Tag Archives: Deaf West Theatre

Staged Reading of ‘Cyrano’ Soars at New York Theatre Workshop

'Cyrano' at New York Theatre Workshop

‘Cyrano’ at New York Theatre Workshop

The Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre brought their lyrical and romantic  deaf/hearing updated-version of Cyrano to New York last Monday, April 29, for a special staged reading at the acclaimed New York Theatre Workshop. The staged reading was performed for a full house of NY theater producers and invited VIP’s for the purpose of solidifying interest in a possible New York production.

Four original cast members were flown in from Los Angeles: Troy Kotsur, Paul Raci, Victor Warren and Al Bernstein.  The rest of the ensemble was cast with local New York actors Matt Biagini, Robert De MayoSamira Wiley, John McGinty, Puy Navarro, James W. Guido, Alexandria Wailes, Richard Dent, and original cast member Maleni Chaitoo who happens to now live in NY.

The company rehearsed with director Simon Levy for only three days. Our thanks to our friends at Primary Stages for providing their rehearsal studios to the Cyrano company. Also in attendance at rehearsals were playwright Stephen Sachs, Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs, Fountain Producing Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor, DWT Founder Ed Waterstreet and his wife, actress Linda Bove.

The highly regarded New York Theatre Workshop is the Tony-winning company dedicated to developing new plays and musicals.  Over their 30-year history, they have launched many acclaimed productions and have transferred several to Broadway, including Rent, Dirty Blonde, Homebody/Kabul, Peter and the Starcatcher, Once, and more. The Cyrano staged reading was held Monday in the NYTW upstairs rehearsal hall. An invited list of producers and VIP guests attended, including representatives from New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages, 59E59 Theatres, Broadway director Jeff Calhoun, and more. The actors performed Cyrano entirely memorized and off-book and cleverly incorporated the use of captioning and video design on a large TV flat screen monitor.

Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to our Cyrano donors who contributed to our fundraising campaign and made this very important New York opportunity possible: Phillip Baron, Cal Bartlett, JB Blanc, Eve Brenner, Carlease Burke, Johnny Clark, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Cathy Colloff, Debra Conklin, James Conley, Kimberly Cyzner Family, Lorraine Danza, Timothy Davis-Reed, Fred Dean, Donna Duarte, Susan Duncan, Michael Edwin, Mark Freund, Amy Frost, Heidi Girardoni, Jane Gordon, Gaby Gross, William Dennis Hurley, Trice Koopman, Ken LaZebnik, Robert Leventer, Dennis Levitt, Ruth Linnick, Betsy Malloy, Caitlin Marcus, Donne McRae, Susan Merson, Mills, Michelle Montooth, Joel Moreno, Russell Nore, Jenny O’Hara, Susan Oka, Z. Oppenheim, Patricia Parker, Cynthia Paskos, Patty Paul, Terry Paule, Sharon Perlmutter, Ralph Pezoldt, Allison Pickering, Lawrence Poindexter, Priscilla Pointer, Bill Pugin and The Sign Language Company, Terri Roberts, Mark Routhier, Rita Schneir, Sandy Schuckett, Susanne Spira Survivors Trust, Suanne Spoke, Marjorie Throne, Eileen T’Kaye, Zoltan & Dorcas Tokes, Andrede Toledo, Tate Tullier, Jessica Turner, Nick Ullett, Heidi Girardoni, Carol Watson, Marianne Weil, William Wilk. We could not have done it without you!

What happens now? We’ll see what the future holds for our unique, thrilling and moving ASL/spoken English version of Cyrano. In the meantime, enjoy these snapshots of the rehearsal process and the staged reading!

‘Cyrano’ in New York 

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Cyrano Has Been Invited to New York! 

But We Only Have 1 Week to Raise the Funds We Need. We are More Than Halfway There. Will You Help?
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We’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the support needed
to get our team to New York. Be a part of it! Everyone who gives is a winner! See our prizes! Any amount will help make this dream a reality.

Congratulations to Michelle Montooth

le petit restaurant

Last week’s bonus contest winner! She won a romantic dinner for 2 at Le Petit RestaurantMichelle says:

Cyrano was one of the best theater experiences I’ve ever had. And since I’m a theatre junkie, that’s saying something.”

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The Fountain’s co-production of Cyrano has been invited to New York.   In just two weeks, our talented lead actors and artistic team will be performing for
The New York Theatre Workshop, the Tony-winning company that launched Rent, Dirty Blonde, Homebody/Kabul, Peter and the Starcatcher, Once,and more.  This will be a staged reading for NY producers and investors with the goal of launching a NY production. To make this dream come true, we need you. Join Us!

