Tag Archives: A House Not Meant to Stand

Meet the Cast of the West Coast Premiere of ‘On the Spectrum’ at the Fountain Theatre

Spectrum_image_2

Casting is now complete for our upcoming West Coast Premiere of On the Spectrum by Ken LaZebnik, directed by Jacqueline Schultz. Awarded a 2012 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award citation and granted a 2011 Edgerton Foundation New American Play award, On the Spectrum is a funny and touching love story between a young man with Asperger’s and a young woman with autism. Previews begin March 9th and it opens March 16th.

Meet The Cast:

Dan ShakedDan Shaked (Mac) is from New York and making his Fountain Theatre debut. He is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts drama program and studied at The Lee Strasberg Film/Theater Institute and at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He can be seen in the upcoming films “The Broken” and “Homeward”, the TV movie “Gilded Lilys” with Blythe Danner, and was a guest star on ABC’s “Body of Proof”.  He played the lead role in the film  “Storm up the Sky,” selected for the Tribeca Film Festival. He has worked at LaMaMA in New York City and played the lead role in Boston’s UnderGround Railway Theater’s production of Naomi Wallace’s “The Fever Chart” at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge.

Virginia NewcombVirginia Newcomb (Iris) was last seen at the Fountain Theatre in the 2011 West Coast Premiere of the rarely-seen Tennessee Williams play A House Not Meant to Stand. She recently co-starred on stage in The Grapes of Wrath at Knightsbridge Theatre, Sweet Bird of Youth at the Marilyn Monroe  Theatre and This Property is Condemned at the Globe Playhouse. She has appeared on TV’s “The Office” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and can be seen in the new comedy webseries “Bandmates“. Virginia stars in the lead role in “The Boogeyman”, a feature film based on Stephen King’s short story.

Jeanie-HackettJeanie Hackett (Elisabeth) is well known to Los Angeles theater audiences. She served as Artistic Director of two prestigious Los Angeles ensemble companies: The Classical Theatre Lab & The Antaeus Company. She has played several roles for LA Theater Works, including Trifles with Amy Madigan. And with The Antaeus Company: Tonight at 8:30 & The Autumn Garden, along with numerous readings & workshops. Broadway credits include Stella in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (with Blythe Danner) at Circle in the Square & Belle in Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness at the Roundabout. Off-Broadway she’s been seen in new plays at Soho Rep, The Promenade & The Harold Clurman Theaters. She received her Equity card at the Williamstown Theater Festival where she appeared in over a dozen plays such as The Greeks, Room Service, The Bay at Nice, Summerfolk The Front Page among others. She’s performed at the Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Center Theater Group, Long Wharf, Three River Shakespeare Festival & The Tennessee Williams Arts Center playing leading roles in Richard III (Lady Anne) The Winter’s Tale (Perdita, Hermione) The Taming of The Shrew (Kate) Hamlet (Ophelia) Cyrano de Bergerac (Roxanne) Uncle Vanya (Yelena) Old Times (Kate) Arms and The Man (Louka) How the Other Half Loves(Teresa) Vieux Carre (Jane Sparks) & Present Laughter (Joanna) among others. Other LA Theater credits include: The Seagull (Matrix), Black Box (Odyssey), Phaedra (Getty Villa), Light Pera Palas (Theatre@Boston Court), Kate Crackernuts (24th Street Theater) & Andromache in The Trojan Women at CBS Radford. Recent film work includes: The Words (with Bradley Cooper & Dennis Quaid),Take Me Home Tonight (with Topher Grace), King of California (with Michael Douglas) & Post Grad (with Michael O’Keefe & Carol Burnett.) Favorite television work: Lie to Me, Lincoln Heights, Medium, Criminal Minds, The “L” Word, Charmed, Judging Amy (recurring) & playing Queen Margaret from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 3 on The West Wing. On the Spectrum marks her debut at the Fountain Theatre.

On the Spectrum March 16 – April 29 (323) 663-1525  More Info

BroadwayWorld: Fountain and Deaf West Theaters present Premiere of Signed “Cyrano”

Paul Raci (Chris), Erinn Anova (Roxy), and Troy Kotsur (Cyrano).

The Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre present the world premiere of a modern day classic romance, a re-imagined signed/spoken version of “Cyrano de Bergerac.” CYRANO, written by Fountain Theatre co-artistic director Stephen Sachs (Bakersfield Mist) and directed by Simon Levy, opens at The Fountain Theatre on April 28, with previews beginning April 20.

