Fountain Theatre Honored at Stage Raw Awards

Joel Polis, Jenny O'Hara, Matthew Hancock, Gilbert Glenn Brown

Actors Joel Polis, Jenny O’Hara, Matthew Hancock, Gilbert Glenn Brown

The first-ever Stage Raw Awards were held last night at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Downtown LA.  Founded by local arts journalist Steven Leigh Morris,  Stage Raw is a digital journal dedicated to discovering, discussing and honoring L.A.-based arts and culture. The Stage Raw Awards specifically honor achievements in LA intimate theaters with 99-seats or fewer.   

The Fountain Theatre received 13 Stage Raw Award nominations for three of its 2014 productions. Two Fountain artists were honored: Joel Polis won the Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in our LA Premiere of My Name is Asher Lev, and lighting designer Pablo Santiago won for his work on our LA Premiere of The Brothers Size.  

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PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Full House for ‘Rap Dev’ Series for Young Playwrights

Eager young audience waits for RAP DEV to start.

A packed house of excited and eager young people filled the Fountain Theatre last night with lively energy as the Fountain launched  its new play reading series, Rap Dev, serving playwrights thirty years old or younger. Created and produced by Fountain Associate Producer James Bennett and Jessica Broutt, Rap Dev (short for Rapid Development) is an informal, fast-moving evening that combines play development with social mixing.

Rap Dev offers a platform for young playwrights under 30 who may otherwise struggle to  get the opportunity to hear their new work read aloud in a professional setting.  At each Rap Dev event, a single 20-minute scene is read by professional actors from 2-3 new and unproduced plays introduced by each playwright. Each scene is selected by the writer to offer the best “snapshot” of the total script.  After all 3 scenes are read from each of the 3 plays, the audience votes for their favorite. The “winner” moves on to be eligible to compete with other plays in the series for the grand prize: a fully rehearsed and realized staged reading of the entire play on stage at the Fountain Theatre, with guidance from the professional staff. 

Short scenes from two new plays were read last night. Hands by Doc, featuring Verton Banks, Gilbert Glenn Brown and Adolphus Ward. And The Redhead is Coming by Bernardo Cubia, featuring Kirsten Kollander, Whitney Montgomery and Julian Silver.

As last night’s high-spirited gathering proved, Rap Dev is also a good time. The fun, informal atmosphere (not to mention the free beer) makes Rap Dev more than just a night of play readings. It’s a good party.

For more info on Rap Dev click here

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Fountain Theatre Celebrates 25 Years of Intimate Excellence

Co-Founders and Co-Artistic Directors Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor

Co-Founders and Co-Artistic Directors Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor

Fountain Theatre staff gathered yesterday at Hollywood’s Off Vine restaurant to celebrate the 25th birthday of the organization. The Fountain Theatre was founded on April 1st, 1990, when Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor joined forces to assume ownership of a charming Spanish-style theatre building on Fountain Avenue in East Hollywood that had been a rental house for more than forty years. Sachs and Lawlor had other plans.

“Deborah and I wanted to create an artistic home where theatre and dance artists could develop new work in a safe, supportive and nurturing environment,” says Sachs. “We were looking for the right venue. It had to be special, warm, magical. And feel like home.”

“When I first walked into the Fountain and stood on the stage, I knew,” adds Lawlor.  “The relationship of the  audience to the stage, the gentle curve of the seating on three sides. The way the audience seating embraced the stage.  It felt so intimate and inviting.”  

They acquired the building. The upstairs office rooms were empty. No furniture. No desks. No chairs. No phones. Laughs Lawlor, “We sat on the floor in the empty office and looked at each other and said, ‘Now what?'”       

They opened the doors to the new Fountain Theatre on April Fool’s Day, “the perfect day to launch a new theatre company.”

Happy Birthday, Fountain Theatre!

Happy Birthday, Fountain Theatre!

Over the next quarter of a century that followed, the Fountain Theatre has risen to become one of the most highly respected and well-honored theaters in Los Angeles. The Fountain has engaged thousands of artists and served hundreds of thousands of audience members. It has created new plays that have been performed in regional theaters across the nation, Off-Broadway, London’s West End, the Edinburgh Festival, translated into other languages and produced around the world, and made into a movie for television. It has produced the premieres of new plays by nationally acclaimed playwrights and was instrumental in launching and hosting the creation of Deaf West Theatre. Over 25 years, the Fountain has also blossomed into becoming the foremost presenter of flamenco in Los Angeles, producing over 650 concerts in its intimate venue and eight summer seasons at the 1200-seat outdoor Ford Theatre . And it holds the distinction of being honored with more nominations and winning more Ovation awards than any other intimate theatre in Los Angeles, winning the preeminent Best Season Award twice in six years.

The Fountain staff celebrates 25 years.

