The Fountain parking lot was transformed for the VIP evening.
Much about last Saturday night’s VIP performance of Cost of Living at the Fountain was out of the ordinary. Our exclusively invited guests drove up to the Fountain to discover a team of valet parking attendants waiting to park their cars for them. The performance of Martyna Majok’s funny and poignant play starred two fabulous actors with disabilities in lead roles — a first for our theatre. And the classy post-show reception was vibrantly staged in the outdoor parking lot, not in our upstairs cafe, to allow full access for our guests in wheelchairs.
What remained consistent that evening was the excellence of the work on stage and the support of our Fountain Family. The theatre brimmed with many of the generous Fountain donors, underwriters and producers who made our west coast premiere of this Pulitzer Prize winning play possible.
Executive Producers Barbara Herman and Susan Stockel were joined by Producing Underwriters Diana Buckhantz, Lois Tandy, and Miles and Joni Benickes. Other guests included Fountain Board members Karen Kondazian, Dick Motika, Jerrie Whitfield, as well as Marc and Aliza Guren, Cecile Keshishian, actor Alan Mandell, Beth Stoffmacher from the National Arts and Disability Center, and Peter L. Thompkins.
The delicious food was provided by Alligator Pear Catering. Long strands of newly installed lighting twinkled across the Fountain parking lot. The decorated outdoor setting provided a classy and delightful ambience for our invited guests and the Cost of Living company. Although this was the first time we transformed our parking lot into an outdoor soiree, judging by Saturday night’s success it won’t be the last.
As a theatre lover, I have often struggled to qualify the artistic value of a show. What, for example, separates a great, large-scale Broadway musical from a great, smaller, experimental work? When it comes to art, does more money equal more success? I received my answer last Saturday, at the designer run-through rehearsal of the Fountain’s Arrival & Departure: a successful play is one that leaves its audience thinking.
Art has the power to leave a lasting impact and change the way we think. That is exactly what I experienced after watching Arrival & Departure.
The play, at its core, follows the classic, impossible love-story of two star-crossed soul mates who have the universe standing between them. The 90-minute play is filled with heart-wrenchingly beautiful acting on the part of the ensemble and a fantastic script by Stephen Sachs. The artists invite us into their most intimate and vulnerable thoughts, thoughts that were born in a reality that they created out of nothing. It seemed impossible that such genuineness had been bred in only a few weeks of rehearsal – it is beyond inspiring to see what the Fountain team is capable of.
Personally, it was especially moving to experience the power and beauty of Deaf theatre for the first time. The show’s interwoven and unique mélange of ASL and Spoken English creates a dynamic and multi-dimensional artistic medium in which authenticity prevails. Deanne Bray and Troy Kotsur conveyed a degree of beauty, truth, and honesty in their signing that cannot be expressed in other forms of communication – it was almost like watching a dance. Especially moving was Bray’s ability to convey her character’s struggles with identity as a hard-of-hearing woman, switching back and forth between ASL and Spoken English.
The play struck me as a type of ‘deconstructed theatre’. The various forms of art involved – from ASL, to Spoken English, to movement, to staging – are separated but harmoniously married, each holding its own and conveying breath-taking emotion, but also supporting one another to create one beautiful piece. I left the rehearsal pondering the very nature of art, and the ways in which society often creates pigeon-holes for artists. Arrival & Departure was unlike anything I have experienced before – it is novel and unique, and conveys emotion in ways that don’t conform to exclusive norms. This, I believe, is the point of theatre, and I cannot wait for others to experience the magic of Arrival & Departure.
Last week’s bonus contest winner! She won a romantic dinner for 2 at Le Petit Restaurant. Michelle says:
“Cyrano was one of the best theater experiences I’ve ever had. And since I’m a theatre junkie, that’s saying something.”
The Fountain’s co-production of Cyrano has been invited to New York. In just two weeks, our talented lead actors and artistic team will be performing for
The New York Theatre Workshop, the Tony-winning company that launched Rent, Dirty Blonde, Homebody/Kabul, Peter and the Starcatcher, Once,and more. This will be a staged reading for NY producers and investors with the goal of launching a NY production. To make this dream come true, we need you.Join Us!
Our Sold-Out Award-Winning Smash Hit Drew Rave Reviews and National Attention in LA
WINNER! 4 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards
including Best Play and Best Production
CRITIC’S CHOICE!– Los Angeles Times
“Irresistible! Consistently beautiful!
Critic’s Pick! – Backstage “GO!” – LA Weekly
“Perfection!” – SoCalTheatre
“A masterpiece!” – Examiner
“A powerhouse piece of theatre!” – StageHappenings
Troy Kotsur is "Cyrano", opening April 28 at the Fountain Theatre.
Our upcoming signed/spoken production of Cyrano will be featured in a Special Event weekend at Disneyland later this month. On the weekend of March 17 and 18, Downtown Disney District will host a celebration of creativity in the deaf community – SIGNin’ in the Street. During this special 2-day-weekend event, the public is invited to embrace the social, technological and artistic accomplishments of world-renowned Deaf talent and local community organizations. The Fountain Theatre and Deaf West have been asked by Disney to share a scene from our upcoming co-production of Cyrano on both Saturday, March 17th and Sunday March 18th. Exact times to be announced.
This fun-filled, educational and exciting weekend celebration is open to all — deaf and hearing guests.
The event will spotlight top performers, interactive workshops, film screenings and appearances by the stars of ABC Family’s hit series, “Switched at Birth”: Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Constance Marie, Lea Thompson, D.W. Moffett, Lucas Grabeel, Sean Berdy and Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin.
In addition, two episodes of the show, including an exclusive sneak preview of the spring finale, will be screened at AMC Theatres on Saturday, March 17.
The “Switched at Birth” cast will be on hand earlier in the day for panel question and answer sessions, as well as autograph signings.
Throughout the weekend, AMC Theatres will show two feature films, “The Hammer,” based on the life of triple NCAA champ and professional mixed martial artist Matt Hamill, and the award-winning documentary “See What I’m Saying” featuring our very own Bob Hiltermann, also in Cyrano. Stars from the films will host question and answer sessions, sign autographs and perform live.
Other highlights of this fun, interactive weekend include:
Musical performances from Big River and Pippin by Tony Award-winning Deaf West Theatre, including a sneak preview of the group’s upcoming world premiere of Cyrano, and workshops for guests interested in learning American Sign Language and acting.
Drum Café, the internationally acclaimed drumming crew, will super-charge the audience through interactive performances and workshops.
Specially created Disney merchandise featuring American Sign Language.
The high-energy entertainment kicks off at 1 p.m. both days and continues until 9 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday.
We’re thrilled and excited to be part of this weekend celebration of deaf talent, artistry and entertainment. Please click here for the full schedule of events and how you might grab a seat to the sneak preview scene from our upcoming production of Cyrano!