In Sachs’ new adaptation, Cyrano is a deaf poet hopelessly in love with Roxy, a beautiful hearing woman. But she doesn’t understand sign language and instead loves Chris, his hearing brother. Can Cyrano express his love to Roxy with his hands? Or must he teach Chris to woo her, to “speak his words” for him? ASL (American Sign Language) becomes the language of love in this new spin on a classic love story.

Troy Kotsur (Cyrano).

“In the original classic, Cyrano feels self-conscious and over-glorifies his enormous nose, but in this modern deaf version, it’s his hands that are the focus,” explains Sachs. “Cyrano’s deafness is channeled through his hands, which swirl and soar to express the most complex human concepts, his inner-most thoughts and feelings, through the beauty of sign language.”

“It’s a mythic story about our hunger for love, the pangs for it,” says Levy. “But the deeper theme is how we communicate with one another. Stephen has written a beautiful adaptation that’s contemporary and fresh, set in a modern city where people communicate via text, Facebook and Twitter. It’s a world of iPhones, Blackberries and tablets. The production marries three forms of communication: ASL, English, and e-language.”

American Sign Language is not English, but a unique language unto itself with its own syntax, sentence structure, slang, humor, subtlety and complexity. It’s the job of ASL masters Tyrone Giordano and Shoshannah Stern to work with the deaf actors to translate the script into ASL, and director Simon Levy works with ASL interpreters in rehearsals. Fight choreographers Brian Danner and Abby Walla must not only create a fight scene between actors Troy Kotsur (Cyrano) and James Royce Edwards, but incorporate the simultaneous sign language with the help of Giordano, Stern and Levy.

A new project such as this has attracted deaf actors from all over the world. Six of the 13-member ensemble are deaf, and many of them have traveled great distances to make their Los Angeles debuts in Cyrano. Auditions were completed using Skype and video submissions.

“Deaf West is the only established theater company in the U.S. that regularly stages new works featuring deaf actors,” notes newly appointed Deaf West Theatre artistic director David Kurs. “Deaf actors from all over the country and the world were anxious to participate.”

Troy Kotsur is Cyrano.

Troy Kotsur (Cyrano), a veteran of Deaf West Theatre (Big River, Pippin, A Streetcar Named Desire, Of Mice and Men), traveled to Los Angeles from his current home in Arizona; Daniel Durant majored in theater at Gallaudet University and comes to L.A. from Maryland; Eddie Buck, who has acted in productions ranging from A Christmas Carol to Romeo and Juliet to Hamlet, joins the cast from Pennsylvania; Maleni Chaitoo (Switched at Birth) recently arrived from New York; and stage, film and TV actress Ipek D. Mehlum comes all the way from Oslo, Norway. Completing the deaf cast is Los Angeles-based actor Bob Hiltermann, who appeared in the Academy Award winning film version of Children of a Lesser God and recurred on All My Children. The cast also includes hearing actors Erinn Anova (Blues For An Alabama Sky, For Colored Girls…, Doubt) as Roxy and Paul Raci (Joseph Jefferson “Best Actor” nomination for Children of a Lesser God in Chicago) as Cyrano’s brother Chris. Hearing ensemble members Al Bernstein, James Babbin, James Royce Edwards, Victor Warren, and Martica De Cardenas also “voice” for the deaf actors.

The set designer for Cyrano is Jeff McLaughlin; lighting designer is Jeremy Pivnick; sound designer is Peter Bayne; video designer is Jeff Teeter; multimedia tech is by Media Fabricators, Inc.; costume designer is Naila Aladdin Sanders; prop designer is Misty Carlisle; fight choreographers are Brian Danner and Abby Walla; production stage manager is Sue Karutz; assistant stage manager is Terri RobertsLaura Hill and Deborah Lawlor produce for The Fountain Theatre, and David Kurs produces for Deaf West Theatre. Cyrano is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Paul Raci (Chris) and Troy Kotsur (Cyrano).

