Tag Archives: Flamenco

Fountain Theatre launches 2017-18 season for social action with world premiere of Robert Schenkkan’s new play, ‘Building the Wall’


The Fountain Theatre will open its 2017-18 season of new plays with an urgent warning against the proposed policies of the Trump administration, followed by statements on social justice, inclusion, acceptance of “the other,” prejudice, the role of government and the need for human connection.

“The Fountain has always been committed to speaking out for social justice and inclusion,” asserts Fountain co-artistic director Stephen Sachs. “These are disturbing and tumultuous times — for our local intimate theater community in Los Angeles and our nation. The Fountain is a place for theater to serve as a vehicle for public discourse: to express outrage, compassion and hope.”

The 2017-18 season will include four world premieres — Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan; Runaway Home by Jeremy J. Kamps; Freddie by Deborah Lawlor; and Arrival and Departure by Stephen Sachs — as well as the Los Angeles premiere of The Chosen by Aaron Posner. The Fountain’s 2015 production of Citizen: An American Lyric, written by Claudia Rankine and adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs, will be presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre as part of Center Theatre Group’s inaugural Block Party. And, in addition to the Fountain’s ongoing, monthly ‘Forever Flamenco’ series, the Fountain will host Flamenco Fiesta, a two-day, outdoor flamenco concert celebration.

Over the past 27 years, The Fountain Theatre has established itself as one of the most successful intimate theaters in Los Angeles, providing a creative home for multi-ethnic theater and dance artists. Fountain projects have been translated into numerous languages, produced across the U.S. and worldwide, and made into a TV movie.

The Fountain Theatre’s 2017-18 season is as follows:

March 18 – May 21 (previews March 15-17)
building-wallWorld premiere of Building the WallThe newest play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle, All the Way), directed by award-winning Michael Michetti. It’s the very near future, and the Trump administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants. Now, a writer interviews the supervisor of a private prison as he awaits sentencing for carrying out the federal policy that has escalated into the unimaginable. This riveting, harrowing and illuminating drama delivers a powerful warning and puts a human face on the inhuman, revealing how when personal accountability is denied, what seems inconceivable becomes inevitable.

April 30 – May 7 (previews April 28-29)

citizenCitizen: An American LyricCenter Theatre Group will remount the Fountain’s award-winning 2015 production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre as part of CTG’s inaugural Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre. Written by Claudia Rankine, adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, Citizen fuses poetry, prose, movement, music and video images in a provocative meditation on everyday acts of racism in America. Actors returning from the original production include Simone Missick, who co-stars as Misty Knight on Netflix’s Luke Cage.

Summer 2017
runaway-homeWorld premiere of Runaway Home Three years after Hurricane Katrina, the unhealed wounds of New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward continue to fester. In this powerful, funny and deeply moving mother-daughter story by Jeremy J. Kamps, 14-year-old runaway Kali embarks on a journey to pick through the wreckage of what used to be her life. Rhyming, stealing and scamming her way through the still-destroyed neighborhood, engaging the vivid, lively denizens who remain, she grapples with the real cost of what she has lost as she is forced to confront the even higher cost of moving forward and the possibility of redemption.

Fall 2017
the-chosenLos Angeles premiere of The Chosen The Fountain Theatre celebrates the 50th anniversary of Chaim Potok’s beloved novel with the L.A. premiere of the award-winning stage adaptation by Aaron Posner. A silent father, an ancient tradition and an unexpectedly important game of baseball forge bonds of lifelong friendship between two Jewish boys from “five blocks and a world apart” in this funny, poignant, timely and timeless story about recognition and acceptance of “the other.” Directed by Simon Levy.

Fall 2017
freddieWorld premiere of Freddie This hybrid dance/theater work by Fountain Theatre co-artistic director Deborah Lawlor will be presented at Los Angeles City College, inaugurating a new partnership with the LACC Theatre Academy. Set in Greenwich Village in 1964 and based on a true story, Freddie fuses theater, music, dance and video to capture the explosive spirit of a passionate artist and a turbulent era. A naïve young woman falls under the spell of Freddie Herko, a brilliant ballet dancer of extraordinary charisma and talent and a beloved luminary of Andy Warhol’s Factory. Frances Loy directs.

