It’s been a challenging year, hasn’t it? A year of change, division and loss And a year of hope, unity and bright accomplishments.
The Fountain Theatre ends 2016 soaring on the wind of uplifting achievements. Our world premiere stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric has been chosen to be highlighted in CTG’s Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in April. Our premieres of Dream Catcher, My Mañana Comes and Baby Doll earned rave reviews and extended runs.Forever Flamenco sizzled this summer at the outdoor Ford Theatre. Bakersfield Mist returned to delight audiences through the holidays and is still running through January. We continued serving communities year round through our educational outreach programs. We broadened our long-term stability by partnering with new foundations and supporters.
For 26 years, The Fountain Theatre has provided a public space where a wide variety of citizens gather together to experience stories that illuminate what it means to be a human being.
The public discourse across our nation and on our stage in 2016 revealed many things. One being: words matter. What we say to each other, and how we say it, matters. As in the finest plays, language has power. Has impact. In soliloquy and in dialogue. On our intimate stage, and far beyond Fountain Avenue, our dialogue — our conversation — with YOU, our Fountain Family, matters.
Which words would you use to describe the Fountain Theatre? Which words express who we are, what we do? Co-Founding Artistic Directors Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs share with you some words they’d choose. Take a look!
Last week, I got to see the Fountain’s current production: a new Tennessee Williams piece called Baby Doll. The circumstances of how this piece came to the stage were a bit unorthodox for a Williams play. It started out as a screenplay adaptation of an older Williams one-act play called 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. Williams adapted it for film in 1956, and it wasn’t until recently that Emily Mann and Pierre Laville re-adapted the film for the stage. I was very curious to see this piece that had started out as a one-act before going to film and then back to the stage. There must have been something truly powerful about the story itself to go back and forth between those mediums.
“Baby Doll” movie (1956)
I certainly wasn’t wrong about that. Baby Doll is a powerful, immersive story. The events that unfold keep you on edge throughout the show. On top of that, watching this piece in the Fountain’s intimate house made it even more impactful. I felt like I was directly in the story with these characters, with a direct stake in what happened to them. After the show, I watched the 1956 film version of Baby Doll, and it felt like the biggest thing missing was the immediacy and urgency that the staged version, particularly in the Fountain, provided the audience. Other than that main difference, however, the play stayed very true to Williams’ original screenplay – the original dialogue was mostly preserved, and the details of the story were almost identical. In comparing the two, it was clear that this particular story was even more powerful when it was right in your face, up close and personal.
‘Baby Doll’ at the Fountain
The Fountain’s production takes a physically and emotionally abusive and manipulative marriage between Baby Doll, a young and impressionable woman, and Archie Lee Meighan, an angry and lonely older man, and pushes it into the audience’s faces, forcing them to confront the uncomfortable dynamics of domestic violence and abuse. The audience is confronted with the uncomfortably predatory nature of their marriage, before we are met with Silva Vacarro, a handsome younger man who seems to be Archie Lee’s opposite in every way. He’s charming, mysterious, and Baby Doll clearly finds him intriguing. He is clearly Baby Doll’s true romantic interest, as well as the foil to Archie Lee’s unpredictable anger and abuse.
Just when I thought the story was leading in a predictable direction, though, it became clear that Silva had ulterior motives for flirting with Baby Doll. We spend the majority of the rest of the show watching him alternate between seducing her and emotionally manipulating her for information. I felt a strange discomfort watching them, because I wasn’t sure whether or not I was rooting for them to be together. They clearly had chemistry, so much so that watching their characters together in such a small theatre felt like I was invading their privacy somehow. At the same time, there were moments where he was clearly prodding her for information by pushing her boundaries, or by making her feel special and tended to in a way that he knew she wasn’t getting with Archie Lee. By this time, I was quite literally on the edge of my seat, watching with bated breath to see what would happen next. There were moments where I was sure Silva would get rid of Archie Lee somehow and he and Baby Doll would run off together into the sunset. But then there were other moments where I really couldn’t tell if he truly cared for Baby Doll at all, or if he was just a master manipulator.