The relationship between The Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre dates back 21 years to the early beginnings of both companies. Excited by the visual theatricality of ASL, Stephen Sachs had already been conducting workshops with deaf actors for a number of years. He and Fountain co-artistic director Deborah Lawlor offered office space in their newly founded theater facility to Ed Waterstreet, an actor with National Theatre of the Deaf who envisioned starting a theater company for deaf actors in Los Angeles. Deaf West Theatre produced its first two productions, The Gin Game and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (the latter directed by Sachs) in the Fountain space. Deaf West Theatre went on to produce 40 plays and four musicals in their own venue and around the country, including the Tony-nominated Big River on Broadway, and to win more than 80 theater awards. The Fountain Theatre is one of the most successful intimate theaters in Los Angeles with over 200 awards for all areas of production, performance, and design. Fountain projects have been seen in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Florida, New Jersey, Minneapolis and Edinburgh.

Cyrano marks Stephen Sachs’ ninth new play, his third incorporating deaf culture and illuminating the deaf world. His play Sweet Nothing in my Ear (1997, PEN USA Literary Award finalist, Media Access Award winner for Theater Excellence) has been produced in theaters around the country and in 2008 was made into a TV movie for CBS starring Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin and Jeff DanielsOpen Window (2005, Media Access Award winner for Theater Excellence) had its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse, directed by Eric Simonson. His other plays include Bakersfield Mist (recently optioned for London’s West End and New York), Miss Julie: Freedom Summer (Fountain Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse,Canadian Stage Company, LA Drama Critics Circle award and LA Weekly award nominations for Best Adaptation), Gilgamesh (Theatre @ Boston Court), Central Avenue (PEN USA Literary Award finalist, Back Stage Garland award, Best Play), Mother’s Day, The Golden Gate (Best Play, Drama-Logue), and The Baron in the Trees. Sachs co-founded The Fountain Theatre with Deborah Lawlor in 1990.

Simon Levy was honored with the 2011 Milton Katselas Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. Directing credits at the Fountain include A House Not Meant to Stand; Opus; Photograph 51;The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore; The Gimmick with Dael Orlandersmith (Ovation Award-Solo Performance); Master Class (Ovation Award-Best Production); Daisy in the Dreamtime; Going to St. Ives; The Night of the Iguana; Summer & Smoke (Ovation Award-Best Production); The Last Tycoon, which he wrote and directed, (5 Back Stage West awards, including Best Adaptation and Direction); and Orpheus Descending (6 Drama-Logue awards, including Best Production and Direction). What I Heard About Iraq, which he wrote and directed, was produced worldwide including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Fringe First Award) and the Adelaide Fringe Festival (Fringe Award), was produced by BBC Radio, and received a 30-city UK tour culminating in London.

Troy Kotsur (Cyrano) and Erinn Anova (Roxy).

Cyrano opens on Saturday, April 28, with performances Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays @ 8 pm and Sundays @ 2 pm through June 10. Preview performances take place April 20-27 on the same schedule with an additional preview performance on Wednesday, April 25 @ 8 pm. Tickets are $30 on Thursdays and Fridays and $34 on Saturdays and Sundays, except previews which are $15. On Thursdays and Fridays only, students with ID are $20 and seniors are $25. The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Secure, on-site parking is available for $5. The Fountain Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call 323 663-1525 or go to www.FountainTheatre.com.

Photo Credit: Ed Kreiger 

Fountain Earns 9 LA Weekly Theater Award Nominations, including “Best Revival Production of the Year” and “Best New Play”

“A House Not Meant to Stand” and “Bakersfield Mist”

"A House Not Meant to Stand"

On April 2, L.A. Weekly will honor the best work on intimate stages in Los Angeles from 2011 at the 33rd annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards. The Fountain Theatre has received 9 LA Weekly Theater Award nominations for plays produced in 2011.

  • Revival Production of the Year – House Not Meant to Stand
  • Lead Female Performance - Sandy Martin, A House Not Meant to Stand
  • Supporting Female PerformanceLisa Richards, A House Not Meant to Stand
  • Two-Person PerformanceBakersfield Mist (Jenny O’Hara and Nick Ullett), Fountain Theatre
  • PlaywritingStephen Sachs, Bakersfield Mist
  • Production DesignA House Not Meant to Stand
  • Set DesignJeff McLaughlin, A House Not Meant to Stand
  • Sound DesignPeter Bayne, A House Not Meant to Stand
  • Projection DesignKeith Skretch, A House Not Meant to Stand 
Our love and gratitude to all of the artists who contributed their time and talent to our 2011 season last year. And to our fabulous Members and audiences who helped make 2011 one of our most successful years ever!