Our Sold-Out Award-Winning Smash Hit Drew  Rave Reviews and National Attention in LA  

WINNER! 4 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards 
including Best Play and Best Production
CRITIC’S CHOICE! - Los Angeles Times
  “Irresistible! Consistently beautiful!
Critic’s Pick! - Backstage “GO!” - LA Weekly
“Perfection!” – SoCalTheatre  
“A masterpiece!”  - Examiner 
“A powerhouse piece of theatre!” - StageHappenings
 
The first 2 donors today of $250 win a full color  autographed Cyrano in New York poster!
 See Our Exciting Indiegogo Prizes!   
The Fountain Theatre is a non-profit organization. All Donations are tax deductible contributions.

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Fountain Theatre Sweeps Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards

Fountain Theatre wins Best Season Award.

Fountain Theatre wins Best Season Award.

On Monday night, the Fountain Theatre won 7 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards:

  • Best Season 2012 – El NogalarCyranoThe Blue IrisIn the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Production - Cyrano
  • Best Director – Simon Levy, Cyrano
  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney, In the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Lead Performance – Troy Kotsur, Cyrano
  • Best Ensemble - In the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Writing (Adaptation) – Stephen Sachs, Cyrano

Fountain Theatre Sweeps with 7 Awards on the Gala Night

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Fountain Theatre Sweeps Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards

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Troy Kotsur and Erinn Anova in “Cyrano”

Fountain Honored for ‘Cyrano and ‘In the Red and Brown Water’ and Best Season in 2012 

Last night was a memorable evening for the Fountain Theatre at the 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards. The Fountain swept all major categories, winning all 6 awards it was nominated for and, in addition, being honored for overall excellence with the Polly Warfield Award for Best Season. The Fountain/Deaf West production of Cyrano won 4 awards including Best Production of the Year.  The Fountain’s acclaimed In the Red and Brown Water was honored for Direction and Best Ensemble.

The Fountain Theatre won 7 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards:

  • Best Season 2012El Nogalar, Cyrano, The Blue Iris, In the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Production - Cyrano
  • Best Director – Simon Levy, Cyrano
  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney, In the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Lead Performance – Troy Kotsur, Cyrano
  • Best Ensemble - In the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Writing (Adaptation) – Stephen Sachs, Cyrano
Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs, Simon Levy, Deborah Lawlor, Stephen Sachs, Troy Kotsur.

“Cyrano” team: Deaf  West Artistic Director David Kurs, director Simon Levy, producer Deborah Lawlor, playwright Stephen Sachs,  actor Troy Kotsur.

'In the Red and Brown Water' cast member Iona Morris enjoys the gala.

‘In the Red and Brown Water’ cast member Iona Morris enjoys the gala.

The LADCC Awards ceremony was held at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. The LA theater community enjoyed socializing with refreshments in the spacious lobby before and after the event. The crowd was an eclectic mix of theater artists, producers and journalists. In attendance from the Fountain Theatre were Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs, Producing Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor, Producing Director Simon Levy, director Shirley Jo Finney, publicist Lucy Pollak, and  members of the cast from Cyrano and In the Red and Brown Water. Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs accepted the Best Production  Award for Cyrano on behalf of the both companies.  

Simon Levy accepts Best Director Award for 'Cyrano'.

Simon Levy accepts Best Director Award for ‘Cyrano’.

“We are grateful for the Best Season Award because in 2012 we continued our longtime artistic relationships with old friends Athol Fugard and Deaf West, ” says Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “And we introduced important new playwrights Tanya Saracho and Tarell Alvin McCraney to Los Angeles audiences.  Most important, our 2012 season exemplified the heart of our artistic mission: to create and produce new work that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles. Our four productions in 2012 included a new play by a Latina playwright, a new play performed in two languages serving the deaf community, the newest play by South Africa’s greatest writer, and a thrilling new work by a brilliant young African American playwright. ”   

Full List of LADCC Award winners

Fountain Theatre to be Honored Tonight by LA Drama Critics Circle with 2012 ‘Best Season’ Award

LADCC Awards logoThe Fountain Theatre will be honored tonight at the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards when the Fountain is presented with the 2012 Best Season Award. The 2012 Fountain season included the west coast premiere of El Nogalar by Tanya Saracho, the world premiere of Cyrano by Stephen Sachs, the United States Premiere of The Blue Iris by Athol Fugard, and the Los Angeles Premiere of In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney. The award is accompanied by an honorarium funded by the Nederlander Organization. 

In addition to the 2012 Best Season Award, The Fountain Theatre has also earned 6 LA Drama Critics Circle Award nominations for its acclaimed 2012 productions of Cyrano and In the Red and Brown Water:

  • Best ProductionCyrano
  • Best Director – Simon Levy, Cyrano
  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney, In the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Lead Performance – Troy Kotsur, Cyrano
  • Best EnsembleIn the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Writing (Adaptation) – Stephen Sachs, Cyrano

The Fountain Theatre’s Award-Winning 2012 Season

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More Info on the LA Drama Critics Circle Awards. Tonight’s award ceremony is at the Los Angeles Theatre Center at 7:30pm. 

PHOTOS: ‘Cyrano’ at Gala Event at Kirk Douglas Theatre

Troy Kotsur and Paul Raci in a scene from "Cyrano".

Troy Kotsur and Paul Raci in a scene from “Cyrano”.

Cast Performs Scene from ‘Cyrano’ at Deaf West Fundraiser

Cast members from our acclaimed co-production of Cyrano were asked to perform a scene from the play at a Deaf West fundraising event  honoring Ed Waterstreet last Saturday at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. A co-production between Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre, Cyrano ran for four sold-out months at the Fountain and has been honored with four Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nominations for  Best Production, Best Director, Best Lead Actor and Best Writing.

The funny and charming ‘balcony scene’ from Cyrano was performed by cast members Troy Kotsur, Paul Raci and Erinn Anova. The gala evening also included remarks by actresses Marlee Matlin and Deanne Bray, former Mark Taper Forum Artistic Director Gordon Davidson, Broadway director Jeff Calhoun, and Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs.

Enjoy Some Photos!

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Fountain Theatre Earns 6 LA Drama Critics Circle Award Nominations and Awarded ‘Best Season’

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Troy Kotsur and Erinn Anova in “Cyrano” at the Fountain Theatre (2012).

Just announced: The Fountain Theatre has earned 6 LA Drama Critics Circle Award nominations for its acclaimed 2012 productions of Cyrano and In the Red and Brown Water.  In addition, the Fountain has also been honored by the LADCC with the Polly Warfield Award for Best Overall Season in 2012.

The 2012 LADCC Award nonminations for the Fountain:

  • Best Production - Cyrano
  • Best Director – Simon Levy, Cyrano
  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney, In the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Lead Performance – Troy Kotsur, Cyrano
  • Best Ensemble - In the Red and Brown Water
  • Best Writing (Adaptation) – Stephen Sachs, Cyrano

The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theater will be awarded to The Fountain Theatre. The 2012 Fountain season included the west coast premiere of El Nogalar by Tanya Saracho, the world premiere of Cyrano by Stephen Sachs, the United States Premiere of The Blue Iris by Athol Fugard, and the Los Angeles Premiere of In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney. The award is accompanied by an honorarium funded by the Nederlander Organization.

The Fountain/Deaf West Theatre world premiere co-production of Cyrano ran for 4 sold-out months in 2012 and drew much critical acclaim. In the Red and Brown Water opened in October to rave reviews including being heralded as “Best in Theater 2012″ by the Los Angeles Times.  The acclaimed production has been extended and is still running at the Fountain to Feb 24th.  

"In the Red and Brown Water" (photo by Ed Krieger)

“In the Red and Brown Water” at the Fountain Theatre

photos by Ed Krieger

More Info on the 2012 LADCC Award Nominations

New Video: Romantic Balcony Scene from CYRANO

Enjoy this new video created from our critically acclaimed sold-out 2012 production of Cyrano.  This world premiere of a new play, a re-imagined sign language spin on the romantic classic Cyrano de Bergerac reset in a modern city, has been named a Theater Highlight of 2012 by LA Stage Times.

In this funny, poetic and powerful co-production between Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre, Cyrano is a brilliant deaf poet in love with a hearing woman.

You Want to be a Playwright? Should You Get an MFA or a Degree in Life Experience?

Polly Carl

Polly Carl

by Polly Carl

When asked a few years ago if someone with talent and desire to write plays should get an advanced degree in playwriting, I said unequivocally yes for two reasons:

  1. I’m a huge advocate of graduate school of any sort. Graduate school is an indulgence that every one who can access, should. I don’t have a timeline for when, but I truly believe taking three or more years to think about things that interest you and make you passionate and advance your understanding of the world is absolutely essential—especially if you want to tell stories that you hope will mean something to an audience greater than your best buds and your mom.
  2. As far as making theater goes, the significant career opportunities in our business are so few and far between that I would tell prospective students any leg up was worth considering seriously. For example, if your script was on a pile, or if you were applying for a directing fellowship, those letters M-F-A might advance your script/application up the stacks.

My advice to graduating MFAs used to be different too and extremely practical! As you’re thinking about that final year in the program focus on:

  1. Having one fully realized “straight” play with no more than four characters is essential. The MFA is a launching moment and to launch in any significant way into the regional theater movement, your most realistic shot is to have one solid producible play in the most conventional sense.
  2. Make connections with all of the play development centers (Playwrights’ Center, New Dramatists, the Lark, Sundance, Playwrights Foundation, etc.) and apply to every opportunity they offer. In other words, find an artistic home to develop as an artist. This advice hasn’t changed.