This kind of theatre is of a special type: the kind that makes you think and confront difficult, uncomfortable issues, and provokes thought and visceral emotions from its audiences. Theatre is such a special way to present and portray relationships between people, in a way that makes you feel and think about the nature of human connection. The power of the story, as well as the amazing talent and chemistry between the actors in this company, reminded me that theatre can do so much; it is meant to confront and provoke, and to tell stories that audiences can connect to in some way.
I felt very lucky to get to see not just one but three Fountain productions in my time here. My Mañana Comes, Forever Flamenco at the Ford, and Baby Doll were certainly all incredibly different from one another, but they all had an impact on me: they brought forth an important message or story, or provided an outlet for a vibrant but underexposed community to celebrate beautiful art. All of them presented a piece of art, with performers and creators that had a clear passion and message.
These shows have made me proud to be a part of the Fountain family, and to get to work at such an organization. This blog post is bittersweet for a lot of reasons, the biggest of which is that today is my last day working at the Fountain. I’m moving up to San Francisco the day after tomorrow, and I’m going to miss the Fountain family so so much. I am so thankful to everyone here at the Fountain, and at the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, that made these past ten weeks possible! I know that I have people rooting for me here, and I’m so grateful for that.
This is me signing off – thank you to all that followed my internship saga and read my musings on theatre and arts. And thank you to everyone in the Fountain family for this journey. I wouldn’t feel at all prepared to jump into my next adventure if it had not been for all of you, and all I learned from you!
Our thanks to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the LA County Arts Commission for the support of their LA County Arts Intern program.
This past weekend was the biggest event of the summer for the Fountain: Forever Flamenco at the Ford. Since I’ve been working here at the Fountain, this event was something we were all working towards, and I found myself growing more curious and excited to see what all of the fuss was about. As a newcomer, Forever Flamenco sounded like an amazing opportunity to showcase a beautiful and unique art form to the communities of Los Angeles. In the weeks leading up to the big night, everyone in the office kept telling me about the fervor and passion of the flamenco community, and that I had to just wait to see it for myself. No amount of preparation, however, could have prepared me for the experience.
On the day of the show, I came to the venue early with the rest of the Fountain family in order to put out the VIP gift bags (I had spent the weeks leading up to the show working very hard to make sure the bags were all ready and had what they needed, so I was very proud of them), and set up a merchandise table up front. By the time it got to be about two hours before curtain, I started to notice a sizable crowd gathered outside, ready and waiting with picnic baskets. Once the gates opened, people came streaming in, chatting excitedly and eyeing our merchandise and flamenco fans as they passed our merchandise table. And once the gates had opened, the people just kept streaming in. There were people laughing and eating together, and greeting others in what felt like a true community.
Many of the people who approached our table were loyal, longtime flamenco fans who loved and appreciated the Fountain’s commitment to producing flamenco. Others were drawn to our beautiful fans, where they shared that this was their first flamenco show. It was amazing to see and be able to meet all of the different people that were in attendance at this big event, and to get to feel the pure excitement in the air.
Barbara Goodhill, Victoria Montecillo and Marisela Hughes at the merchandise table.
The show itself was truly something to see. With the extent of my knowledge about flamenco being pretty much the dancing lady emoji and the sounds of fervent stomping and complex guitar riffs coming from the rehearsal room of the Fountain that week, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I certainly could not have anticipated the raw passion and artistic skill that I saw in each of those performers. What I found to be most striking about watching these flamenco musicians and dancers was that each one of them seemed so happy to be there. They were all doing what they loved most, with a group of artists that understood that passion.
On top of that, I could feel the excitement and joy in the crowd around me throughout the show. During each number, the audience would interject with enthusiastic applause, clapping, and excited cheers. Families around me grabbed each other’s shoulders and clasped each other’s hands as they shouted encouragements to the musicians and the dancers as they did what they do best, and I truly felt like I was experiencing a new community full of joy, passion, and celebration. It was a truly unique and amazing experience.
I am so grateful to everyone at the Fountain, as well as the fantastic team of flamenco artists, for introducing me to the beautiful community of flamenco. I certainly hope I’m able to witness something like this again in my life.
Victoria Montecillo is the Fountain Theatre’s 2016 Summer Arts Intern. We thank the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for their support.
Actors Jenny O’Hara and Tim Cummings after a performance of ‘Broomstick’ at the Fountain.