Spring 2018
arrival-departWorld premiere of Arrival and Departure Troy Kotsur and his real-life wife Deanne Bray star in a modern-day, re-imagined deaf/hearing stage adaptation by Stephen Sachs (Bakersfield Mist, Cyrano) of the classic 1945 British romantic film, Brief Encounter. A deaf man and a deaf woman, married to different people, meet accidentally in a train station. A friendship develops over time, escalating into a passionate love affair that both struggle to permit themselves to consummate. An unforgettable love story about the challenges of communication, social isolation, diversity and self-empowerment.

Visit the Fountain Theatre (323) 663-1525


The night I went from selling flamenco fans to becoming one

FORD Merch table Victoria Sela

Victoria Montecillo and Marisela Hughes

by Victoria Montecillo

This past weekend was the biggest event of the summer for the Fountain: Forever Flamenco at the Ford. Since I’ve been working here at the Fountain, this event was something we were all working towards, and I found myself growing more curious and excited to see what all of the fuss was about. As a newcomer, Forever Flamenco sounded like an amazing opportunity to showcase a beautiful and unique art form to the communities of Los Angeles. In the weeks leading up to the big night, everyone in the office kept telling me about the fervor and passion of the flamenco community, and that I had to just wait to see it for myself. No amount of preparation, however, could have prepared me for the experience. 

FORD seats fansOn the day of the show, I came to the venue early with the rest of the Fountain family in order to put out the VIP gift bags (I had spent the weeks leading up to the show working very hard to make sure the bags were all ready and had what they needed, so I was very proud of them), and set up a merchandise table up front. By the time it got to be about two hours before curtain, I started to notice a sizable crowd gathered outside, ready and waiting with picnic baskets. Once the gates opened, people came streaming in, chatting excitedly and eyeing our merchandise and flamenco fans as they passed our merchandise table. And once the gates had opened, the people just kept streaming in. There were people laughing and eating together, and greeting others in what felt like a true community. 

Many of the people who approached our table were loyal, longtime flamenco fans who loved and appreciated the Fountain’s commitment to producing flamenco. Others were drawn to our beautiful fans, where they shared that this was their first flamenco show. It was amazing to see and be able to meet all of the different people that were in attendance at this big event, and to get to feel the pure excitement in the air.

FORD Merch table

Barbara Goodhill, Victoria Montecillo and Marisela Hughes at the merchandise table.

The show itself was truly something to see. With the extent of my knowledge about flamenco being pretty much the dancing lady emoji and the sounds of fervent stomping and complex guitar riffs coming from the rehearsal room of the Fountain that week, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I certainly could not have anticipated the raw passion and artistic skill that I saw in each of those performers. What I found to be most striking about watching these flamenco musicians and dancers was that each one of them seemed so happy to be there. They were all doing what they loved most, with a group of artists that understood that passion. 

FORD 2016 prod photo 1

On top of that, I could feel the excitement and joy in the crowd around me throughout the show. During each number, the audience would interject with enthusiastic applause, clapping, and excited cheers. Families around me grabbed each other’s shoulders and clasped each other’s hands as they shouted encouragements to the musicians and the dancers as they did what they do best, and I truly felt like I was experiencing a new community full of joy, passion, and celebration. It was a truly unique and amazing experience. 

I am so grateful to everyone at the Fountain, as well as the fantastic team of flamenco artists, for introducing me to the beautiful community of flamenco. I certainly hope I’m able to witness something like this again in my life.

Victoria Montecillo is the Fountain Theatre’s 2016 Summer Arts Intern. We thank the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for their support. 

‘Forever Flamenco’ at the Fountain Theatre is the best ticket in town

Marina Valiente

Marina Valiente

by Ernest Kearney 

Well once again you have the opportunity of experiencing one of the true treats of L.A.

Sunday, May 22 8pm – Forever Flamenco.

Why do I keep urging you to get down to the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood and partake in this monthly series?

What makes Flamenco so special, you ask?

Well, all right, since you asked –

It is the nature of all life to evolve. From the nascent state we develop until the fullness of our potential is obtained or the natural limitations of our species reached. One can disagree and debate the question of potential-limitation, but not that the ultimate stage bears slight similitude to that of the inception stage.

In a fashion, the babe is lost to the child, the child to the youth, the youth to the adult.

It is true of art forms that they evolve from a primal form, developing intellectual dimensions artistic frameworks. The loss of a certain primal intensity is payment for that progression.

Yeah, that’s a mouthful, I know, so let ‘s put forth some illustrations.

Pliny the Elder reports that Zeuxis, a Greek painter of the 5th century B.C.E., would have guests try to eat the grapes painted on his canvases. And that Parrhasios, a fellow artist of Zeuxis, invited him to view a new work covered over by a lace curtain. When Zeuxis went to lift the lace curtain he found it was part of the painting.

The 13th century Italian artist Giotto liked to paint little flies on his works then watch patrons try to shoo them.

In 1849 twenty to thirty thousand rioting New Yorkers confronted the National Guard troops called up to re-establish order resulting in more than thirty deaths. The cause of their uprising? A production of Shakespeare.

When J. M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World premiered it too caused a riot, though not nearly as bloody.


Timo Nunez

My passion for theatre knows no bounds, but sadly, I’m reduced to imagining what the state of catharsis must have been like to reduce an ancient Greek audience to a sobbing mass incapable of speech, or what passion could be played upon to plunge me into a frenzy of rioting.

When the raw throbbing notes of jazz was first heard it threw some into wild paroxysms. Decent women fainted.

The same can be said of rock and roll and even rap.

Once, not very long ago, the experience of rap was felt by some as less “music” than throbbing hammer blows of anger, rage and revolt.

Now, Ice-T does pamper commercials and you can hear “Fuck the Police” as muzak while waiting in line to make a deposit at Bank of America.

Edwin S. Porter’s 1903 The Great Train Robbery, one of the first film “works” to employ editing in the telling of its story, concludes with one of the robbers on the screen pointing his gun at the audience and firing.

When first shown, members of the audience dived under their seats.

Film, the youngest of arts, has all but lost that quality that permitted those engaging in it to be engulfed by its artifact, transported by its manufactured illusion.

The exception that tests the rule here being Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, a 2 hour, 6 minute Christian stuff film with only 16 torture free minutes of which 2 minutes were taken up by the resurrection and none to the tenets of Jesus’ teaching. 

Whatever forms the creative imperative embodies, the accretion of artistry infuses accessibilty but defuses the ascendancy of the incipient urging behind the creative act.

Forever Flamenco_Gabriel-Osuna

Gabriel Osuna

Art, like the Titan Antaeus is robbed of its strength when removed from the soil that is its mother.

Flamenco, I find, still has a fast grip to the dark and tragic history, the pain and passion that was the life breath of the cante jondo, the traditional “deep song.”

In the sound of Flamenco, the fury of its dance, we have echoes from the dark corners of the human soul as profound today as they were three centuries ago.

Nowhere will the sorrow and joy of the human condition find expression with more sublime defiance than in the music and dance of flamenco.

Deborah Lawlor, for one Sunday every month, has lured world class talent to a small corner of Hollywood with the Forever Flamenco series at The Fountain Theatre.

Scheduled to appear at the next performance on Sunday May 22nd at 8:30: Gabriel Osuna will be the evening’s guitarist. Osuna plays with garra, meaning “guts” or “vitality.” Evidence of this is found if you examine his fingers which he coats in Super Glue to give the tips added protection.

Mateo Amper will be at the piano and Gerardo Morales is the featured percussionist as well as the evening’s director.

If these three musicians were matched in a battle of the bands with any philharmonic orchestra in the country, when it was over, it wouldn’t be the ones in tuxes wearing the laurels.

Dancer Timo Nuñez is a melding of grace and raw power who is stunning to watch.

Singer Jesus Montoya is another familiar face in the series, who fills every note he sings with such emotional power it could make bricks weep.

Marina Valiente will be making her debut at the Fountain. I am confident it will be a debut very worth seeing.

I know, I said it before. Well guess what? I’m saying it again: Forever Flamenco – The best tickets in LA. Click 

Ernest Kearney is an award winning L.A. playwright and freelance writer. This post originally appeared in The Tvolution.

Forever Flamenco heats up the westside with ‘Luz Y Sombra’ led by Gabriel Osuna on Feb 21

Forever Flamenco_Gabriel-Osuna

Gabriel Osuna

Because of the set design for our current hit play Dream Catcher, this month’s Forever Flamenco returns to West L.A. as guest production at the Odyssey Theatre on Sunday, February 21st at 8pm.

Journey from the traditional roots of flamenco to experimental projects featuring mixes from Osuna Productions. Under the artistic direction of guitarist Gabriel Osuna, the evening will feature dancers Vanessa Albalos and Briseyda Zarate; singer Vicente Griego; percussionist Gerardo Morales on the cajon; and guitarists Osuna and José Tanaka. The Los Angeles Times hails the series as “the earth and fire of first-class flamenco,” and LA Splash says, “Being the sensual, intimate art form that it is… the way you feel when you walk out of a Forever Flamenco performance is pretty darn fabulous.”

