When the new play Bakersfield Mist premiered at the Fountain Theatre in 2011 starring Jenny O’Hara and Nick Ullett, it earned rave reviews and ran for seven sold-out months. The current revival with the original cast has been equally successful, enjoying a four-month run and delighting full houses of enthusiastic audiences. The hit production concluded its run yesterday at Sunday’s matinee, followed by a lively reception in our upstairs cafe.
Playwright and director Stephen Sachs shared his thoughts and gratitude — and some history — on the play’s final performance at the Fountain.
Today at 2pm is the final performance of the current remount of Bakersfield Mist at the Fountain Theatre starring my original cast, Jenny O’Hara and Nick Ullett. That means, barring some unforeseen opportunity in the future, today will be last time the three of us will inhabit Maude’s trailer together.
It will probably also be the last time I watch a performance of the play. I’ve seen several productions through the years, all over the world. It’s not likely I’ll see more. It warms my heart deeply that my final viewing will be performed by the two glorious actors who first gave it life, for whom I wrote the play in the first place. We end today as we began. Together.
Bakersfield Mist has been an extraordinary, joyous ride for us. I wrote the play in 2010 with the voices of Jenny and Nick in my head. I called them to my house one night, where they read the first draft at my dining room table. They shepherded the play with me through new drafts and rewrites. We knew we liked the play ourselves, but we had no idea what we had until the first public reading in front of a live audience at Play Fest at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in Florida. The audience roared with laughter, intensely listened, and applauded wildly at the end. And it’s been that way, everywhere, ever since.
The play opened at the Fountain Theatre in 2011, starring Jenny and Nick, and ran for seven sold-out months, raising the two actors to a full Equity contract. The play enjoyed a 3-month run on London’s West End and is now being performed in regional theatres across the country, has been translated into foreign languages and is being produced around the world.
I’m proud that Bakersfield Mist at the Fountain Theatre became a model example of the 99-Seat Plan working exactly as it should, as it was designed. This little play, created, developed and produced at an intimate theatre in Los Angeles under the 99-Seat Plan, has now generated dozens of Equity contracts across the country and created hundreds of jobs for theatre professionals around the world.
Most of all, the play is my gift, my valentine, to Nick and Jenny. These two remarkable people. Husband and wife, partners in art. Supremely skilled, true professionals, and a hell of a lot of fun. We gave birth to this play together. They gave their time, their talent, their expertise and enthusiasm, their decades of professional craft and wisdom to this play, all with a spirit of passion, great humor and deep caring. I love and respect them both dearly, and will be forever grateful.
Posted in actors, arts organizations, director, Drama, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, new plays, non-profit organization, performing arts, plays, playwright, Theater, theatre
Tagged Bakersfield Mist, Fountain Theatre, Jenny O'Hara, Los Angeles, Nick Ullett, Stephen Sachs, theater, theatre
Is she crazy or a hero? In our hit production of Bakersfield Mist now playing at the Fountain, Maude Gutman owns a spattered painting that she bought at a thrift store which she now believes is a masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions. Is it real or a forgery? Last Friday, thirty-two 5th grade students from Ramona Elementary School around the corner visited the Fountain Theatre to try their hands at creating their own abstract expressionist paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock. Says teacher Eric Arboleda, the experience was “priceless”.
The students gathered in the theatre for a lesson on modern art from Sarah Boulton, educator and coordinator of the day’s event for the Fountain. The group then moved upstairs, where a long table waited with paper, paints and brushes. The students were instructed to freely paint what the feel, to think of images that express their inner selves, not literal pictures. The students leapt into action. Grabbing brushes, the kids spattered and swirled their paints in a wild flurry of colors. Paint landed not only on paper. It ended up on the floor, on the walls, and peppered the kids themselves with bright colored freckles. Everyone had a blast.
After the paint session, the kids moved into the cafe for donuts and drinks. They relaxed on our outdoor balcony and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon sun. All agreed it was an extraordinary day.
Friday’s event was the third visit by Ramona Elementary School students in two years, part of an ongoing educational partnership between the school and the Fountain Theatre to offer an enhanced art experience for young people in our community. The event was made possible through Theatre as a Learning Tool, the Fountain’s educational outreach program making art available to underserved students.
Posted in Art, Arts, Arts education, arts organizations, creativity, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, non-profit organization, Outreach Program, Theater, theatre
Tagged Abstract Expressionism, Arts education, Bakersfield Mist, Eric Arboleda, Fountain Theatre, Jackson Pollock, outreach, painting, Ramona Elementary School, Sarah Boulton, theater, theatre, Theatre as a Learning Tool
It’s been a challenging year, hasn’t it? A year of change, division and loss And a year of hope, unity and bright accomplishments.
The Fountain Theatre ends 2016 soaring on the wind of uplifting achievements. Our world premiere stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric has been chosen to be highlighted in CTG’s Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in April. Our premieres of Dream Catcher, My Mañana Comes and Baby Doll earned rave reviews and extended runs. Forever Flamenco sizzled this summer at the outdoor Ford Theatre. Bakersfield Mist returned to delight audiences through the holidays and is still running through January. We continued serving communities year round through our educational outreach programs. We broadened our long-term stability by partnering with new foundations and supporters.
