful and powerful.”
Bill Brochtrup (Daniel) appeared Off-Broadway in Secrets of the Trade at Primary Stages, Lost and Found at FringeNYC, and Snakebit at the Century Center. He’s acted with many LA theatre companies including South Coast Repertory (The Sisters Rosensweig, Shakespeare In Love, Noises Off), Antaeus Theatre Company (Cloud 9, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Peace In Our Time) Rogue Machine Theatre (Les Blancs), Fountain Theatre (The Normal Heart). His many TV appearances include five seasons as savvy police psychologist “Dr. Joe” on Major Crimes, Shameless, Kendra, Dexter, and In the Life. Bill was a series regular on Public Morals, Total Security, and ten years as cheerful administrative aide “John Irvin” on NYPD Blue. He is the Co-Artistic Director of Antaeus Theatre Company.
Tim Cummings (Mitchell) recently earned his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University. He is the winner of Critical Read’s 2018 ‘Origins’ literary contest for his essay “You Have Changed Me Forever.” He is the recipient of three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, for Dan O’Brien’s The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage (2018 PEN American Award for Drama) at Boston Court, Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart at The Fountain, and Enda Walsh’s The New Electric Ballroom at Rogue Machine. Selected LA: Cal in Camo with Red Dog Squadron at VS Theater; Need To Know at Rogue Machine, The Woodsman at Coeurage (StageSceneLA Award for Performance of the Year); Reunion and Eurydice at South Coast Rep, Hamlet and The Winter’s Tale at Theater 150, WAR and The Walworth Farce at Theater Banshee, Tartuffe at Boston Court, The Pursuit of Happiness at Laguna Playhouse. Bway & Off-Bway: The Guys directed by Jim Simpson, Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune directed by Joe Mantello. Film/TV: Can You Ever Forgive Me, Grimm, Rosewood, Kensho at the Bedfellow, Criminal Minds, My Two Fans, Presence, The Box, etc. He holds a BFA in Acting from NYU.
Jose Fernando (Trip) From the tropics of Costa Rica and the waters of Niagara Falls, Jose appeared in Breckenridge Theatre’s world premiere of The 10th . He was seen on Disney Channel’s Disney 365 and on ABC’s Black-ish and Once Upon A Time . He currently has commercials in the works with Google and other tech companies.
Ed Martin (Barry) has worked in theatres all over the country including Denver Center Theatre, The Arizona Theatre Company, Theatreworks, and the Laguna Playhouse. Favorite LA credits include work at the Boston Court, the Colony, the Davidson/Valentini, the Odyssey, the Hudson and Theatre 40. Ed is the recipient of the Ovation, Stage Raw, LA Weekly, Dramalogue and Robby Awards. TV and film credits include Angels and Demons, directed by Ron Howard, American Crime, Castle, Medium, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many others.
Jenny O’Hara (Lydia) is best known to Fountain audiences as originating the role of Maude Gutman in the smash hit Bakersfield Mist. She co-starred on Broadway opposite Alec Guiness in Dylan. Other Broadway credits are The Fig Leaves are Falling, Promises, Promises, The Odd Couple (female version), and The Iceman Cometh. On TV, she’s been seen on Transparent, The Mindy Project, The King of Queens, and Big Love, and guest appearances in Mike and Molly, Hot in Cleveland, Rizzoli and Isles, The Closer, NCIS, CSI, House, Nip/Tuck, Six Feet Under and numerous others. Films include BFF, Sassy Pants, The Seven Psychopaths, Devil (M. Night Shyamalan), Mystic River (Clint Eastwood), Matchstick Men (Ridley Scott), Extract, Forty Shades of Blue, Two Weeks, How to Make Love to a Woman and Heartbeat.
Other Broadway World Los Angeles Awards for Arrival & Departure went to Troy Kotsur for Leading Actor in a Play, Deanne Bray for Leading Actress in a Play, and Donny Jackson, Lighting Design.
Nominations were reader-submitted and voted by local theatergoers in Los Angeles. Regional productions, touring shows, and more were all included in the awards, honoring productions which opened between October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018.
This year the BroadwayWorld Regional Awards included over 100 cities across America, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia.