Rave reviews for our acclaimed current production of Daniel’s Husband have included hails for the beautiful living room set, designed by DeAnne Millais. The LA Times swooned over the “stylish panache of scenic designer DeAnne Millais’ Architectural Digest-ready spread.” A key element to the scenic design are the framed photographs adorning the walls. These were provided by award winning fine art photographer Sarah Hadley.
To fulfill director Simon Levy’s wish to have the set filled with beautiful high-end elements, scenic designer Millais remembered being struck by Sarah‘s ethereal photography recently seen at LA’s Brewery Art Walk. DeAnne thought it would be the perfect complement to the play and its scenic environment.
Sarah Hadley was named one of the “jeunes talents” by Paris’ Le Monde at the Fotofever Art Fair in 2015. In recent years, Hadley has been invited to exhibit at Fotofever in Paris, France, the Porto Photo Fest in Porto, Portugal, the Lishui Photo Festival in China; the Worldwide Photography Biennial in Buenos Aires, and the Ballarat Festival in Australia. She has had solo exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston, the Loyola Museum of Art in Chicago, Afterimage Gallery in Dallas, and Fabrik Gallery in Los Angeles. Hadley’s work is held in many public and private collections around the world, and has been shown in many museums and galleries including the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, FL, the Robin Rice Gallery in NY and Building Bridges Gallery in Santa Monica.
Hadley’s work has also been featured in publications and online blogs including ELLE Italia, B+W Magazine (UK), PDN, L’Oeil de la Photographie, ArtTribune, Shots Magazine, Don’t Take Pictures, and Lenscratch.com. She has received grants from the California Center for Cultural Innovation, the Illinois Arts Council, and several fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation.
Sarah was flattered to be asked to provide her photographic artwork for the production. “I am excited to see the play,” she beams.
You can explore Sarah Hadley’s work on her website. And view it live on the set of Daniel’s Husband, now playing to June 23.
Get a sneak peek at the set design for our West Coast Premiere of the Pulitzer Prize winning Cost of Living by Martyna Majok. The scenic design by Tom Buderwitz includes sliding walls that reveal a bathtub and a shower, plus video panels to evoke time and place.
Achingly human. Surprisingly funny. Cost of Living is a haunting, compelling play about the forces that bring people together and the realities of facing the world with physical disabilities. Opens October 20.
Lawrence Stallings, Pablo Castelblanco, Richard Azurdia, Peter Pasco
It was announced today that the Fountain Theatre has been nominated for seven Stage Raw Theatre Awards for two productions in the 2016 season. Our Los Angeles premiere of My Manana Comes by Elizabeth Irwin and the world premiere of Stephen Sachs’ Dream Catcher were acknowledged with the following nominations:
Leading Male Performance – Lawrence Stallings, MY MAÑANA COMES
Supporting Male Performance – Peter Pasco, MY MAÑANA COMES
Playwriting – Elizabeth Irwin, MY MANANA COMES
Two Person Performance – Elizabeth Frances & Brian Tichnell, DREAM CATCHER
Lighting Design – Jennifer Edwards, MY MAÑANA COMES
Set Design – Michael Navarro, MY MAÑANA COMES
Production Design – Dillon Nelson, MY MAÑANA COMES
It happens so often at tech rehearsal. And yet, each time it happens, it feels like the first. That magic moment when the colored lights are turned on the first time, the sound is turned up, the costumes are put on, the props are placed in hand. Suddenly the weeks of hard work in the empty rehearsal room blossom to life as the design elements add their wonder. This happened, this week, in tech rehearsals for our upcoming West Coast Premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll. It opens July 29.
The cast worked through their cues under the watchful eyes of lighting designer Ken Booth, set designer Jeff McLaughlin, sound designer/composer Peter Bayne, costume designer Terri A. Lewis and props designer Terri Roberts, all under the guidance of production stage manager Emily Lehrer and director Simon Levy.