But as I experience the work the next generation of theater makers is creating and in what context, I’m beginning to shift my advice. More importantly, I’m convinced now that I’m not the right person to give advice. I’m not being humble here, but rather acknowledging that I’m giving advice from the vantage point of having a salary and health insurance and that my advice is becoming less and less practical and perhaps makes assumptions about what people want out of a career that are more about what think they should want.

But here goes some advice anyway.

  1. Don’t apply for an MFA in anything right out of undergrad.  If you desire to be a storyteller from any vantage point (playwright, director, dramaturg, actor, designer, stage manager, etc.) spend some time living in the world and figuring out what stories you want to tell. Travel, work strange jobs, taste exotic foods, become a marathon runner, join the Peace Corps, and engage everything that feels unfamiliar.
  2. Don’t take a menial job in a large theater just to be near established theater artists. I think the worst thing an aspiring young theater artist can do is to learn too soon the business-as-usual way of making theater.
  3. See as much of every kind of art that you can take in. Close down your Facebook and Twitter accounts for days at a time and read novels, listen to authors read their works on podcasts, go to museums, operas, symphonies, rock concerts, and ballets.
  4. Volunteer at places unrelated to theater. Understand that theater is a part of a whole, but not the whole.
  5. Fall in love. Break up. Fall in love again. This can be love with people, other artists, art objects, remote camping sites, whatever.
  6. Then after all of that, if you still find that you must tell stories, and that you must live in proximity to a stage, by all means apply to an MFA program. It will be the greatest gift you can give yourself.

For those of you graduating in the spring with your MFA:

  1. Maybe go to New York, but maybe not.
  2. Don’t worry about getting an agent.
  3. Find one or two or three other people you want to make theater with and live in the same city, or rural town, or on a tropical island together, and make theater according to your mutually agreed upon definition.
  4. Tell the stories you want to tell and only the stories the want to tell. You will get many opportunities to tell stories other people want to tell; minimize these gigs.
  5. Introduce yourself to every theater maker who inspires you, but don’t bother to try and ingratiate yourself into institutions or try to get next to artistic directors whose work you don’t admire just on the off chance they might throw an opportunity your way. There will be plenty of time in your career for compromising and groveling. Save your knees as long as possible.
  6. Think big. Big plays, big performances, big social change, big bold theater that will burn the house down.

For anyone trying to sort out how to make it in this business: there is no formula. As artists, I personally think rules and boundaries and formulas and systems and even institutions can dampen the possibilities for our artistic expression. And nothing can be more harmful to creativity than believing there is one path toward it.

So get an MFA, maybe. Move to New York, maybe. Write only two-handers, maybe. Buy bottles of expensive wines for Artistic Directors, maybe. But for sure, find a way to tell the stories that will choke you to your very death if they aren’t let out, and don’t make any assumptions that there’s a singular career trajectory for the theater artist.

Polly Carl is the director of the Center for the Theater Commons at Emerson College, and the editor of the online journal HowlRound

‘Cyrano’ Highlights New Play Festival at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis

“Cyrano” reading at Mixed Blood Theatre, MN.

Fountain actors Troy Kotsur and Paul Raci, director Simon Levy, and playwright Stephen Sachs were at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis last weekend to join local actors there for a reading of Cyrano, the recent smash hit Fountain co-production with Deaf West Theatre.  Cyrano was being read as part of Mixed Blood’s Center of the Margins new play festival.

The weather was cloudy in Minneapolis, a chilly 38 degrees.  The cast was lead by Kotsur and Raci, with nine local deaf and hearing actors creating the ensemble. Rehearsal time was brief. Director Levy and the cast had to work fast, quickly coordinating the complicated blending of American Sign Language, spoken English, and printed text projected on screens.

Cyrano is an  imaginative modern day retelling of the romantic classic Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand.  In this updated new deaf/hearing version, Cyrano is a brilliant deaf poet in love with a hearing woman who doesn’t know sign language.

There were two public readings of Cyrano at Mixed Blood Theatre over the weekend, on Saturday and Sunday. Mixed Blood Theatre holds 200 people and both readings were full. Audience response to the play was very enthusiastic.

Artistic Director Jack Reuler and the entire staff at Mixed Blood were wonderful hosts, welcoming the Cyrano company and making sure everything ran smoothly.

The acclaimed Fountain/Deaf West production of Cyrano earned two Ovation Award nominations: Best Lead Actor (Troy Kotsur as Cyrano) and Best New Play (playwright Stephen Sachs). The Ovation Awards will be held Monday, November 12th, in Los Angeles.

Snapshots from Cyrano Reading at Mixed Blood Theatre!

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