The Fountain staff celebrates 25 years.

Celebrating at the Fountain’s birthday lunch on the outdoor patio at Off Vine were Co-Founders/Co-Artistic Directors Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor, Producing Director Simon Levy, Technical Director Scott Tuomey, Associate Producer James Bennett, Director of Development Barbara Goodhill, book keeper Licia Jaccard, Board member Dorothy Wolpert and actress Jacqueline Schultz.

For Sachs and Lawlor, acknowledging the long list of achievements over the Fountain’s 25-year history is deeply gratifying.

“Most important, we are a creative home. We are the artistic home to a large and ever-growing family of artists and audience members who care deeply about the sacred and transcendent experience of sharing live theatre in an intimate relationship with each other. Human beings gathering together in a space, bringing stories to life that illuminate what it means to be a human being. This is what we do. It has been our honor and privilege to serve Los Angeles these past 25 years.”

Onward and Upward for 25 more! 

Now Hiring! Paid Summer Internship at Fountain Theatre

Seeking Undergrad College Student for Paid Summer Internship

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.
Supported by a grant from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the purpose of the internship is to provide an undergraduate student 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 position 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, 2015 or will complete their undergraduate degree between May 1 – September 1, 2015 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.
2014 Fountain interns Gabby Lamm and Alice Kors

2014 Fountain interns Gabby Lamm and Alice Kors

A 10 week paid summer internship (40 hours/week) starting no earlier than June 1 and ending no later than August 28. Pay is $400 per week.  The Fountain is seeking one intern this summer for Development.
                     
POSITION DESCRIPTION
The Development Intern will work closely with the Director of Development to create and launch new fundraising and grant writing campaigns. 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. Under professional guidance, he/she will learn and develop grant writing skills to create and submit new grant proposals to major foundations. To assist in gathering the data required for specific grant applications. 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.
2013 Fountain intern Lowes Moore

2013 Fountain intern Lowes Moore

SKILLS REQUIRED
The intern candidate 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.
 
HOW TO APPLY
Please email cover letter and resume to Barbara Goodhill, Director of Development, at barbara@fountaintheatre.com.
Deadline to apply: May 1st, 2015
The Fountain Theatre thanks the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the LA County Board of Supervisors for supporting the 2015 Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program.

 

 

Meet ‘I And You’ Playwright Lauren Gunderson

Lauren Gunderson

Lauren Gunderson

At The Fountain, we’re always pleased and excited to introduce important playwrights to Los Angeles audiences.  As we gear-up to start performances of our funny and powerful Los Angeles Premiere of I  And You,  we’re eager for you to meet award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson. Audiences have been enjoying her plays in regional theatres around the country. Now Lauren makes her Los Angeles debut with us here at the Fountain. We couldn’t be more thrilled. 

Lauren Gunderson is the 2014 winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play award and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for I and You.  She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her work has been commissioned, produced and developed at companies across the US including South Cost Rep (Emilie, Silent Sky), The Kennedy Center (The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful And Her Dog!), The O’Neill, Denver Center, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, Synchronicity, Olney Theatre, Geva and more.  Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You, Exit, Pursued By A Bear, and Toil And Trouble) and Samuel French (Emilie). She is a Playwright in Residence at The Playwrights Foundation, and a proud Dramatists Guild member. She is from Atlanta, GA and lives in San Francisco.

In her play  I And You,  two high-school teenagers who meet under extraordinary 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.

A Quick Chat with Lauren Gunderson

What is ‘I And You’ about?

This play is really about connection and the surprises we find when we really get to know people. In many ways it’s a Hero’s Journey but in miniature, so the heroes that we wouldn’t expect are two teenagers doing a project on Walt Whitman, but through a kind of, what might seem like a kind of vanilla assignment, blossoms this understanding and healing and a kind of transcendent communion that happens between these two unlikely heroes. So through that we found out about how we’re all connected to each other and life and death and meaning.

Jennifer Finch and Matthew Hancock in "I And You"

Jennifer Finch and Matthew Hancock in “I And You”

 What does this play mean to you?

This is a very special play for me because it reminds us that we’re all heroes and we’re all the main characters of our own stories even though we may seem not that in the privacy of our own homes, in this case, in Caroline’s teenage girl room. But from these really beautiful, profound, and private moments can come great stories, universal tales, about connection and meaning. That’s really where it stems from. I think that teenagers can teach us a lot, as much as we can teach them, so I hope that this is a play that finds some of its power in that teenagers can bring their parents and parents can bring their teens and everyone can come around this play and feel like it’s speaking to them and about them.

What was your inspiration behind all this?