The meticulous process of technical rehearsals — when light & sound cues are painstakingly timed and drilled — can be tedious. But the end result can be marvelous.As was the case this week with Baby Doll. It’s going to be a beautiful production.
Enjoy these snapshots from tech rehearsal. You’ll be dazzled when you see the finished production.
Design and production team at work during tech weekend.
There are no two ways about it. Tech rehearsals are a long, incremental process. Light cues are programmed into computers, sound levels are meticulously adjusted, set and prop elements are continuously added, costumes are inspected under actual lighting. Actors work out the timing of cues, all under the eye of the director. It can be a slow, repetitive and exacting undertaking.
Over 26 years, we have found the key to a successful Tech Weekend: donuts. Lots of them. Actually, our three sacred virtues of TechWeekend are Diligence, Patience and a Sense of Humor. The cast, design and production team for My Mañana Comes demonstrated all three last weekend as we began integrating the design elements into our upcoming LA Premiere.
The play takes place in the kitchen of an upscale New York restaurant. Michael Navarro’s red brick and stainless steel set design creates the environment. The seating at the Fountain has been restored to its original configuration (we were in-the-round for Dream Catcher) and the audience is expected to feel like fine diners with theatre programs designed like restaurant menus.
My Mañana Comes is a funny and fast-paced new play about four busboys in a fancy bistro who juggle plates, their friendship and chase the American Dream. Written by Elizabeth Irwin and directed by Armando Molina, our LA premiere stars Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter Pasco and Lawrence Stallings. It runs April 16 – June 26.
Construction underway for in-the-round seating for ‘Dream Catcher’.
Director Cameron Watson wants Fountain audiences to walk into the theatre and immediately be surprised. To encounter the unexpected. For his mounting of the world premiere of Stephen Sachs’ Dream Catcher, patrons will be startled the moment they step through the lobby door: the seating has been changed to a dynamic in-the-round configuration.
“This play is volatile and exciting,” says Watson. “The muscularity of it got my attention right away.”
Watson doesn’t want audiences to experience the kinetic energy of Dream Catcher in the conventional way. Instead of sitting in the dark and watching the play as an observer, audiences will surround the playing area on all sides and be inside the world of the play with the two characters.
Dream Catcher is set in an empty stretch of the barren Mojave Desert. The construction of a huge solar energy plant in the middle of the desert is threatened to come to a halt when the sudden discovery of long-buried Native American artifacts are found on the site. Changing the theatre seating to an in-the-round configuration opens up the space to help evoke a feeling of wide expanse. It also creates a sacred circle for the audience, a sense of ritual and ancient storytelling that is central to Mojave Native culture. Even the hoop shape of an actual dream catcher is circular, signifying unity.
“I felt like it needed to be a circular, almost tribal, space,” says Watson. “I felt like it is told in a ring. Communal. That we all need to be part of the experience and commune with the story. Inclusive. The circular space echoes the vastness and isolation of the wide open space and also the circular configuration of the solar field in the desert.”
The new set is being created by award-winning and longtime Fountain designer Jeff McLaughlin. Changing the audience seating required extra effort for Fountain Technical Director Scott Tuomey and his crew.
This is not the first time the Fountain has experimented with altered seating. In 1993, The Seagull starring Salome Jens was performed in-the-round. Athol Fugard’s The Train Driver had a three-quarter setting in 2010, with the audience seated on three sides.
But this current in-the-round seating for Dream Catcher is unique and has an immediate impact on the total feeling of the space. It is kinetic, energetic and alive.
In addition to the glorious playwriting, acting and directing, our west coast premiere of Athol Fugard’s The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek has earned joyous accolades from critics and audiences alike for its exquisite set. Designed by Jeff McLaughlin, the Fountain stage has been transformed into a South African hillside decorated with exuberant, vibrantly colored rocks. Guess what? Now these rocks can be yours!