3 Critic’s Choice Selections, Sold-Out Flamenco, London Opening, and Best Season Award Highlight Year
2014 was truly another unforgettable year for the Fountain Theatre. It was a year of extraordinary growth and achievement.
All three 2014 productions were honored as Critic’s Choice in the Los Angeles Times, our Forever Flamenco at the Ford gala was a sold-out success, and The Fountain was once again awarded the preeminent Ovation Award for Best Season in 2014. And the London production of Bakersfield Mist on the West End starring Kathleen Turner brought us international attention.
The year also brought the shadow of sadness with the loss of our longtime Subscriptions Director Diana Gibson. Her legacy lives on in the vivid memories she leaves behind, and in the Diana Gibson Subscriber Fund we created.
Here are some of the highlights:
My Name is Asher Lev – Los Angeles Premiere. ‘Critic’s Choice’ Los Angeles Times. Extended sold out run.
Forever Flamenco @ The Ford– Sold-out gala concert at the 1200-seat Ford Theatre.
The Brothers Size – Los Angeles Premiere. ‘Critic’s Choice’ Los Angeles Times. Extended run.
Playwright Tarell McCraney – Discusses his play, The Brothers Size, at the Fountain Theatre.
Tarell McCraney and the company of The Brothers Size.
Bakersfield Mist– opens on the West End in London starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid.
Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor outside The Duchess Theatre, London.
Gabby Lamm and Alice Kors – our two fabulous summer interns were terrific and helpful and launched our first Student Night at the Fountain.
Gabby Lamm and Alice Kors
Diana Gibson – The Fountain grieved the loss of our longtime Subscriptions Director, who passed away after a long illness.
Summer Internship Ends But a Fountain Home Remains
by Gabby Lamm
How do I possibly I write a blog post that encapsulates all that I’ve learned at The Fountain this summer? Without it being 100 pages and then some.
I could make a list of all the technical skills I’ve learned from the tutelage of Stephen, Simon, Barbara, James, Scott, and Deb over the past 10 weeks. Among many other things: I now know the ins and outs of soliciting: the necessity of following up, the intricate art of phone calls, messages, and emails, and all oh-so-crucial thank you note. I have practiced reading and evaluating plays, I have attended performances on behalf of the theatre, and I even helped to plan and execute The Fountain’s first ever Student Night. I have fought with my fair share of printers, and actually won some of those battles. These are all things that I can (and most assuredly will) list on my resume.
Gabby, Barbara Goodhill & Alice Kors
But that will not be my answer when I’m asked what I learned during my summer internship at The Fountain Theatre.
What will my answer be? Thanks for asking!
I learned how to work as part of a team. I learned about determination, about not giving up even when everything indicates that I won’t succeed. I learned the value of optimism and positivity when dreaming up a project. I learned how important it is to work through anxiety and self-doubt, and the amazing things that will then follow after putting those feelings aside and trusting that I can rely on my team if something goes wrong. I learned some really great jokes.
Best of all, I am now able to call a group of amazing and inspirational people my family.
Thank you to Stephen, Simon, and Deb for allowing me to go beyond what was outlined in my job description to experience the wide variety of responsibilities involved in working a theatre.
Alice, Gabby, William, Barbara & Scott
Thank you to Barbara for the incredible lessons you taught me, not only regarding fundraising and event planning, but also general life skills that have already begun to have a tremendous impact on my life outside of work.
Thank you to James for putting up with my near constant questions, whether about the box office and our patrons or the devil machines (also called printers), and for listening to my awful jokes and pretending they were funny.
Thank you to Scott for making me laugh at jokes even more terrible than my own, for showing and explaining the technical aspects of theatre not involved in my desk job, and for fixing my necklace that one time and my glasses that other time.
Thank you to William for bringing a smile and a positive presence every time you came to the office.
Gabby & Misty check their lipstick at ‘Forever Flamenco’
Thank you to Licia for enduring front row seats to the intern desks every time you were in the office.
Thank you to Terri for letting me watch the show from the booth (which is most certainly not built for 3 people, and making it work anyway).
Thank you to Misty for your truly invaluable help and support during Student Night and Forever Flamenco! at the Ford, and for letting me use your lipstick.