For 26 years, The Fountain Theatre has provided a public space where a wide variety of citizens gather together to experience stories that illuminate what it means to be a human being.
The public discourse across our nation and on our stage in 2016 revealed many things. One being: words matter. What we say to each other, and how we say it, matters. As in the finest plays, language has power. Has impact. In soliloquy and in dialogue. On our intimate stage, and far beyond Fountain Avenue, our dialogue — our conversation — with YOU, our Fountain Family, matters.
Which words would you use to describe the Fountain Theatre? Which words express who we are, what we do? Co-Founding Artistic Directors Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs share with you some words they’d choose. Take a look!
Posted in Arts, arts organizations, Drama, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, new plays, non-profit organization, Outreach Program, performing arts, plays, Theater, theatre
Tagged 2016, baby doll, Bakersfield Mist, Block Party, Citizen: An American Lyric, CTG, Deborah Lawlor, Dream Catcher, educational outreach, Forever Flamenco, Forever Flamenco at the Ford, Fountain Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Los Angeles, My Manana Comes, Stephen Sachs
Holiday theatre-goers enjoyed a special treat last night at our smash hit production of Bakersfield Mist. After leaping to their feet in a standing ovation for the funny and thought-provoking performance, the crowd gathered upstairs in our festively-decorated cafe for a holiday party with the cast and company. Patrons brought unwrapped toys and gifts to be donated by Fountain staff to homeless children at the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles.
Party revelers enjoyed tasty holiday foods and yummy drinks. Guests included Fountain patrons, Fountain staff, the company of Bakersfield Mist, and members of the LA theatre community.
Bakersfield Mist continues its extended run through January 30th. The hit comedy/drama starring Jenny O’Hara and Nick Ullett has earned rave reviews everywhere and is highlighted as Critic’s Choice in the Los Angeles Times, hailed as a “delightful and provocative comedy.”
Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday season, from our Fountain Family to yours.
Bakersfield Mist extended to Jan 30th
Posted in actors, Arts, arts organizations, cafe, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, non-profit organization, performing arts, plays, Theater, theatre
Tagged Bakersfield Mist, comedy, Fountain Theatre, homeless, Jenny O'Hara, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Times, Nick Ullett, outreach, party, theater, theatre, Union Rescue Mission
Veteran actors Jenny O’Hara (Transparent and The Mindy Project) and Nick Ullett (As the World Turns, The Big Bang Theory) are the kind of real-life married couple with whom you just love being with and hang around. They are smart, funny and finish each other’s sentences and punch lines like a longtime comedy team. They are also passionate and dedicated artists, committed to creating work that is important and excellent. Which is why the Fountain Theatre is their theater home in Los Angeles.
Nick and Jenny are currently on stage at the Fountain starring in our revival of the smash hit comedy/drama Bakersfield Mist. The acclaimed production is Critic’s Choice in the LA Times and has been extended by popular demand to January 30th.
Take a look at this personal message to you from Jenny and Nick. You’ll see why we love them like we do, and you’ll understand why supporting the Fountain Theatre matters.
Our home is your home.
Posted in actors, arts organizations, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, new plays, non-profit organization, performing arts, plays, Theater, theatre
Tagged actors, actress, As the World Turns, Bakersfield Mist, Fountain Theatre, Jenny O'Hara, Los Angeles, Nick Ullett, The Big Bang Theory, The Mindy Project, Transparent
A fabulous performance, an exuberant standing ovation, and a lively party afterward highlighted the opening night of our remounting of the hit comedy/drama, Bakersfield Mist. The relaunch Saturday night was enjoyed by a full house of happy patrons, Fountain Friends and Family, and exclusively invited VIP Donors.
Written and directed by Stephen Sachs and performed by the splendid original cast of Jenny O’Hara and Nick Ullett, Bakersfield Mist tells the story of trailer trash dumpster diver Maude Gutman, who is convinced the painting she bought at a thrift for $3 is actually a long-lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions. The hit play was created and developed at the Fountain Theatre in 2011, earning rave reviews and a 7-month sold-out run. The play is now performed across the United States and around the world.
At Saturday’s re-opening night, delighted audience members joined the company upstairs in our cafe for a catered reception with the actors and Fountain production and creative team. Fountain VIP Donors in attendance included Carol Ardura, Rabbi Anne Brener, Anita Lorber, Edike and Victoria Ndefo, Harold Shabo, Abner and Roz Goldstine, Fran and Arnie Stengel, Patty Paul, Carol Kline, Karen Kondazian, Ester Lee Alpern, Hugh and Marleen Scheffy.
Bakersfield Mist Now Playing! (323) 663-1525 More Info/Get Tickets
Posted in actors, Art, Arts, arts organizations, Drama, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, new plays, non-profit organization, performing arts, plays, Theater, theatre
Tagged Bakersfield Mist, comedy, drama, Fountain Theatre, Jenny O'Hara, Los Angeles, Nick Ullett, opening night, party, reception, Stephen Sachs, theater, theatre