Because each of these marvelous hand-painted rocks are truly one-of-kind art pieces, the Fountain is offering them for sale. They are too unique and artful to be ignored when the production ends on December 14th. Each rock is being offered for only $100. All proceeds benefit the Fountain Theatre.
Looking for a unique holiday gift for someone with an artistic soul who would appreciate a present that is out of the ordinary? Or a one-of-a-kind decoration for your garden, yard or patio? An original art piece for your home?
Has been individually hand-painted by artist Clairfoster Josiah Browne.
Is a real rock with a unique size and shape. Each is approximately two feet wide and one foot high.
Is covered with a waterproof sealant.
Your rock will be available December 15th and must be picked up at the Fountain Theatre. Each rock fits easily into the trunk or on the seat of a car.
Is this cool or what? Get this one-of-a-kind holiday gift or unique decoration for your home — and support the Fountain Theatre!
‘Broomstick’ set design by Andrew Hammer (photo by Ed Krieger)
Jenny O’Hara’s mesmerizing solo performance in our acclaimed LA Premiere of Broomstick has been rightly hailed by critics as a “tour-de-force”. The same can certainly be said of the extraordinary set design by Andrew Hammer. Andrew has created an absolutely enchanting witch’s cottage that is magically rich, detailed and charming and somehow manages to be both spooky and inviting at the same time. Audiences have been marveling and buzzing about the marvelous set after each performance. We thought you’d like to meet the guy who created the set — and all the buzz.
Andrew received his training at Pacific Conservatory Theatre and has designed sets throughout Southern California. In addition to set design, he is currently a paint and color specialist at Walt Disney Imagineering.
What drew you to accepting to design Broomstick?
First and foremost, the setting of the script was really exciting to me. A Disney-esque witch’s cottage in the woods? What could be more interesting to design? The recommendation of the Fountain from designer Brad Kaye was also a huge coup.
When you first read the script, what did you think?
My first reaction was “Oy Vey! It’s in verse?” But like so many works, it is an entirely different beast when it is read out loud by an actor. And with Jenny performing it? Well, she transforms it
What is your normal process in designing a set? Was Broomstick typical of your process or different?
Well, there really isn’t a “normal” process. What was specifically atypical about the Broomstick process was that [director] Stephen Sachs had a very clear idea of what he wanted and also an amazing sketch to communicate it. I’ve never received so much from a director before. A designer’s ultimate goal is to give the director what he wants, so it was like receiving Cliff’s Notes and made my job so much easier. Of course, I’m an artist and have a (GIANT) ego, so I did have some changes to make it my own. So much of the time, directors don’t know what they want. They can tell you what they don’t want, but that’s usually after you’ve drawn it.
What were the challenges of designing the set?
Unlike larger theaters that we learn about and cultivate our craft in at school, 99-seat houses in LA are always … well … unique, small and never ideal spaces, almost never designed as theaters. I initially envision the set way too large, and then it is a process of scaling it down to something that can fit within the space, and serve all the needs of the show. I wanted the set to be able to “transform” when she is in the thick of her stories, but budget and time and other factors designated that most of that needed to happen through lighting.
What influences did you want to bring into your design? What elements were important to you?
Stephen was also specific that he wanted a Disney look, which is a look I know well. I wanted to make the Witch’s cottage quaint, and beautiful, in a spooky way. I wanted to physically manifest her lack of sanity presenting her cottage as messy, and look like a period episode of Hoarders.
One of the fantastic elements of the set is all the marvelous and detailed set dressing. Where did all that terrific stuff come from?
I happen to be a Halloween aficionado, and I’ve been creating fake candles since I was eighteen so all of the candles and lanterns come from my own collection. I have [props/set dressing designer] Misty Carlisle to thank for letting me take over the set dressing, because I just went crazy with it. The endless amount of stuff onstage is a combination of the Fountain’s stock, borrowed items, and endless shopping at thrift stores. I like to get my hands dirty and don’t have the luxury of a greens man, so I took to nature to find branches, weeds and those pesky leaves that always get caught on Jenny’s dress.
