SLIDESHOW: First Rehearsal for LA Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ‘The Brother’s Size’

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock.

Actors Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock.

Our thrilling Los Angeles Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s The Brothers Size is 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 WaterThe 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.

Enjoy These Snapshots from First Rehearsal 

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SLIDESHOW: Akiva Potok, Son of ‘Asher Lev’ Author Chaim Potok, Attends Performance of Acclaimed Production at the Fountain Theatre

Akiva Potok with the 'Asher Lev' cast

Akiva Potok with the cast from ‘My Is Asher Lev’

Author’s Son Enjoys The Play And Celebrates His Birthday

We were so pleased and honored to welcome a special guest to a recent performance of our critically acclaimed production of My Name Is Asher Lev at the Fountain. Akiva Potok, son of the novel’s author Chaim Potok,  attended the play, engaged the audience in a post-show discussion following the performance, and celebrated his birthday with the Asher Lev company upstairs in the cafe. It was another unforgettable night at the Fountain.

Akiva Potok is a filmmaker living in Beverly Hills.  After seeing the Fountain production of the stage adaptation of his father’s novel, Akiva commented to director Stephen Sachs: “Indeed it was a wonderful night. Your production of the play cuts deeply into the emotions of that family; I was very moved. The Q&A after was very rewarding and great fun for me. And thank you for letting me celebrate my birthday with your cast and crew.”

The Fountain’s LA premiere of My Name Is Asher Lev, starring Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja and Joel Polis,  has earned wide critical acclaim including being highlighted as Critic’s Choice in the Los Angeles Times. The run has been extended to May 18th.  

Enjoy These Snapshots with Akiva Potok & Company

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Now Hiring: Two Paid Summer Interns at the Fountain Theatre

Seeking Two Undergrad College Students for Paid Summer Internships 

Know a college student looking for a job this summer? A student who likes theater? Enjoys working in an office? Is bright, organized, good with people, and eager to learn? The Fountain has a job for him/her this summer.
The purpose of the internships is to provide undergraduate students with meaningful on-the-job training and experience in working in nonprofit arts organizations, while assisting arts organizations to develop future arts leaders. Students eligible for the internship positions must be currently enrolled undergraduate college students who are residents of and/or attending college in Los Angeles County.
Students must have completed at least one semester of college by June 1, 2014 or will complete their undergraduate degree between May 1 – September 1, 2014 in order to be eligible to participate. Students who have already earned a BA, BS or a higher degree are not eligible.
Students who have previously participated in the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program are not eligible to participate a second time.
A 10 week paid summer internship (40 hours/week) starting no earlier than June 2 and ending no later than August 22. Pay is $400 per week.  The Fountain is seeking two interns this summer for DEVELOPMENT and PRODUCTION.
DEVELOPMENT INTERN POSITION DESCRIPTION                      
The Development Intern will receive valuable on-the-job training and professional experience in researching, writing and submitting grant proposals to foundations and other funding organizations. The intern will assist in targeting and contacting new funding sources, creating and implementing new fundraising materials, assist in individual contribution programs, and facilitate special events for donors and community partners.  Other duties will include general administrative tasks, basic data base management, computer entry, administrative tasks, word-processing, phone activity, daily interaction with office staff. The Intern will be welcomed into the Fountain Family, requiring a candidate who is interested in joining a team and learning many aspects of running an intimate non-profit theatre.

PRODUCTION INTERN POSITION DESCRIPTION                         The Production Intern will participate in the production planning, coordinating and launching of the Fountain Theatre’s annual summer concert event, ‘Forever Flamenco at the Ford’, at the 1200-seat John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. The intern will work closely with the Fountain Artistic Director, producers and Technical Director to participate in the creation of the event timeline and calendar, the scheduling of artists, targeting of audiences, identifying potential sponsors. The intern will engage in all elements of event production including administration and planning, artist outreach, vendor support, technical coordination, marketing, publicity, social media. The 10-week project targets this specific one-night summer concert with the goal of successfully producing an important fundraising event and artistic experience of the highest quality.

SKILLS REQUIRED

The intern candidates must have basic computer and word-processing skills (PC, Word, Excel, Internet), good communication skills and pleasant phone manner, organizational skills, be detail oriented, and have the ability to multi-task in an intimate office environment. A sense of humor and a willingness to learn many aspects of theatre management. S/he should be self-motivated and have the ability to take initiative when required. S/he should also have a passion for theater. Excellent writing and editing skills. An ability to work effectively both independently and cooperatively. Creativity, enthusiasm for learning, and an outgoing, friendly demeanor.

