Tag Archives: Geffen Playhouse

Fountain Theatre’s audio play Numbered Days, a moving, true love story, launches today

Being Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to being swept away by the love and healing powers of music and the written word in Numbered Days, the true-life love story of two passionate artists who used the power of their artistry to sustain them through their “numbered days” as a couple. Playwright Corey Madden has transformed her poetic memoir into a four-episode audio play produced by the Fountain theatre that launches today.

How can art, and the process of creating it, help us cope with hardship? Numbered Days turns Madden’s poems about the battle with cancer she shared with her beloved husband, composer Bruno Louchouarn, into an audio art piece meant to bring healing to others.

Two-time Emmy®, Peabody and SAG award-winning actor Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) stars as playwright Corey Madden in an audio theater production of Madden’s moving memoir. Veteran actor Tony Amendola (Antaeus Theatre Company, Showtime’s Dexter, ABC’s Once Upon a Time) stars alongside Gunn as Bruno. Jeanne Sakataand Jack Stehlin take on multiple roles. Madden directs, and Jeff Gardener is audio producer, sound designer and Foley artist. Prominently featured throughout is Louchouarn’s glorious music.

“This is not just a play about living with cancer — it’s a play about joie de vivre, artistry, and how to get through the unimaginable. Art created healing for us, and that was nothing short of a miracle.”

Following her husband’s diagnosis, Madden began writing short, free-verse poems as a way to give voice to her anguish.

“I started writing on my iPhone as a way to cope with the stress and uncertainty, but what I discovered was that focusing only on Bruno’s illness and treatment was robbing us both of the very thing I wanted most to preserve — his life,” she explains. “The practice of writing about exactly what was happening in the moment helped me see the grace within daily life. It helped me re-focus on the joy of being alive today. Instead of living in fear, we were both able to experience joy through making art. This is not just a play about living with cancer — it’s a play about joie de vivre, artistry, and how to get through the unimaginable. Art created healing for us, and that was nothing short of a miracle.”

Corey Madden at Cafe Figero, where she and Bruno first met

In addition to writing and directing Numbered Days, Madden’s original works include Rain After Ash and Sol Path, commissioned and produced at Pasadena’s AxS Festival; Day for Night, presented by Santa Monica’s GLOW and featured in Poland’s Transatlantyk Film and Music Festival; Surf Orpheus, produced by UC San Diego and at the Getty Villa, and Rock, Paper, Scissors which was co-written with Laural Meade, premiered at Childsplay and was subsequently produced at Speeltheatre in Holland. Madden is also the director of And So We Walked: An Artist Journey Along the Trail of Tears created and performed by Delanna Studi, which has been produced by Triad Stage and Portland Stage and represented the United States at the Carthage International Theatre Festival in Tunisia in 2019, and will be released by Audible in Spring 2022.  Madden has directed plays, opera and music events, and multi-disciplinary works at the Mark Taper Forum, Public Theatre, Getty Museum, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Court Performing Arts, Trinity Repertory and Actors Theatre of Louisville, among many others. Madden trained at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She received her undergraduate degree in dramatic arts from UNC Chapel Hill and her graduate degrees in creative and cinematic writing from USC’s Professional Writing Program and USC Film. Madden is currently the executive director of the Monterey Museum of Art and was associate artistic director of Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, where she developed and produced more than 300 new plays during her 22-year tenure.

Bruno Louchouarn (1959-2018) composed more than 600 original works including orchestral and chamber music, opera, dance, film, television and theater scores, as well as sound and media installations. His remarkable body of work reflects his wide-ranging interests in music, media and sound, informed by his academic research in cognitive science, artificial intelligence and ethnomusicology. Louchouarn’s musical catalogue reflects the spirit and rhythms of Paris, Mexico City, Los Angeles and Piedmont North Carolina, the places he called home over his six decades of life. During his lifetime, Louchouarn collaborated extensively with dance, theater and visual artists including Suzanne Lacy, Jacques Heim, Herbert Siguenza, Michael John Garces, Juan Felipe Herrera, and his wife, Corey Madden, to create performances in which his moving and layered scores play a leading role. Louchouarn’s collaborations with Susan Jaffe on Metallurgy and Carmina Terra were among his most rewarding creative experiences. Louchouarn’s compositions have been performed at leading arts institutions such as the Kennedy Center, Royce Hall at UCLA, Cal Arts’ REDCAT, the Getty Museum, Juilliard School of Music, University of Southern California, University of Akron, UNC School of the Arts, Chapman School of Music, Occidental College, San Diego Rep, Boston Court, Pasadena Playhouse, Cornerstone Theatre Company and at festivals including Santa Monica’s GLOW, Pasadena’s AxS Festival and Poland’s Transatlantyk Film and Music Festival.

Audio producer, sound designer and Foley artist Jeff Gardener has designed sound and performed as an actor across the country. His credits include the Geffen Playhouse, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Wallis Annenberg Center, A Noise Within, Antaeus Theatre Company, Boston Court Pasadena, Circle X Theatre Company, Echo Theater Company, Rogue Machine, Matrix Theatre, Skylight Theatre, IAMA Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre (DC), Arena Stage, Kennedy Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Jeff can be seen at L.A. Theatre Works, where he regularly performs live sound effects.