How was your collaboration with the director and other designers?
Stephen is very clear at communicating what he wants, yet open to ideas. He’s very passionate and would very frequently perform moments of the show and describe what he wanted to happen. His excitement was infectious and made it very easy to get into. [Lighting designer] Jennifer Edwards and I have worked together so much, she is like a sister to me. I’m very spoiled that she’s realized that as long as I get what I want, I’m happy, and everyone else is going to be better off. She still manages to give the director everything he needs, make the show look stunning, and with only 24 channels? It’s baffling.
Your set for Broomstick is earning rave reviews from critics and generating a lot of excited response from audiences who see it. Does that give you pleasure? How does it feel to have a set design that evokes such enthusiasm?
Its very exciting, and it feels very good to get that praise. The finished set created a lot of very hard work for a lot of people, not just myself. There are moments when I feel people, and myself wondering… “Why are you creating this much work?” It’s wonderful to have that sigh of relief and realize that all the hard work has not gone unnoticed.
What is your current job at Disney Imagineering? What do you do? Do you enjoy it?
I’m a paint and color specialist with Imagineering and, yes, I am loving it. It was a dream since I was a child to work there and, by now, it’s a really pleasant surprise to have it happen. Because of my background in design, I’ve already been given buying and set dressing opportunities.
What projects do you have coming up in the future?
Design projects as fun as Broomstick are rare, so right now I’m concentrating on being at Disney full time. I’m involved with a number of super secret projects right now, including Disneyland Shanghai, and have already been asked to go to Shanghai, which would be very exciting!
The design and production team for our upcoming Los Angeles Premiere of My Name Is Asher Lev gathered on Saturday to discuss the many design elements needed for the production. It’s going to be a beautiful and powerful production with a fluid, quick-moving mixture of set, lights, music and sound supporting three talented actors who play a variety of characters.
At Saturday’s production meeting, director Stephen Sachs spoke to the designers and shared his vision for the play. Producer Simon Levy led the meeting with Technical Director Scott Tuomey. Adding their artistic contributions were set designer Jeff McLaughlin, lighting designer Ric Zimmerman, costume designer Shon LeBlanc, props designer Misty Carlisle, and production stage manager Terri Roberts. Composer/sound designer Lindsay Jones was out-of-town but a few samples of his gorgeous original music were played.
Based on the bestselling novel by Chaim Potok, My Name Is Asher Lev is the powerful coming-of-age story of a Jewish boy’s struggle to become an artist against the will of his Orthodox parents, community and tradition. Asher Lev could be the next Picasso. But as the son of devout Hasidic parents who struggle to understand the value of his art, Asher Lev is torn apart. He knows he is commanded to honor his parents, but he must also be true to himself. As we glimpse the pieces of Asher’s painful past, we witness events that climax in his most famous work and the decision that will change his life forever.A recent hit Off-Broadway and winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the John Gassner Award.
The Los Angeles Premiere at the Fountain theatre stars Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja, and Joel Polis.
Snapshots from the ‘Asher Lev’ Design Meeting
My Name is Asher Lev Feb 15 – April 19 (323) 663-1525MORE
A sneak peek as we prepare for Tech Weekend for the world premiere of our upcoming comedy/dramaHeart Songby Stephen Sachsat the Fountain, directed by Shirley Jo Finney. It stars Pamela Dunlap, Juanita Jennings and Tamlyn Tomita. Previews begin May 18. It opens May 25th and runs to July 14th.
Heart Song is a funny and touching new play about a middle-aged Jewish woman in New York City whose life is changed when she takes a flamenco class. Set design is by Tom Buderwitz, lighting design by Ken Booth. Take a look at some snapshots as we build the set and hang lights, getting ready for Tech Weekend.