Playwright/Director Stephen Sachs shares his thoughts on the new play.
Here we go! A new year. A new season. Company members assembled on Tuesday for the first rehearsal of the upcoming world premiere of Human Interest Story, written and directed by Stephen Sachs. The riveting drama opens Feb 15.
In Human Interest Story, 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.
Lucy Pollak, Stephen Sachs, Deborah Lawlor, Simon Levy, Karen Kondazian, William Sachs
Stephen Sachs’ stage adaption of Citizen: An American Lyric won the Stage Raw Theatre Award for Best Adaptation at last night’s ceremony at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. Created, developed and produced by the Fountain Theatre, Citizen earned rave reviews in an extended run in 2015.
The Stage Raw Awards at the Los Angeles Theatre Center
Launched in March 2014, by Los Angeles theater critic and playwright Steven Leigh Morris, Stage Raw is a digital journal dedicated to discovering, discussing and honoring L.A.-based arts and culture. The 2016 Stage Raw Theatre Awards recognize the artistic accomplishments of intimate theatres in Los Angeles for the 2015 calendar year.
Adapted from the internationally acclaimed and award-winning book of poetry by Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric is a lyrical and provocative dramatization of everyday racism in this country. Stage Raw declared it “a transcendent theatrical experience” and theLos Angeles Times hailed it as “powerful”, highlighting it as Critic’s Choice.
Stephen Sachs is the Co-Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre and the author of thirteen plays. His plays are produced in regional theatres across the country, have been made into a CBS TV movie, and are translated into other languages and produced worldwide.
Sachs’ adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric will open June 3rd at the Pure Theatre in Charleston, SC, just four blocks from Mother Emanuel Church, as the city and the nation marks the one-year commemoration of the tragic shootings there. Future productions of the play are planned nationwide.
The cast: Peter Pasco, Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Lawrence Stallings
Did we have a good time Friday night or what? The cast and Fountain production team gathered for the first rehearsal of our upcoming LA Premiere of Elizabeth Irwin’s My Manana Comes. Directed by Armando Molina, this funny, fast-moving and powerful new play stars Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter Pasco and Lawrence Stallings. It opens April 16th.
In My Manana Comes, four kitchen workers in an upscale restaurant learn the hard way how to deal with pay cuts that could jeopardize their dreams for a better life, their dignity and their friendship. Fast-paced, hip and funny, the play brings to colorful life the camaraderie, sharing of dreams, competition and traitorous backstabbing that climaxes with a powerful dramatic turn at the end. Immigration, the minimum wage crisis, rights for undocumented workers, and citizenship lie at the center of this fast-moving, funny and powerful new LA premiere that examines the true meaning of “home” and how far we’re willing to go to get there.
At Friday night’s first rehearsal, producer Stephen Sachs welcomed the group and guided them through production business. Director Armando Molina spoke about his vision for the play. Joining the actors were Producing Director Simon Levy, Associate Producer James Bennett, Director of Development Barbara Goodhill, publicist Lucy Pollak, costume designer Magdalena Guillen, and production stage manager Emily Lehrer.
After business and paperwork were finished, the four actors sat at the table and read the script together for the first time. The play instantly came alive from the first few pages. Funny, hip, heartfelt, with a strong dramatic turn at the end. Instant chemistry developed between these four talented actors, feeling like these four characters had worked together closely for years. It was hard to believe the cast had just met Friday night for the first time.
Audiences are going to love this funny new play and enjoy the four dudes in this chaotic kitchen. My Manana Comes opens April 16th. Join us! The service will be excellent!
Gilbert Glenn Brown, Suanne Spoke, Thomas Silcott, Philip Solomon
“Maybe one day you will also walk many roads.” Nukain Mabuza,The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek
Our company of theatre artists began their walk together on the road toward our upcoming west coast premiere of Athol Fugard’s beautiful new play, The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek . Actors Gilbert Glenn Brown, Thomas Silcott, Philip Solomon, and Suanne Spoke met with the production and design team under the eye of director Simon Levy. This marks Silcott’s second Fugard play at the Fountain, who co-starred in Coming Home in 2009.
