First Rehearsal for West Coast Premiere of ‘Broomstick’ starring Jenny O’Hara

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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

‘Broomstick’ set design by Andrew Hammer

Jenny O'Hara

Jenny O’Hara

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.   
 

Enjoy These Snapshots of the First Rehearsal

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Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney Enjoys ‘The Brothers Size’ at Fountain Theatre

Tarell McCraney

Tarell McCraney

Q&A Talkback Discussion with Playwright & Company

Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney joined us at the Fountain Theatre on Saturday, August 16th, to see our acclaimed LA Premiere of his play The Brothers Size and engage the audience in a Q&A Talkback discussion after the performance.  The memorable night was a special treat for all of us: a powerful and moving performance followed by an invigorating and insightful conversation between the artists and audience.   

For the post-show Q&A, McCraney was joined on stage by director Shirley Jo Finney, actors Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins, co-artistic directors Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs, and producing director Simon Levy.

Stephen Sachs, Shirley Jo Finney, Tarell McCraney

Stephen Sachs, Shirley Jo Finney, Tarell McCraney

McCraney was genuinely pleased and impressed  by the Fountain production and praised its many successful elements. He was deeply stirred while watching his play unfold on our intimate stage, laughing loudly at the humor and moved to tears at its poignancy. Upon meeting the actors after the performance, McCraney knelt before them and touched the stage at their feet in respectful honor.  He expressed his delight that director Shirley Jo Finney so expertly captured the mythic universe of the piece.      

Tarell Alvin McCraney is a graduate of DePaul University and the Yale School of Drama.  He is a playwright best known for his acclaimed trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays, which blends myth with realism in the intergenerational story of an African-American community in Louisiana.  McCraney’s has been lauded as the kind of voice that can define a generation; Ben Brantley wrote of The Brother/Sister Plays in The New York Times, “It’s what people must have felt during productions of the early works of Eugene O’Neill in the 1920s or of Sam Shepard in the 1960s.”  McCraney is an ensemble member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which premiered his new play Head of Passes this spring.  He is also a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects in Miami, where he grew up in the Liberty City housing projects in the 1980s.  McCraney’s other plays include The Breach (2008), about Hurricane Katrina, and Wig Out! (2007), about a family of New York drag queens.  His latest play, Choir Boy, was produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club in June 2013 and opens in September at The Geffen Playhouse.

Our Los Angeles Premiere of The Brothers Size has earned rave reviews everywhere, including hailed as Critic’s Choice in the Los Angeles Times. It runs to September 14th. Get tickets here.  

Enjoy These Photos from the Q&A with Tarell McCraney

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Lipstick, S’mores and Being Part of a Family

Gabby BROTHERS SIZE Opening Night

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

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

                                   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'

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

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.

Our thanks to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and County Board of Supervisors for their support of the Summer Arts Internship program.  

Roberto Amaral to be Honored at ‘Forever Flamenco at the Ford’ Gala Concert Aug 9

Roberto Amaral (Ford Amphitheatre, 2009)

Roberto Amaral (Ford Amphitheatre, 2009)

This Saturday night, August 9th, the Fountain Theatre honors LA flamenco pioneer Roberto Amaral at our Forever Flamenco at the Ford  gala 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 (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 PonceMizuho Sato, Yaelisa, Alexandra & Ryan Zermeño; singers Antonio de Jerez and Jesus Montoya; guitarists Adam del Monte, Jason McGuireEl Rubio,” José Tanaka and Antonio Triana; and percussionist Joey Heredia.

To Order tickets: FordTheatres.org

NEW VIDEO: Try A Little Tenderness with ‘The Brothers Size’ at the Fountain Theatre

Enjoy this new video clip from our smash hit Los Angeles Premiere of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Directed by Shirley Jo Finney and starring Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock and Theodore Perkins, this powerful and heartfelt play about brotherly love has earned rave reviews everywhere and has now been extended to September 14.

In this unforgettable moment of music from the play, the two brothers take a break from their often heated and combustible relationship to … share a little tenderness.

The Brothers Size Now Playing to Sept 14 (323) 663-1525  MORE

   

Passionate Star Power Lights Up ‘Forever Flamenco at the Ford’ on Aug 9

Mizuho Sato (photo by Bruce Bisenz)

Mizuho Sato (photo by Bruce Bisenz)

by Ernest Kearney

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

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_Jason_Two

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

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.

Antonio Triana

Antonio Triana

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 Ford SAT AUG 9th (323) 461-3673

Young Audiences Enjoy Student Night at the Fountain Theatre

 Students gather in the Fountain Cafe before the performance.

Students gather in the Fountain Cafe before the performance.

Students See ‘The Brothers Size’ with Q&A and Party After

Was that fun, or what? Last night was our first Student Night at the Fountain. And judging from the energy it created, it won’t be our last. Created and launched by our two fab interns Alice Kors and Gabby Lamm, Student Night targeted young audiences to encourage them to see our acclaimed LA Premiere of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney.  The evening also included a Q&A discussion with the cast and director followed by a party upstairs in the cafe.

For many students, this was their first visit to the Fountain Theatre. For one student, it was the first play she had ever seen. “It was wonderful,” she beamed. “Theatre is better than TV! Now I want to see more.”

Our interns Alice and Gabby worked very hard creating, producing and hosting the event. Their enthusiastic labor paid off last night and well into the future: Student Night will now become a regular ongoing program at the Fountain.  

Directed by Shirley Jo Finney and starring Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock and Theodore Perkins, our Los Angeles premiere of The Brothers Size is earning rave reviews everywhere. It is highlighted as Critic’s Choice in the LA Times and is “Ovation Recommended’.  This powerful, joyous and deeply moving production has been extended to September 14.

Enjoy These Snapshots from Student Night

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