Forever Flamenco is produced by Deborah Lawlor and James Bennett. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 South Sepulveda Boulevard, LA, CA 90025

More Info/Get Tickets

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! 

2014: Another Unforgettable Year for the Fountain Theatre

Actors Jenny O'Hara and Tim Cummings after a performance of 'Broomstick' at the Fountain.

Actors Jenny O’Hara and Tim Cummings after a performance of ‘Broomstick’ at the Fountain.

3 Critic’s Choice Selections, Sold-Out Flamenco, London Opening, and Best Season Award Highlight Year

2014 was truly another unforgettable year for the Fountain Theatre.  It was a year of extraordinary growth and achievement.  

All three 2014 productions were honored as Critic’s Choice in the Los Angeles Times, our Forever Flamenco at the Ford gala was a sold-out success, and The Fountain was once again awarded the preeminent Ovation Award for Best Season in 2014. And the London production of Bakersfield Mist on the West End starring Kathleen Turner brought us international attention.

The year also brought the shadow of sadness with the loss of our longtime Subscriptions Director Diana Gibson. Her legacy lives on in the vivid memories she leaves behind, and in the Diana Gibson Subscriber Fund we created. 

Here are some of the highlights:

My Name is Asher Lev – Los Angeles Premiere. ‘Critic’s Choice’  Los Angeles Times. Extended sold out run. 

Forever Flamenco @ The Ford – Sold-out gala concert at the 1200-seat Ford Theatre.

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The Brothers Size – Los Angeles Premiere. ‘Critic’s Choice’ Los Angeles Times. Extended run. 

Playwright Tarell McCraney –  Discusses his play, The Brothers Size, at the Fountain Theatre.

Tarell McCraney and the company of The Brothers Size.

Tarell McCraney and the company of The Brothers Size.

Bakersfield Mist opens on the West End in London starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid.


Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor outside The Duchess Theatre, London.

Gabby Lamm and Alice Kors – our two fabulous summer interns were terrific and helpful and launched our first Student Night at the Fountain.

Gabby Lamm and Alice Kors

Gabby Lamm and Alice Kors

Diana Gibson – The Fountain grieved the loss of our longtime Subscriptions Director, who passed away after a long illness.

Diana Gibson

Diana Gibson

Fountain Theatre wins BEST Award from the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation.

BEST Award

Fountain Theatre wins the preeminent Ovation Award for BEST SEASON for overall excellence in 2014. 

Next year in 2015, we launch our 25th Anniversary Season. Join us as we continue on this remarkable journey together. 

Happy New Year

Fountain Theatre Earns 2 NAACP Theatre Award Nominations for its World Premiere ‘Heart Song’

Tamlyn Tomita and Juanita Jennings in 'Heart Song'

Tamlyn Tomita and Juanita Jennings in ‘Heart Song’

‘Heart Song’ Noted for Acting and Choreography

Our 2013 Fountain Theatre World Premiere production of Heart Song has been nominated for 2 NAACP Theatre Awards for excellence in acting and choreography.  Juanita Jennings has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Maria Bermudez for Best Choreography. The 24th Annual NAACP Awards ceremony will be held Monday, November 17, at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Written by Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, our 2013 world premiere of Heart Song earned rave reviews and an extended run. In this funny and touching comedy/drama, Rochelle is a middle-aged Jewish woman in New York City in the middle of a life crisis. Lost and alone, her life is suddenly changed when she is convinced to take a Flamenco class with other middle-aged women. The Flamenco class and its unforgettable circle of women — all shapes, sizes and colors — lead Rochelle on a journey of sisterhood, faith and discovery of her own deep inner voice.

The NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch. The gala is produced for the purpose of honoring artists in the field of entertainment. The branch also celebrates a three-day theatre festival, which provides a platform for theatre artists to express their craft and share their contributions with an audience of their peers, the community and other individuals who celebrate live theatre in Los Angeles.

Rochelle (Pamela Dunlap) finds release through dance in 'Heart Song'.

‘Heart Song’ featured flamenco choreography by Maria Bermudez.

This year’s Awards show will be hosted by Kym Whitley, star of the humorous and poignant docu-series “Raising Whitley” on Oprah Winfrey’s The OWN Network.  The awards show will take place on Monday, November 17, 2014 at 6PM at the historical Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California.

Full list of NAACP Award nominees.