Jennifer Finch and Matthew Hancock

Jennifer Finch and Matthew Hancock

Well I’ve always loved Walt Whitman— who doesn’t?—so it starts there. And I was really fascinated about how people find each other and how we impact each other in ways we don’t even know when we first meet. So that, spinning it all together with a bunch of surprises, a bunch of profound, funny moments, and really meaningful, deeper stuff, all weaving up into a play that’s about what we mean to each other. So in that way it’s a play I’ve been wanting to write for a long time, and through writing it, I’ve kind of changed how I know playwriting, how I tell a story, what a story is really about and what we want a story. so it’s changed me a lot through writing it, as much as I hope it’s changed people through seeing it.

Are there any similarities between you and these characters?

Jennifer Finch and Matthew Hancock

Jennifer Finch and Matthew Hancock

That’s a good question. I think there’s probably more similarity between Caroline and me than I would 11 like. But that’s what’s fun about writing, when you think about trying to write about really real characters, is you steal from yourself, you steal from your family and friends, you steal little details about life, and I think it’s those details that make it actually feel more universal. So Caroline likes cats a lot, she likes Jerry Lee Lewis, she likes Elvis, she has a very snarky attitude about things, but she’s very plugged in to herself. But in many ways I’m very like the other character, Anthony, too. I love jazz, he loves jazz. He kind of has a nerdy relationship to things that he’s passionate about, which I might relate to. But it’s really about really curious, smart, funny kids, and I think all of us hope that that part of ourselves is still alive and well no matter how old we get.

What do you hope audiences will get from this play?

I would love this community to get a sense that we’re all in one story together. Even though we might not think a 16- year-old has much to tell as 60-year old or a 50-year-old or a 40-year-old, of course they do, because we’re all human beings and we’re all looking for meaning, and we’re all looking to live a life that matters, a life of love and compassion and being understood. And those things don’t ever change, whether you’re six or 60. So I think that’s the biggest gift. It’s also an interesting thing to resuscitate Walt Whitman, not that he has any press problems, but when you look at a poem that’s over 150 years old and you find that it’s still relevant, I think it’s a metaphor for theatre as a whole. It’s an art form that’s so old and so basic, in a real fundamental way, still matters to us now, and can pull it together in one room and have on great cathartic experience together. I think that’s theatre at its best, and I hopefully this play is part of that tradition.

Previews start April 2nd. It opens April 11th. Get Tickets/More Info 

Fountain Theatre Honored With 13 Nominations for First Annual Stage Raw Theater Awards

The Brothers Size

‘Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock in ‘The Brothers Size’

Stage Raw today announced its first Stage Raw Los Angeles Theater Awards, honoring professional excellence in theaters of up to 99 seats for the 2014 calendar year.  The Fountain Theatre has been honored with 13 nominations:

  • Production of the Year – The Brothers Size Size Size
  • Direction – Stephen Sachs, My Name is Asher Lev 
  • Direction – Shirley Jo Finney, The Brothers Size Brothers Size
  • Ensemble – The Brothers Size
  • Supporting Actress –  Anna Khaja, My Name is Asher Lev
  • Supporting Actor – Joel Polis, My Name Is Asher Lev
  • Supporting Actor – Theodore Perkins, The Brothers Size
  • Solo Performance – Jenny O’Hara, Broomstick 
  • Original MusicPeter Bayne, The Brothers Size
  • Choreography – Ameenah Kaplan, The Brothers Size 
  • Adaptation – Aaron Posner, My Name Is Asher Lev 
  • Lighting Design – Pablo Santiago, The Brothers Size 
  • Production Design – Broomstick 

Full list of nominees

Stage Raw Award Night is April 13th at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Q&A Talkback Discussion with Real Reborn Artists Highlights ‘Reborning’ Matinee

DSCN1898Are you curious about the people who create those lifelike reborn dolls? Why they do it? How they’re made? We hosted a fascinating Q&A discussion with reborn doll artists Amy Karich and LaJuana Hawkins following last Sunday’s matinee of Reborning by Zayd Dohrn.

Amy Karich is a professional Reborn artist based in Southern California. Her online nursery, Amy’s Dollhouse, can be found at www.amysdollhouse.com.  LaJuana Hawkins is a sculptor of African American figurines who has recently turned her talents to reborning.

In Zayd Dohrn’s play, currently receiving rave reviews in its Los Angeles premiere at the Fountain, a young reborn artist who crafts custom-made dolls tries to unravel the mystery surrounding a new client and, in the process, discovers the path to her own “reborning.” Starring Kristin Carey, Ryan Doucette and Joanna Strapp, and directed by Simon Levy, the Fountain Theatre’s production has been named a “Critic’s Choice” by the Los Angeles Times, which calls it an “exquisitely well-realized production … All the actors are rock-solid — a real heart-stopper.”

Enjoy These Snapshots from the Reborn Artist Q&A 

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