Gabby Lamm & Alice Kors
And, last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to Alice, my partner in crime and lunchtime, for working with me day in and day out; for encouraging me when I doubted myself; for providing endless entertainment, jokes, and snapchat opportunities; for modeling what it looks like to be passionate about your dreams and how to believe in a goal until you make it happen. Oh, and also for that s’mores sandwich on our last day of work. Yum.
I am very sad to have to leave my post at The Fountain, but I know that I will be back for every show and event that happens when I am in town. I am proud to call myself a permanent member part of the Fountain Family.
This Saturday night, August 9th, the Fountain Theatre honors LA flamenco pioneer Roberto Amaral at ourForever Flamenco at the Fordgala concert at the beautiful Ford Amphitheatre in the Hollywood Hills. Lontime dancer, choreographer and teacher Amaral was instrumental in first launching our flamenco program at the Fountain with Deborah Lawlor more than 20 years ago.
“Roberto is a flamenco visionary with a trademark style,” comments Forever Flamenco producer Deborah Lawlor. “As he continually strives to find new and refreshing approaches to the form, he has also found an enormous sense of gratification and pride in his dedication to teach and mentor others. Many of his former students and protégés have gone on to become stars in their own right.”
Roberto Amaral (photo by Sari Makki Phillips)
Roberto Amaral began his professional career at the age of 17 and has since achieved worldwide acclaim as a dancer, choreographer, singer, composer, artist and master teacher. From 1968 through 1976, he enjoyed success as principal dancer and guest artist with many of the world’s foremost Spanish dance companies, touring extensively with the companies of José Greco, José Antonio, Ciro, Alberto Lorca, Rafael de Cordoba and Antonio Ruiz. Also during this early period of his career, he laid groundbreaking musical history as co-founder, co-lead vocalist, writer, arranger and choreographer of the legendary band CARMEN. It was the first musical group to ever combine flamenco with rock/pop music, both audibly and visually, performing alongside such musical luminaries as David Bowie, Jethro Tull, ELO and Santana. For television, Roberto has been a featured dancer and choreographer on numerous programs, including The Academy Awards (twice), The Tonight Show,The Barry Manilow Special and the Madrid-based Antología de la Zarzuela. He is the recipient of an EMMY Award for his collaboration with choreographer Walter Painter on the television special Lynda Carter’s Celebration. He has founded several critically acclaimed dance companies, including Danzas de España, Ballet Español de Los Ángeles, España Clásica and Fuego Flamenco — each of which has influenced the pulse of flamenco and classical Spanish dance in Southern California — and he has produced, choreographed and designed over 500 dance solos, ensemble pieces, flamenco ballets, conceptual suites and production numbers. In his nearly 50 year career, Roberto has been privileged to perform in many of the world’s great concert halls, theaters, arenas and nightclubs, including the Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace, Sahara and Hilton International. In Europe he has performed at London’s Victoria Theatre, Paris’ Olympia Theatre, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, Madrid’s Teatro de La Zarzuela and Milan’s La Scala Opera House.
The Fountain’s Forever Flamenco series has been called “the city’s preeminent flamenco series” by the Los Angeles Times and “L.A.’s most significant venue for flamenco” by the LA Weekly.Working Authordesignates it “the rarest of treats… for both connoisseur and novice alike, ‘Forever Flamenco’ offers the opportunity to luxuriate in the incendiary passions of flamenco.” Dance writer Debra Levine says, “Performances feature superb gypsy guitarists and singers. Do you enjoy seeing the body in spellbinding motion? Great artistic individuality? Live music? Then go,” and Stage and Cinema’s Tony Frankel writes, “Thrilling, sexy and sensuous.”
Forever Flamenco at the Ford will celebrate Amaral’s seminal 49-year career with performances by dancers Fanny Ara, Manuel Gutiérrez, Pamela Lourant, Timo Nuñez, Rocio Ponce, Mizuho Sato, Yaelisa, Alexandra & Ryan Zermeño; singers Antonio de Jerez and Jesus Montoya; guitarists Adam del Monte, Jason McGuire“El Rubio,” José Tanaka and Antonio Triana; and percussionist Joey Heredia.
Those who frequent my site will be well aquainted with my boundless enthusiasm for the “Forever Flamenco!” series presented monthly at the Fountain Theatre. If you’d care to see from where this passion first arose, then your chance is coming. “Forever Flamenco!”, the once a year“Juerga”, returns to the Ford Amphitheatre on Saturday, August 9th.