"Bakersfield Mist"

The LA Weekly Awards are always a high-octane affair, sort of the “anti-Award Show”. Loud, raucous, rebellious. Each year following a different “theme”. This year, the event will be a replication of the first-ever theater awards ceremony, circa 450 B.C., honoring Dionysus, god of fertility and wine. Lauren Ludwig directs music/sketch comedy troupe Lost Moon Radio, hosts of the Greek bash at the Avalon in Hollywood.

The dress code  is togas (if you insist on bringing out that leather jacket or cocktail dress, be sure to tuck your toga underneath it). Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:30. Buffet after. Come party with us. Tickets cost $25 and will go on sale Feb. 23. (310) 574-7208.

Stage and Cinema: Fountain is “Best Theater” in 2011

by Harvey Perr

BEST THEATER: The Fountain Theatre, which housed the year’s greatest artistic achievement, a gorgeous production of Tennessee Williams’ A House Not Meant to Stand (which proved, once and for all, that Williams was never on the decline and that he could still write a play in his later years that had more life in it than the work of most playwrights working today), and the year’s dandiest commercial entertainment, Stephen Sachs’ Bakersfield Mist.

"Bakersfield Mist"

BEST PLAYS: Bakersfield Mist (Stephen Sachs); Personal Choice:  A House Not Meant to Stand (Tennessee Williams).

"A House Not Meant to Stand"

BEST DIRECTION:  Simon Levy (A House Not Meant to Stand )

BEST PRODUCTION:  A House Not Meant to Stand.

SET DESIGN:  Jeff McLaughlin (A House Not Meant to Stand; Bakersfield Mist)

COSTUME DESIGN:  Naila Aladdin-Sanders (A House Not Meant to Stand )

THE BEST PERFORMANCES OF THE YEAR: Although there are probably more actors concentrated in Los Angeles than in any other city of the world, there seems to be an ambivalence here towards the art of stage acting. First-rate actors rarely get singled out and are frequently lumped together with second and third-rate actors, to the advantage of neither. And actors – who are, after all, the life-blood of live theater – can make or break the production of a play, a fact that seems to go unappreciated. There were, for example, some performances this year which, had they been seen in London or New York, would have been considered career-transforming performances, and those performances are the ones I am giving the top place in my list:

Sandy Martin

Sandy Martin was wonderful in Tennessee Williams’ A House Not Meant to Stand ; she brought the play itself with her onto the stage the moment she made her dazed entrance and embraced its poignancy and its wackiness simultaneously.

Of course, the women Williams created were particularly memorable, and, again, in A House Not Meant to Stand , Sandy Martin had some extraordinary support from Lisa Richards and Virginia Newcomb who were hilariously funny and, at the same time, incredibly moving in small but vividly written parts – the former as a woman who refused to grow old and the latter as a girl who hadn’t yet grown up.

Jenny O'Hara

And Jenny O’Hara found a myriad of ways in which to instill dignity into the liveliest piece of trailer trash one is ever likely to come across in Stephen Sachs’ Bakersfield Mist – trailer trash with some ideas on Art that reduces an art curator to dithering.

It was, as they say, a very good year. Here’s to 2012.

Harvey Perr writes for Stage and Cinema.

What Would Be on Your “Best of 2011″ List for the Fountain Theatre?

The end of another year is upon us. With the year-end parties and New Year resolutions come the flurry from Los Angeles theater critics of “Best of 2011″ lists. The Fountain is pleased to appear on several. Which Fountain plays and artists would be on your “Best of 2011″ list?

Jenny O'Hara and Nick Ullett in "Bakerfield Mist"

The Fountain produced two plays in 2011: the west coast premiere of  Tennessee Williams‘ rarely seen A House Not Meant to Stand, and the long-running world premiere of Bakersfield Mist written and directed by Stephen Sachs. Both productions drew critical acclaim and have already been honored with awards and nominations.

The Critics’ Lists: “Best of 2011″

The Huffington Post named BOTH Fountain productions to its Top LA Theater Productions list:

  • A House Not Meant to Stand - “There is no better interpreter of Williams than director Simon Levy … a stunning performance by Sandy Martin.”
  • Bakersfield Mist – “A dynamic two-hander … O’Hara and Ullett are sensational … It’s no surprise the play is being mounted in other theatres across the U.S. and has been optioned for the West End and New York.”

The LA Weekly cited Bakersfield Mist as one of the “Top 10 LA Theater Experiences of 2011“.  

Sandy Martin in "A House Not Meant to Stand".