The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek is the seventh Fugard play produced at the Fountain since 2000. Producer Stephen Sachs spoke about the Fountain’s longtime relationship with Fugard and its fifteen year history of producing his new work. Director Simon Levy shared his thoughts on the play. Also present at the first meeting were associate producer James Bennett, assistant stage manager Terri Roberts, set designer Jeff McLaughlin, costume designer Naila Aladdin-Sanders, props designer Dillon Nelson, dialect coach Nike Doukas, and publicist Lucy Pollak.
This beautifully heartfelt new drama by Athol Fugard is inspired by the life of South African artist Nukain Mabuza. Aging South African farm worker Nukain has spent his life painting the rocks at Revolver Creek into a vibrant garden of flowers, the young orphan boy Bokkie now at his side. But when the landowner’s wife arrives with demands to stop his painting, the deep racial conflict of a country is viscerally exposed, and the seed of the painter’s legacy is planted to blossom in the rise of the next generation.
Rehearsals are now underway for our exciting world premiere stage adaptation of Claudia Rankine‘s acclaimed book about race in America, Citizen: An American Lyric. Only a few days into rehearsal , the new play has already inspired an honest, open and insightful dialogue between the actors, sharing thoughts and feelings about race, identity, human connection, self-awareness and what it means to be a citizen in this country.
Adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, the free-flowing and fast-moving theatre piece opens August 1st.
The talented ensemble cast includes Bernard K. Addison, Leith Burke, Tina Lifford, Tony Maggio, Simone Missick, and Lisa Pescia.
Before the cast was permitted to turn to page one of the script and begin the painstaking process of exploring and analyzing the text, it was essential to Director Finney that the actors have a frank conversation with each other about their own life experiences concerning race, social/cultural interaction and human relationships. To get to the heart of the issues exposed in this play, Finney insisted, it must be personal. The result was a spirited dialogue at the rehearsal table that was raw, insightful, painful, funny and enlightening.
Actor Tony Maggio and company discuss the play.
This powerful and thought-provoking stage adaptation fuses theatre, music, sound, movement, and video imagery. Snapshots, vignettes, a meditation on the acts of everyday racism. Remarks, glances, seeming slips of the tongue. Those did-that-really-just-happen-did-they-really-just say-that slurs that happen every day. And the larger incidents that become national firestorms. As Rankine writes, “This is how you are a citizen.”
Rankine’s acclaimed book is the Winner of the 2015 National Book Award, the 2015 Los Angeles Book Award, and the PEN Award.
At Monday night’s first rehearsal, producer Simon Levy guided the company through production business, scheduling and paperwork. Costume designer Naila Aladdin Sanders took measurements of the actors. Director Shirley Jo Finney spoke about her vision for the play. The script was then read aloud by the cast. Also present were Co-Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor, Director of Devlopment Barbara Goodhill, designers Yee Eun Nam, and Dillon Nelson, movement director Anastasia Coon, publicist Lucy Pollak, and intern Isabel Espy.
The meditation on race and truthful questioning of social interaction dramatized in this new work is timely for our city and our country. Our world premiere stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric promises to be the theatrical event of the summer and will certainly generate much-needed conversation. We urge all citizens to join us for this illuminating and important ride! Opens August 1st.
“Do anything, but let it produce joy.” ― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Our company of theatre artists for our upcoming LA Premiere of I And You produced joy at the first rehearsal Monday afternoon at the Fountain. Actors Matthew Hancock and Jennifer Finch met for the first time under the caring eye of director Robin Larsen. Matthew returns to the Fountain after his acclaimed performance in The Brothers Size.
At the I And You first rehearsal, director Robin Larsen spoke about her vision for the play and producer Stephen Sachs guided the company through the production paperwork. Also present at the first reading were co-artistic director Deborah Lawlor, producing director Simon Levy, associate producer James Bennett, stage manager Josephine Austin, dramaturg Christopher Breyer, and publicist Lucy Pollak. Once the opening business was done, the two actors read the script marvelously.