For those never exposed to flamenco this is an opportunity of the rarest sort. Imagine attending a single night at the theatre and being treated to the talents of Olivier, Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. Or imagine going to a concert and seeing on the same stage Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, The Stones, Kurt Cobain, Lady GaGa and Chuck Berry.
This is what “Forever Flamenco! at the Ford” offers: a gathering of the greatest artists across the generations.
Manuel Gutierrez (photo by Bruce Bisenz)
Among those featured this year will be Manuel Gutiérrez, who began dancing flamenco at the age of four and was winning flamenco dance competitions by eight. Gutiérrez is the soul of “coraje” or spontaneity and to watch him perform is to realize that nothing expresses the masculine vigor in dance as flamenco does. You come to believe that when he dances the world must tremble under his feet.
Yaelisa is a dancer who can stake out a small portion of the stage and through her “cierre” (dance steps) bring forth a “desgarro”, “wildness” that is a tempest of tempo.
Mizuho Sato is a Japanese-born dancer and a testament to the global appeal of flamenco. When she comes on stage be prepared for magic.
Jason McGuire, “El Rubio”, does not “play” the guitar – he dominates it, and performs with the dynamism you’d expect of “The Big Bang”.
Yaelisa and Jason McGuire
Cantaor Antonio de Jerez is a talent one feels grateful for having seen. When singing, one hears the history of Spain in his voice.
Nowhere can you find grace more infused with power, nor the sorrow of the human condition expressed with greater perfection than in the music and dance of flamenco. All art forms evolved outward from ancient origins, and, sadly, in that process which serves to define their artistry that primal potency, the intensity of their source, is lost.
Not so with flamenco. It has held onto its dark and tragic history, and that pain which breathes life into the cante jondo, the grand song, is as profound today as it was three centuries ago.
Roberto Amaral (photo by Sari Makki Phillips)
This year’s audience is also gathering to pay homage to one of flamenco’s most esteemed figures Roberto Amaral. In a career spanning half a century, Amaral has excelled in every facet of flamenco – dancer, singer, choreographer, composer and teacher.
He has performed with the greats of flamenco such as José Greco and José Antonio as well as Santana, Jethro Tull and David Bowie.
The Ford’s open air stage, with the stars on display above, makes it the perfect venue for an evening profuse with this city’s rich history, for The flamenco baile (dance) and cante (song) were part of California dating back to the 1700’s and the ranchos of the Spanish crown. The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre was originally built in 1920, by author and playwright Christine Wetherill Stevenson who saw the rugged beauty of the Cahuenga Pass as the ideal setting for her “The Pilgrimage Play”, a work on the life of Jesus “transcribed from the Scriptures”.
The play was performed there yearly until the original wooden structure was destroyed by fire in 1929. In 1931 the structure was rebuilt, designed in the style of “ancient Judaic architecture”. Though “The Pilgrimage Play” performances were ended in 1964, the Ford Amphitheatre continues to resemble the gates of ancient Jerusalem.
The LA Weekly has hailed this event as “the rarest of treats…for both connoisseur and novice”, and I couldn’t agree more. But where they call the Fountain Theatre’s Forever Flamenco! series “L.A.’s most significant venue for flamenco”, I say rather, it is flamenco’s most significant venue in all of North America. With the Ford show, the most diverse and cosmopolitan audience in the world is given the opportunity of experiencing not just the star of flamenco, but its legends.
Forever Flamenco at the FordSAT AUG 9th (323) 461-3673
TV Episode to air Sat July 26 at 6:30pm on KABC-TV
Lights! Camera! Action! Two dancers from our upcoming Forever Flamenco at the Ford will be featured on an upcoming TV episode of Eye On LA. Flamenco dancers Alexandra Zermeno and Ryan Zermeno taped the episode on the outdoor stage at the Ford Amphitheater on Friday, July 11, with Eye on LA host and senior producer Tina Malave. The Forever Flamenco at the Ford episode of Eye on LA airs Saturday, July 26th, at 6:30pm on ABC channel 7 in Los Angeles.
The popular TV program highlights new and exciting things to see and do in Los Angeles. This new recently-shot TV segment highlights our thrilling Forever Flamenco at the Ford on Saturday, Aug 9th, celebrating flamenco in Los Angeles and honoring LA flamenco pioneer Roberto Amaral.