On its list of “The Best in LA Theatre for 2011 BroadwayWorld named Bakersfield Mist  as a Top Production, and acknowledged Sandy Martin (House Not Meant to Stand) and Jenny O’Hara/Nick Ullett (Bakersfield Mist) as Top Lead Performances, Virginia Newcomb/Lisa Richards (House Not Meant to Stand) for Featured Performances.

Colin Mitchell at Bitter Lemons named Bakersfield Mist to his Honorable Mention list, stating it “may turn out to be one of the most successful shows to come out of the small theatre scene in Los Angeles in a very long time.”

Let’s hope that next year proves him right.

What was your favorite favorite play at the Fountain in 2011? Favorite performance by a Fountain actor? Favorite moment or strongest memory at the Fountain in 2011?

Leave your comment! And Happy New Year!

Ovation Awards, Ben Bradley, and Why We Do Theatre

The 2011  Ovation Awards will be held Monday night, November 14th, at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The Ovation Awards ceremony is the “big night” of LA Theater, our version of the Tony Awards.  Launched in 1989, the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards are the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles, created to recognize excellence in theatrical performance, production and design in the Greater Los Angeles area. Each year, 400 productions compete in 35 Ovation Categories, and are evaluated by a pool of 250 vetted Ovation Voters, who are all currently working theatre professionals.

This year, the Fountain Theatre has received nine Ovation Award nominations, including the prestigious category of Best Season for overall excellence year-round (for this season’s The Train Driver, A House Not Meant to Stand, and Bakersfield Mist). In the three years since the new Best Season category was created, the Fountain has been nominated all three years — and won the award last year for its season of Shining City, The Ballad of Emmett Till, and Opus. In the history of the Ovation Awards, the Fountain has the distinction of being nominated and winning more Ovation Awards overall than any other intimate theatre in Los Angeles.

Ben Bradley

Monday are the 2011 Ovations Awards. At the same time, Monday marks the beginning of the second week of the Ben Bradley murder trial. The black-tie Awards Ceremony downtown will be unfolding just a few blocks down the street from the Criminal Courts Building where the trial is taking place. The painful irony of these two events occurring simultaneously must be acknowledged. Ben, of course, had just started rehearsal to direct last year’s big Award winner, The Ballad of Emmett Till, when he was savagely murdered on New Year’s Day, 2010.  The glorious Shirley Jo Finney then stepped in as director, leading us all with her healing artistic spirit.

We look forward to Monday night’s Ovation Awards. And look back to last year’s ceremony when The Ballad of Emmett Till won Best Production of a Play, Best Director, and Best Acting Ensemble.

Our thoughts are with Ben. And we are reminded — we reaffirm — why we create art, why we do theatre, why we do what we do. And why it matters.

A video peek,  one year ago:

Simon Levy and Stephen Sachs: Ben Bradley and Emmett Till
The Emmett Till cast: “Why Theatre Matters” and “The Power of Family”

Fountain Nabs 9 Ovation Nominations, including “Best Season” for Overall Excellence

The Fountain Theatre received 9 Ovation Award nominations last night, including the prestigious nod for overall Best Season.  Three Fountain productions comprised the 2010-11 Ovation season: The Train Driver, A House Not Meant to Stand, and Bakersfield Mist.

The Fountain has been nominated for Best Season every year since the newly created category was launched three years ago. The Fountain won the award last year. The Fountain has the distinction of being honored with more Ovation nominations and awards than any other intimate theatre in the history of the Ovation Awards.

Sandy Martin in "A House Not Meant to Stand"

This Ovation season, Sandy Martin has been nominated Best Leading Actress in a Play for her performance as Bella McCorkle in A House Not Meant to Stand.

Our fabulous Fountain designers were acknowledged for their dazzling skill and artistry.

Set designer Jeff McLaughlin pulled an unprecedented hat-trick by being nominated for Best Set Design for all three Fountain productions: The Train Driver, Bakersfield  Mist, and A House Not Meant to Stand.

Fountain sound designers Peter Bayne (A House Not Meant to Stand) and David Marling (The Train Driver) both received Best Sound Design nominations.

Ken Booth was nominated for Best Lighting Design for both The Train Driver and A House Not Meant to Stand.

Set Designer Jeff McLaughlin

Click here for the full list of 2011 Ovation nominees.

The 2010/2011 Ovation Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday, November 14, 2011, 7:30 pm, at The Orpheum Theatre in Downtown LA.