Our intern last summer was Lowes Moore from Occidental College. He was terrific and a tremendous help to us for the 10 weeks he was here at the Fountain last summer.  He also had a wonderful experience himself:

“I can’t even begin to process all of the great things that have happened to me this summer. I’ve found a family here at the Fountain Theatre. Everyday forward I will be grateful for all of the wisdom and knowledge this experience has given me. This summer has opened up doors for me to work in many different aspects of the arts. This is one of the best summer experiences yet.” 

Lowes and the Fountain Family.

Lowes Moore and the Fountain Family.

HOW TO APPLY

To apply, please email resume and cover letter to James Bennett at James@FountainTheatre.com.  Deadline to apply: May 16, 2014.

This summer internship is made possible by a grant from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and its 2014 Arts Internship Program. 

SLIDESHOW: Production Design Meeting for Our Upcoming LA Premiere of ‘The Brothers Size’

 

Director Shirley Jo Finney shares her vision for 'The Brothers Size'.

Director Shirley Jo Finney shares her vision for ‘The Brothers Size’.

The design and production team for our upcoming Los Angeles Premiere of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney gathered this week 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, movement and sound supporting three talented actors. 

Director Shirley Jo Finney spoke to the designers and shared her vision for the play. Producers Simon Levy and Deborah Lawlor led the meeting with Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs, Associate Producer James Bennett and Technical Director Scott Tuomey. Adding their artistic contributions were set designer Hana S. Kim (via speaker phone!), lighting designer Pablo Santiago, costume designer Naila Aladdin-Sanders, choreographer Ameenah Kaplan, composer/sound designer Peter Bayne, music director Brenda Lee Eager, and production stage manager Terri Roberts

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 WaterThe 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. 

Enjoy These Snapshots

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Why LA Actors Do Theatre in Los Angeles

Blue silhouetteby Stephen Sachs

When Joseph Campbell spoke of the power of myth he didn’t have LA stage actors in mind. Yet a powerful and prevailing myth has spread for years in theater centers throughout the country about why actors do theater in Los Angeles. The legend claims that LA actors are somehow less serious and do theater only to be seen by casting directors in “the Industry” and not for the art of the work. This is simply not true. The idea that actors in Los Angeles only do theater for the purpose of showcasing themselves with the hope of being cast in television or film is not only an insulting and disrespectful myth, it is a lie.

As the Artistic Director of a leading theater in Los Angeles for 24 years and a longtime theater director, I have an insider view of the truth. It has been my experience over more than two decades that the hundreds, maybe thousands, of LA actors I have worked with do a play for one fundamental reason: they are passionate and committed to the work. The LA actors I’ve worked with have been fiercely dedicated, hard-working, highly-skilled, deeply impassioned and utterly professional.

I believe actors are extraordinary creatures. And actors who do theater in Los Angeles, even more so. They tackle challenges unique to this region, not faced in other cities. Particularly those acting in productions in one of LA’s many intimate theaters like mine where the pay is next-to-nothing and the reward is decidedly artistic.

The LA actor navigates a theater landscape in Los Angeles unlike any other in the United States. There are a handful of large production houses and a collection of mid-sized venues. These, however, are dominated by a network of more than 100 intimate theaters (99 seats or less) webbed throughout the region. And that’s what LA is: a region stretched over 469 square miles, not a city. An immense terrain of diverse neighborhoods too vast and spread-out to be walkable, connected only by freeways. No centralized Theater District.

Skyline-Los-Angeles-Night

Intimate theaters in Los Angeles operate under the AEA 99-Seat Plan. This one-of-kind agreement was created years ago to address the unique plight of the stage actor in Los Angeles. Overseen by Actors Equity, the Plan permits Equity actors to work in intimate theaters in LA without the benefit or salary of a formal contract. Actors are paid a ridiculously low stipend. In pure dollars-and-cents, factoring in expenses and wages lost elsewhere over the course of rehearsals and a run, it can actually cost an actor money to do a play in Los Angeles. So why do it? Because much of the most satisfying work and most challenging new plays are being done in these intimate theaters. Actors long to act in these plays for the same reason we ache to produce them: for the sake of the art. Nobody makes any money.

Debunking the myth, the LA actor often commits to a play under tremendous self-sacrifice, not self-promotion. They reschedule or give up Film & TV auditions, change their day-job schedules, cancel shifts as waiters, rearrange travel plans, postpone weddings, fail to attend funerals, miss family events – all to be in weeks of rehearsals  and then months running a play, all for next-to-nothing money in a theater that holds only a few dozen people. Why? Because they are dedicated to their craft.

I’ve seen LA stage actors turn down high-paying roles in movies and TV shows because it conflicted with a play they were doing at my theater. If “getting seen” by The Industry were their true motive for being with us, why would they do such a thing?