All four episodes of Numbered Days are now available for $20 at www.FountainTheatre.com. Listen to it now, wherever you get your podcasts, with someone you love.

Acclaimed LA Premiere of ‘The Brothers Size’ Extends at Fountain Theatre

Gilbert Glenn brown  and Matthew Hancock (photo by Ed Krieger)

Gilbert Glenn brown and Matthew Hancock (photo by Ed Krieger)

Critic’s Choice “Dazzling” Los Angeles Times

The Fountain Theatre has been granted the rights to extend its Los Angeles premiere production of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney, initially announced as a limited engagement, through Sept. 14.

Directed by Shirley Jo Finneyand starring Gilbert Glenn BrownMatthew Hancock andTheodore PerkinsThe Brothers Size (like the other plays in McCraney’s “Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy) is an exuberantly theatrical drama that weaves together the pulsing rhythms of the Louisiana bayou with African Yoruba mythology to create a stylized story of love and heartache.

“The critical and audience reaction has been so strong, we eagerly wanted to get special permission to keep the production running,” says Fountain co-artistic director Stephen Sachs. “With the West Coast premiere of McCraney’s Choir Boy scheduled to begin previews at the Geffen Playhouse on Sept. 16, we hope to give Los Angeles audiences a little more time to savor this earlier play and this important young playwright’s truly unique voice.”

In The Brothers Size, recently paroled Oshoosi Size seeks to jumpstart his life, but working in an auto repair shop for his brother Ogun was not what he had in mind. When his old friend Elegba rolls up, offering a different direction, Oshoosi quickly finds himself torn between his brother, his loyalties and his dreams. The character names invoke Yoruba orishas, or deities: Ogun is the god of iron-working and. Oshoosi is the divine hunter associated with the human struggle for survival – cunning, intelligent and cautious. Elegba is the guardian of the crossroads of life, but is also well known for being the orisha of chaos and trickery who leads mortals into temptation.

In its “Critic’s Choice” review, the Los Angeles Times writes, “Shirley Jo Finney’s vibrant direction, the vivid choreography and songs, and the remarkable three-man cast make this intimate production richly theatrical.” The Hollywood Reporter raves, “Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney boasts a rare talent: an utterly distinctive voice. He sounds like no one else, his cadences hearty and beautiful. I am in love with his voice, and in all likelihood you will feel the same way.” The LA Weekly praises the “Gorgeous drift into song” and “intoxicating choreography,” concluding that “The muscular ensemble doesn’t let up for a moment. This is sure to be one of the season’s memorable productions.” And Eye Spy LA calls The Brothers Size “Impactful and stunning… one of those rare gems of contemporary playwriting that gives hope to the future of the craft… leaving one breathless and clamoring for more.”

Performances of The Brothers Size continue through Sept. 14 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. andSundays at 2 p.m. (dark Aug. 8-10 and Aug. 29-31) with additional Thursday performances at 8 p.m. during the month of July. Tickets are $34 (reserved seating); on Thursdays and Fridays only, students with ID are $25.The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Secure, on-site parking is available for $5. The Fountain Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call 323-663-1525 or go to www.FountainTheatre.comChoir Boy runs Sept 16 – Oct 26 at the Geffen Playhouse: www.geffenplayhouse.com

Put “Los Angeles” Back into the Los Angeles Times for LA Theatre

by Don Shirley

During the holiday season, the LA Times (aka LAT) demonstrated anew its curiously constricted view of the importance of the other LAT — LA theater.

Charles McNulty

Times theater critic Charles McNulty’s year-in-review roundup included a Top 11 list of theatrical productions, of which only two (Blackbird and Peace in Our Time) were LA-originated. Two other shows on his list, The Cripple of Inishmaan and Let Me Down Easy, were imported by LA area theaters. One Orange County production, Circle Mirror Transformation, also made McNulty’s list.

The other six shows on the list – more than half of the total – included a Canadian import McNulty saw in La Jolla (Jesus Christ Superstar), three shows he saw in New York (The Book of Mormon, The Motherfucker with the Hat and The Normal Heart), and two he saw in London (Luise Miller and One Man, Two Guvnors). McNulty also wrote a separate year-end essay that mentioned other shows, including four LA-originated productions, but they didn’t appear on his Top 11 list.

Whenever a critic tries to cover more than one geographical area in a year-end theater assessment, especially if traveling among the areas involves crossing not only continents but also oceans, I wonder how the critic could possibly have seen enough of the contenders in any one of the areas to make reasonably comprehensive judgments. To be fair to McNulty, it’s true that he wrote that these were the shows that “had me clapping loudest at home and abroad” – not that these were necessarily the best shows in the 2011 theatrical world or even in these particular cities.

Even so, a lot of readers probably assume that the chief LA Times critic reviews or at least sees most of the better LA shows. But it ain’t necessarily so.

RADAR L.A.