Alexandra and Ryan Zermeno had a great time shooting the TV episode on stage at the Ford. Emmy-winning TV host Tina Malave was charming with a playful zest for fun, dressed in flamenco dance attire. Alexandra showed Tina some basic dance steps and hand/arm movements. Tina did her best with her own enthusiastic flair and good-natured spirit. Fun was had by all. Alexandra and Ryan were able to share with Tina their excitement about appearing on stage with the all-star flamenco line-up at the Ford on Aug 9th.
Forever Flamenco at the Fordis the most prestigious flamenco event of the year in Los Angeles. International, national and local artists come to the Ford to perform in this magical one-night event. And audiences flock in from all over the region to savor the passion of the art form and the beauty of the gorgeous outdoor venue on a warm summer night.
Last year’s Flamenco Gala sold out. This year’s event is already selling fast. Get tickets at FordTheatres.orgor call 323-GO-1-FORD (323-461-3673. For VIP Tickets (the best seats in the best section, includes private catered reception) call the Fountain Theatre at (323) 663-1525 or go to FountainTheatre.com
It’s back!The Fountain Theatre returns to the beautiful John Anson Ford Amphitheatre with an all-star line-up of local, national and international flamenco artists to celebrate Forever Flamenco and honor LA flamenco dancer/choreographer/teacher Roberto Amaral. Forever Flamencoat the Ford is the premiere flamenco event of the year in Los Angeles.Under the artistic direction of renowned flamenco dancer Yaelisa and guitarist Antonio Triana and produced by Deborah Lawlor, the Gala Event takes place on Saturday, August 9th at 8:30 pm at the Ford Theatresin Hollywood.
Last year’s Forever Flamenco at the Ford was a thrilling success and sold-out the 1200-seat venue. Tony Frankel of Stage and Cinema declared it “Breathtaking! Explosive! Thrilling! Sexy and Sensuous!”
We are holding 100 of the BEST SEATS – center section, down front, up close and personal — and offering them only to our private Fountain VIP patrons. These prime seats are not available to the public. With these Fountain VIP tickets you get:
The best seats in the house: down front, up close, center section
Exclusive VIP pass to the private pre-show catered party with the artists
Festive hand-crafted gift bag with free flamenco swag
These prime VIP TICKETS are limited and will sell out. Click here to order online.Or call the Fountain box office (323) 663-1525. Note: These VIP tickets sold by the Fountain Theatre are tax deductible.
Since 1990, the dancers, musicians and singers of Forever Flamenco have been delighting Fountain Theatre audiences with the intensity, precision and exhilaration for which flamenco is known. Now Forever Flamenco returns to the outdoor stage at the Ford Theatres with this passionate expression of Spanish culture in a tribute to LA Flamenco pioneer Amaral.
Forever Flamenco at the Ford will be a once-in-a-lifetime gala event gathering some of flamenco’s finest artists together on stage, including dancers Fanny Ara, Manuel Gutierrrez, Pamela Lourant, Timo Nuñez, Mizuho Sato, Yaelisa andRyan Zermeno; singers Antonio de Jerez and Jesus Montoya; guitarists Adam del Monte, Jason McGuire “El Rubio”, Jose Tanaka and Antonio Triana; and percussionist Joey Heredia. Watch for more surprise artists, as well as a few guests and dignitaries honoring the accomplishments and contributions made by Amaral to the cultural landscape of Los Angeles.
Roberto Amaral (photo by Sari Makki-Phillips)
Roberto Amaral began his professional career at the age of 17, and has since achieved worldwide acclaim as a dancer, choreographer, singer, composer, artist and master teacher.