Actors may move to Los Angeles with the hope to make money in movies and television. What they find, however, may surprise them and save their artistic lives: a thriving Los Angeles theater scene of generous, talented artists. Actors may book an episodic to feed themselves and pay their bills, but they do a play to feed their souls and pay their dues as an artist. They come to LA to break into The Industry. They stay to be part of a Community.

Hollywood still heralds itself as “the movie capital of the world” despite the fact that fewer movies are actually shot here anymore. More plays are now produced each year in Los Angeles than major motion pictures. Yet LA still fights for its right to be called a “theater town.” The fact is: Los Angeles has more theaters and creates more theater productions than any other city in the world. More than New York or Chicago. More than London. That’s right. Los Angeles. How’s that for irony?

Los Angeles is also home to more working artists than any other major city in the United States, including New York. According to a report commissioned by the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), Los Angeles employs the largest pool of artists of any metropolis in the nation. Surprised? Los Angeles supports more than five times as many artists in the performing arts than any other US city, substantially exceeding New York.

Stephen Sachs

Stephen Sachs

I’ve directed actors in cities around the country, in Canada and the United Kingdom. The Los Angeles stage actor is as trained and as talented, as intelligent and inventive as any actor anywhere. A good actor is a good actor, no matter the coast. Sure, I’ve seen bad theater and bad actors in Los Angeles. I’ve also seen bad theater and bad actors in Chicago, New York and London. I’ve also seen truly extraordinary performances by actors in Los Angeles. In this respect, LA is no different than any other major city. If only it were perceived that way by the rest of the country.

The myth is that acting in a play in Los Angeles is only beneficial as a vehicle or stepping stone to something else more important. But LA theater actors, the ones in the trenches, the ones on the stages, don’t see it that way. To them there is nothing more important. They work too hard and surrender too much to do theater for any purpose other than perfecting their craft. Actors are artistic athletes. They need to work out, stretch their muscles, push themselves, and be challenged.

Actors don’t do theater in LA to be seen. They’re not on stage to serve themselves. They are here, like actors everywhere, to serve their art.

Stephen Sachs is the Co-Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre. This post originally appeared in HowlRound.

 

Smash Hit ‘My Name Is Asher Lev’ Extends to May 18 at the Fountain Theatre

Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja and Joel Polis in 'My Name Is Asher Lev'.

Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja and Joel Polis in ‘My Name Is Asher Lev’.

The Fountain Theatre will extend its critically acclaimed Los Angeles premiere of My Name is Asher Lev through May 18.

Designated a “Critic’s Choice” by the Los Angeles Times and “a moving and rich experience” by the Hollywood Reporter, the Fountain’s production of Aaron Posner’s award-winning stage adaptation of Chaim Potok’s novel continues to receive rave reviews in the press and enjoy sold out houses.

“Eloquent … The play resonates with double-edged truths … striking visual and emotional strokes … it unfolds in achingly personal terms,” writes the Times, while the Hollywood Reporter commends “a peerless realization by a splendid cast.” The Santa Monica Daily Press raves, “Just-about-perfect… [a] stellar presentation bound to resonate with everyone,” and BroadwayWorld calls the Fountain production “extraordinary.”

Directed by Stephen Sachs and starring Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja and Joel Polis, My Name Is Asher Lev is the powerful story of a young Jewish painter and his struggle to become an artist at any cost – even against the will of his parents and the traditions of his ultra-orthodox Hasidic community. Exploring questions of art, family, religion and loyalty, this extraordinary adaptation is a compelling look at the cost of individuality.

My Name Is Asher Lev Extended to May 18 (323) 663-1525  MORE

Fountain Theatre Wins 3 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for ‘The Normal Heart’ Including Best Production

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Stephen Sachs, Verton Banks, Bill Brochtrup, Tim Cummings, Jeff Witzke, Ray Paolantonio and Simon Levy.

Last night was another memorable evening for the Fountain Theatre, as our acclaimed production of The Normal Heart won Best Production of a Revival of a Play at the LA Drama Critics Circle Awards. Actor Tim Cummings also took the honor of Best Lead Performance and designer Adam Flemming won Best Video Design.

The Award event was held at The Colony Theatre in Burbank and was attended by hundreds of esteemed members from the LA Theatre community.  Representing the Fountain Theatre were Co-Artistic Stephen Sachs, Producing Director Simon Levy, and publicist Lucy Pollak.  Cast members from The Normal Heart included Verton Banks, Bill Brochtrup, Tim Cummings, Ray Paolantonio and Jeff Witzke.

“Our production of The Normal Heart was more than just producing a play,” said Sachs. “It became this powerful, moving and deeply meaningful cathartic event for the many people who came to see it and for all of us who brought it to life on stage.”

The theme for the awards show was “Family”. It was certainly another wonderful night for the Fountain Family.

For a full list of all award winners: click here

Enjoy These Snapshots from the Awards Night 

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