I and You is a funny and beautifully moving new play by Lauren Gunderson about two high school kids thrown together under unusual circumstances. Caroline is sick and hasn’t been to school in months. Anthony suddenly arrives at her door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ and an urgent assignment from their high school lit teacher. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, the poetry assignment unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. Winner of the 2014 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Playwrighting Prize, and nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play, I and You is a funny and haunting play about youth, life, love, and the strange transcendent connections between us all.
Director Stephen Sachs shares his vision with the company.
Wicked Fun in New Play About a Mountain Witch
Do you believe witches can be real? We had a delightful one with us at the Fountain this Saturday for the first meet & greet rehearsal for our upcoming West Coast premiere of the new play Broomstick by John Biguenet, starring stage/film/TV veteran Jenny O’Hara. In this funny and poignant new solo play directed by Stephen Sachs, Jenny O’Hara plays an eccentric old woman who may, in fact, be a witch.
Set in Appalachia and written entirely in verse, this charming and mesmerizing solo play is about a wacky old lady living in a odd little shack who just may happen to be a witch. Jenny O’Hara (Bakersfield Mist) returns to the Fountain in this funny, poignant and spell-binding tale of the magic of the human heart.
‘Broomstick’ set design by Andrew Hammer
First rehearsal was this Saturday, August 23, and a good time was had by all. Director Stephen Sachs spoke about his vision for the play and producer Simon Levy guided the company through the production paperwork. Also present at the first reading were co-artistic director Deborah Lawlor, associate producer James Bennett, designers Andrew Hammer and Misty Carlisle, dialect coach Tyler Seiple, technical director Scott Tuomey, stage manager Terri Roberts, box office manager Jessica Brout, intern William Sachs, and publicist Lucy Pollak. Once the opening business was done, actress Jenny O’Hara read the script marvelously. Jenny, of course, is well known and loved by Fountain audiences for her memorable performance in the smash hit Bakersfield Mist, and recently earned rave reviews in 4,000 Miles at South Coast Repertory.
Preview performances of Broomstick start October 2nd. The West Coast Premiere opens at the Fountain Theatre on October 11 and runs to Nov 30. More info and order tickets.
Our thrilling Los Angeles Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s The Brothers Sizeis now officially launched with rehearsals underway. The first table reading of this beautifully powerful play took place last week at the Fountain and everyone in the company — actors, designers and production team members — were blown away and deeply moved. It promises to be another unforgettable Fountain production, opening in June.
Award-winning director Shirley Jo Finney returns to direct The Brothers Size, the second play in McCraney’s Trilogy, following our acclaimed and award-winning In the Red and Brown Water. The Brothers Size is a hot-blooded, music-filled drama from one of the country’s most exciting new voices. After a homecoming in the bayous of Louisiana, the Size brothers, Ogun and Oshoosi, try to start fresh. This haunting, funny, and heartbreaking tour de force probes sexuality, coming of age, and the bonds of family as the brothers struggle to discover identity and to unearth a new sense of freedom.
The Los Angeles Premiere at the Fountain theatre stars Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock and Theo Perkins.
Fountain Honored for ‘Cyrano and ‘In the Red and Brown Water’ and Best Season in 2012
Last night was a memorable evening for the Fountain Theatre at the 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards. The Fountain swept all major categories, winning all 6 awards it was nominated for and, in addition, being honored for overall excellence with the Polly Warfield Award for Best Season. The Fountain/Deaf West production of Cyrano won 4 awards including Best Production of the Year. The Fountain’s acclaimed In the Red and Brown Water was honored for Direction and Best Ensemble.
The Fountain Theatre won 7 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards:
Best Season 2012 – El Nogalar, Cyrano, The Blue Iris, In the Red and Brown Water
Best Production – Cyrano
Best Director – Simon Levy, Cyrano
Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney, In the Red and Brown Water
Best Lead Performance – Troy Kotsur, Cyrano
Best Ensemble – In the Red and Brown Water
Best Writing (Adaptation) – Stephen Sachs, Cyrano
“Cyrano” team: Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs, director Simon Levy, producer Deborah Lawlor, playwright Stephen Sachs, actor Troy Kotsur.