From 1968 through 1976, he enjoyed success as principal dancer and guest artist with many of the world’s foremost Spanish dance companies. With the companies of Jose Greco, Jose Antonio, Ciro, Alberto Lorca, Rafael de Cordoba and Antonio Ruiz, Roberto toured extensively throughout Europe and the Americas. Also during this early period of his career, he laid groundbreaking musical history as co-founder, co-lead vocalist, writer, arranger and choreographer of the legendary band CARMEN. It was the first musical group to ever combine flamenco with rock/pop music both audibly and visually, performing alongside such musical luminaries as David Bowie, Jethro Tull, ELO and Santana. As a television performer, Roberto has been a featured dancer and choreographer on numerous programs, most noteworthy being The Academy Awards (twice), The Tonight Show, The Barry Manilow Special and the Madrid based Antologia de la Zarzuela. In 1981, he collaborated with choreographer Walter Painter on the television special Lynda Carter’s Celebration. For this collaboration Roberto received the prestigious EMMY AWARD honoring his contributions as flamenco consultant and lead dancer. Most recently in 2012, he and renowned choreographer Liz Imperio collaborated on an exciting flamenco number which was featured on both the tv shows Q Viva and The Ellen Show. In 1977, Roberto formed his first of several dance companies, each of which have greatly influenced the pulse of flamenco and classical Spanish dance in Southern California for the past 37 years. The critically acclaimed companies Danzas de Espana, Ballet Espanol de Los Angeles, Espana Clasica and Fuego Flamenco are all companies Roberto has conceived, artistically directed and starred in. As a result, he has produced, staged, designed costumes, sets and lights for, and choreographed over 500 dance solos, ensemble pieces, flamenco ballets, conceptual suites and production numbers. In his nearly 50 year career, Roberto has been privileged to perform in many of the world’s great concert halls, theatres, arenas and nightclubs. In the United States they include California’s Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theatre, Forum, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, Ahmanson Theatre, San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts ; New York’s Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden ; Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace, Sahara and Hilton International. In Europe he has performed at London’s Victoria Theatre, Paris’ Olympia Theatre, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, Madrid’s Teatro de La Zarzuela and Milan’s La Scala Opera House. In 1990 Roberto began a critically acclaimed 7 year run of performances at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood. It was during this time that many California Flamenco stars graced the Fountain Theatre stage alongside Roberto in his landmark company Fuego Flamenco. Also during this period, Roberto choreographed and worked alongside Deborah Lawlor on her prestigious theatrical accomplishment “The Women of Guernica” as well as the Fountain Theatre filmed documentary L.A. Ole!.
Roberto is and will always be known as a visionary, with a trademark style of dance, music and art that he wants to be regarded and remembered as unique, innovative and impressionable. As he continually strives to find new and refreshing approaches to his artistic creativity, he has also found an enormous sense of gratification and pride in his dedication to teach and mentor others. Many of his former students and proteges have gone on to become stars in their own right. This commitment to dance garnered Roberto the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Barbara Flamenco Society in 2004. Roberto still looks forward to many more years of creating new projects and to the continued training and nurturing of his current and future students.
John Anson Ford Amphitheatre
Forever Flamenco at the Ford takes place on Saturday, August 9th. Doors open for picnicking at 6:30 pm and the show starts at 8:30 pm. Reserved seating is $50 and $75. Purchase tickets on or before August 2 and save $5. Tickets are available at www.FordTheatres.org or 323 461-3673 (323 GO 1-FORD). For Fountain VIP Tickets call (323) 663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.
Manuel Gutierrez at ‘Forever Flamenco at the Ford’
If you were fortunate to be at our summer gala concert Forever Flamenco at the Ford at the 1200-seat John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, then you remember the explosive dancer Manuel Gutierrez. His show-stopping passionate dance style was unforgettable. Well, good news. He’s back! Manuel Gutierrez will now be joining the already stellar lineup of Forever Flamenco this Sunday, November 10 at 8pm , at the intimate Fountain Theatre.
The show this Sunday night, led by the artistic direction of percussionist Joey Heredia, was already promising to be exciting and innovative with the inclusion of jazz musicians Pablo Medina (piano) and Oskar Cartaya (bass). Joining them will be dancer Mizuho Sato, guitaristKai Narezo, singerAntonio de Jerez and singer/guitarist Jose Garcia.Tickets are going fast. You don’t want to miss this one!
Now in its 11th smash year, Forever Flamenco is a Los Angeles phenomenon.
“Once a month at the Fountain Theatre, Deborah Lawlor presents Forever Flamenco, an assemblage of the greatest flamenco artists anywhere.” – Stage and Cinema
Percussionist Joey Heredia.
Forever Flamenco Sun Nov 10 8pm (323) 663-1525MORE