I looked up the record of what McNulty wrote about in 2011, courtesy of one of the databases at the LA Public Library. I found 52 reviews of individual theater productions within LA and Orange counties (plus one review at Long Beach Opera and a RADAR L.A. commentary that included brief comments on several shows).

It’s no surprise that he reviewed Center Theatre Group shows more often than those of any other company – a total of 13 in 2011. The surprise about his CTG coverage is that only two of those 13 were at CTG’s flagship venue, the Mark Taper Forum. Four were at CTG’s largest theater, the Ahmanson, while seven were at CTG’s smallest venue, the Kirk Douglas. McNulty wrote about eight productions at Geffen Playhouse and seven at South Coast Repertory. He covered five shows at Broad Stage (all of them imports).

So 33 of his 52 individual theater reviews in Los Angeles and Orange counties took place at those four companies, which are more or less regarded as the “1%” of LA theater by many of the “99%” who work elsewhere in the vast LA theater terrain.

McNulty also spent time in the major San Diego theaters, reviewing five shows at La Jolla Playhouse and four at the Old Globe (plus one at San Diego Rep, which he later re-reviewed when it came to LA).

Oddly enough, McNulty largely avoided one of our major theaters, the Pasadena Playhouse, even though 2011 was the year when it rebounded from bankruptcy. McNulty reviewed only one of the playhouse’s productions, Dangerous Beauty. He ignored the return of the playhouse’s Sheldon Epps as a director in Blues for an Alabama Sky (it opened the same night as the Mark Taper Forum’s Vigil – but McNulty didn’t review Vigil either).

Although 2011 was the year when A Noise Within moved from Glendale to larger digs in Pasadena, McNulty wrote only about the company’s opening show (Twelfth Night) in the new theater, not about the final season of three (better) productions in the former space or the new theater’s second show.

"Small Engine Repair" at Rogue Machine

He didn’t write about any of the four 2011 shows that won the top production honors at last year’s Ovation Awards ceremony (A Raisin in the Sun, Kiss Me Kate, Small Engine Repair, Jerry Springer: the Opera), nor has he has ever written (in his six years at the Times) about Troubadour Theater Company, which won the “best season” Ovation for the second time in three years.

He reviewed no 2011 shows at most of the companies that make up the middle tier of Equity-contracted LA theaters – the Colony, International City Theatre, East West Players, Theatricum Botanicum, Independent Shakespeare, the Falcon, Ebony Rep, Theatre West, Native Voices – nor did he write about anything at the larger musicals-only companies such as Musical Theatre West. He reviewed one production each at Reprise, REDCAT and the Skirball, plus the only Getty Villa production that was open for review in 2011. He wrote about one show each at the larger Pantages and Montalban theaters and at the Hollywood Bowl, as well as Cirque du Soleil’s Iris.

On the small theater (99-Seat Plan) level, he reviewed eight productions, including two at Boston Court and one each at six other venues. That’s eight out of the 371 productions that used the 99-Seat Plan in LA County in 2011, according to tentative figures from Actors’ Equity.       Continue reading

Thank You for Sharing: Comments from Audience Members of “Bakersfield Mist”


Daniel Bortz

Just a quick note to say how much my daughter and I enjoyed your play, Bakersfield Mist.  Since I love art, especially art from 1900 on, and especially the Abstract Expressionists, and Pollack. You had me before it even started. For my daughter it was her first “official” grown-up play. I just wanted to take a moment to let you to know I thought it was terrific, the theatre was full and the actors rocked it. May it travel far and wide. – Daniel Bortz (Dec 5)

Going to the theater can be a pleasure and such is the case with Bakersfield Mist currently at the Fountain Theatre. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe this production. But here are a few: Incredible script, brilliant acting, a performance that would easily win the hearts of the most demanding theatergoer. Move it to the Geffen or The Taper. The show demands to be seen. Thank you one and all. All the best. – Ronnie Greenberg (Dec 5)

Ellie Herman

What a lovely, thought-provoking, beautiful play!!  My God, the performances were wonderful– Jenny O’Hara had us laughing from the beginning and near tears at the end.  I was absolutely in suspense throughout about the painting–was it or wasn’t it?–and loved the resolution, which I didn’t expect at all.  I am so impressed by the complexity and depth of [the writing].  So concise and with so much meaning packed into such a small space.  So much to think about and talk about for a long time.  I woke up happily thinking and wondering about some of the arguments in the play.  All in all a wonderful evening–thank you! – Ellie Herman (Dec 3)

Thank you! Thank you! My sister and I really enjoyed Bakersfield Mist! What a great play, good writing and excellent acting by 2 great performers. We really enjoyed it. I can see why it has been extended again and again. –  Karen Hougaard

David Levinson

Just a quick note to say that we (finally) saw the play last night (after four sold-out attempts) and loved it.  The play was both very smart and moving and, I thought, really well-plotted. I also thought it was really funny. Jenny and Nick were both wonderful but, what was also great was that it has two terrific parts for older actors that should keep the play running for a long time to come, which I hope it does. – David Levinson (Dec 4)

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Final Two Weeks for Bakersfield Mist! Only 8 more performances! (323) 663-1525 or box office