‘In the Red and Brown Water’ cast member Iona Morris enjoys the gala.
The LADCC Awards ceremony was held at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. The LA theater community enjoyed socializing with refreshments in the spacious lobby before and after the event. The crowd was an eclectic mix of theater artists, producers and journalists. In attendance from the Fountain Theatre were Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs, Producing Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor, Producing Director Simon Levy, director Shirley Jo Finney, publicist Lucy Pollak, and members of the cast from Cyrano and In the Red and Brown Water. Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs accepted the Best Production Award for Cyrano on behalf of the both companies.
Simon Levy accepts Best Director Award for ‘Cyrano’.
“We are grateful for the Best Season Award because in 2012 we continued our longtime artistic relationships with old friends Athol Fugard and Deaf West, ” says Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “And we introduced important new playwrights Tanya Saracho and Tarell Alvin McCraney to Los Angeles audiences. Most important, our 2012 season exemplified the heart of our artistic mission: to create and produce new work that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles. Our four productions in 2012 included a new play by a Latina playwright, a new play performed in two languages serving the deaf community, the newest play by South Africa’s greatest writer, and a thrilling new work by a brilliant young African American playwright. ”
Deaf/Hearing Company Gathers for First Meeting at Fountain
They came from all over the world. And yesterday met face-to-face for the first time at the Fountain. The large company of artists and production team members for Cyrano gathered for their first rehearsal together, sitting at a long common table, energy and spirits high. A kinetic mix of veteran deaf and hearing actors, fresh new faces, old friends, those familiar with the deaf/hearing process of creating theatre, others new and wide-eyed.
Under the leadership of director Simon Levy, the first afternoon was dedicated to getting to know each other, completing paperwork, discussing the exciting new project, and creating trust and comfort in what Levy calls “the sacred circle” of the company.
ASL Interpreter Elizabeth Greene facilitated communication between the deaf and hearing company members. Fountain Producing Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor welcomed the group, pointing out that Deaf West was first launched at the Fountain back in 1991. Newly appointed Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs acknowledged his company’s historic legacy of achievement and expressed his excitement about leading DWT into the next phase of new growth and development. Playwright Stephen Sachsspoke briefly about some of the deeper themes of his new play. Actors Troy Kotsur and Paul Raci discussed the unique partnership between deaf and hearing actors, as the hearing actor “voices” what the deaf signs.
The world premiere of Cyrano is a modern day reimagined deaf/hearing version of the classic “Cyrano de Bergerac”. The setting is present day. Cyrano is a brilliant deaf poet in a modern day city. He is hopelessly in love with a beautiful hearing woman, Roxy. But she doesn’t understand sign language and instead loves his hearing brother, Chris. Can Cyrano express his love for Roxy with his hands? Or must he teach Chris to “speak his words” for him, to woo her? ASL becomes the language of love in this modern sign language spin on a classic love story.
Also at the first rehearsal were producer Laura Hill, stage manager Susan Karutz, assistant stage manager Terri Roberts, publicist Lucy Pollak, and ASL master Ty Giordano.
The co-production between the Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre features Troy Kotsur, Paul Raci, Bob Hiltermann, Erinn Anova, Eddie Buck, Maleni Chaitoo, Daniel Durant, Ipek Mehlum, James Babbin, Al Bernstein, Martica de Cardenas, Victor Warren, and James Royce Edwards.
Director Simon Levy addresses the company, interpreted by Elizabeth Greene.
Actor Victor Warren shares his thoughts.
Actor Daniel Durant expresses his excitement about the project.
Actors Eddie Buck, Daniel Durant, and Victor Warren discuss the play with director Simon Levy.
The table work begins.
Actor Troy Kotsur, playing Cyrano, focuses intensely on the discussion.
Actors Ipek Mehlum, Bob Hiltermann and Erinn Anova.