Tag Archives: Misty Carlisle

The Fountain Theatre launches its 25th Anniversary with the Los Angeles premiere of “Reborning”

Ryan Doucette, Kristin Carey and Joanna Strapp.

Ryan Doucette, Kristin Carey and Joanna Strapp.

How far would you go to create a family?

Launching the Fountain Theatre’s 25th Anniversary Season, Simon Levy directs Kristin Carey, Ryan Doucette, Joanna Strapp — and some very unusual, one-of-a-kind dolls — in the Los Angeles premiere of Reborning by Zayd Dohrn. How far would you go to create a family?. A darkly funny psychological thriller that takes an unsettling look at work, motherhood and the power of healing, Reborning opens at the Fountain Theatre on Jan. 24.

In Reborning, a young artist who crafts custom-made dolls begins to suspect that a demanding client may be the mother who abandoned her at birth. As she tries to unravel the mystery, she discovers the path to her own “reborning.”

“The play is funny and twisted, but also deeply emotional and very moving,” says Levy.

Ryan Doucette and Joanna Strapp

Ryan Doucette and Joanna Strapp

A reborn doll is a manufactured vinyl doll that has been transformed to resemble a human baby with as much realism as possible. Although many consumers collect reborns as they would regular dolls, others use them to replace a child they once lost or a child that has grown up. The dolls often come with fake birth or adoption certificates, and their “parents” care for them as they would an infant. Because of their realistic appearance, reborn dolls have occasionally been mistaken for real babies and rescued from parked cars after being reported to the police by passers-by.

“It’s a pretty dark play, but kind of a comedy too,” explains Dohrn, who first became aware of reborn dolls when his wife was pregnant and they were searching for baby clothes online.

“We stumbled across numerous sites and forums for reborn dolls,” he says. “Buyers would testify how the dolls comforted them. I was trying to balance my own fears and hopes about becoming a father with my work as a writer and an artist, and I became fascinated. These dolls are realistic enough to be upsetting — beautiful and grotesque and odd all at once.”

Reborning received a workshop production at The Public Theater in New York City, followed by a world premiere production at The SF Playhouse in San Francisco. San Francisco’s Eagle News called it “A major triumph… a taut thriller that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. You don’t want to miss it,” while the Chronicle praised the play’s ability to balance “humor, suspense, and trauma.” The SF Weekly wrote, “Reborning proves that grim topics and taboos can also be damn funny.”

Zayd Dohrn

Zayd Dohrn

Zayd Dohrn’s other plays include Outside People (The Vineyard Theatre/Naked Angels), Want (Steppenwolf First Look) and Sick (Berkshire Theatre Festival. His work has also been produced and developed at Playwrights Horizons, the Atlantic Theater Co., Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodman Theatre, South Coast Rep, Ars Nova, Kitchen Dog, Theatre for One, Boston Playwrights’, New York Theatre Workshop and the Royal Court Theatre in London, among others. He has written screenplays for the American Film Company, Bedlam Productions, and Vox3 Films, as well as a pilot for HBO. He earned his MFA from NYU and was a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Juilliard, where he twice received Lincoln Center’s Lecomte du Nouy Prize. He teaches playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University.

Simon Levy

Simon Levy

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 The Normal Heart (LADCC Award for Best Revival), Cyrano (LADCC Awards for Direction and Production), A House Not Meant to Stand; Opus (LA Weekly Awards, Best Director); Photograph 51;The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Backstage Garland Award, Best Direction); The Gimmick (Ovation Award-Solo Performance); Master Class (Ovation Award-Best Production); Daisy in the Dreamtime (Backstage Garland Awards, Best Production and Direction); 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  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. He has written the official stage adaptations of The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and The Last Tycoon for the Fitzgerald Estate, all published by Dramatists Play Service.

Set design for Reborning is by Jeff McLaughlin; lighting design is by Jennifer Edwards; sound design is by Peter Bayne; costume design is by Naila Aladdin Sanders; prop design and set dressing are by Misty Carlisle; consulting doll artist is Amy Karich; associate producer is James Bennett; assistant stage manager is Shawna Voragen; and the production stage manager is Terri Roberts

Reborning  (323) 663-1525  MORE INFO/Get Tickets 

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Fountain Theatre Wins 26 Awards from StageSceneLA For Excellence in 2013-14

The Fountain Theatre has gobbled up 26 Theater Awards from Stage SceneLA for our acclaimed 2013-14 productions of The Normal Heart, My Name is Asher Lev and The Brothers Size. StageSceneLA editor Steven Stanley announced the winners this week after seeing and reviewing 268 productions from September 1, 2013 through August 31, 2014. The overall awards list is long and there are multiple winners in many categories.  All of it demonstrating, as Steven Stanley affirms, that “theater in Los Angeles and its surrounding communities is alive and thriving and quite often simply as good as it gets. “

These 2013-14 Fountain productions received the following awards:

The Normal Heart 

Tim Cummings and Bill Brochtrup in 'The Normal Heart'.

Tim Cummings and Bill Brochtrup in ‘The Normal Heart’.

  • Production of the Year – The Normal Heart
  • Best Director, Drama – Simon Levy
  • Best Performance, Lead Actor – Tim Cummings
  • Best Performance, Lead Actor – Bill Brochtrup
  • Best Performance, Featured Actress – Lisa Pelikan
  • Best Performance by an Understudy – Ray Paolantonio
  • Best Performance, Featured Actor – Matt Gottlieb
  • Best Performance, Featured Actor – Fred Koehler
  • Best Performance, Featured Actor – Stephen O’Mahoney
  • Memorable Performance, Featured Actor – Dan Shaked & Jeff Witzke

My Name Is Asher Lev

Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja and Joel Polis in 'My Name Is Asher Lev'.

Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja and Joel Polis in ‘My Name Is Asher Lev’.

  • Best Production, Drama – My Name is Asher Lev
  • Best Director, Drama – Stephen Sachs
  • Best Performance, Lead Actor – Jason Karasev
  • Best Performance, Featured Actor – Joel Polis
  • Best Performance, Featured Actress – Anna Khaja
  • Best Costume Design – Shon LeBlanc
  • Best Lighting Design – Ric Zimmerman 
  • Best Scenic Design – Jeff McLaughlin 

The Brothers Size

Gilbert Glenn brown  and Matthew Hancock (photo by Ed Krieger)

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock in ‘The Brothers Size

  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney
  • Best Ensemble Cast, Drama
  • Best Choreography, Play – Ameenah Kaplan
  • Memorable Lighting Design – Pablo Santiago
  • Best Scenic Designer – Hana S. Kim

Multiple Productions: 

  • Sound Design/Composer of the Year – Peter Bayne, The Brothers Size, The Normal Heart
  • Best Props Design – Misty Carlisle – Asher Lev, Brothers Size, Normal Heart

Our thanks to Steven Stanley and StageSceneLa for this acknowledgement.  We appreciate and applaud his enthusiasm and support for theatre in Los Angeles.   

For the complete list of StageSceneLA Award winners click here.

Production photos by Ed Krieger

 

 

First Rehearsal for West Coast Premiere of ‘Broomstick’ starring Jenny O’Hara

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Director Stephen Sachs shares his vision with the company.

Wicked Fun in New Play About a Mountain Witch  

Do you believe witches can be real? We had a delightful one with us at the Fountain this Saturday for the first meet & greet rehearsal for our upcoming West Coast premiere of the new play Broomstick by John Biguenet, starring stage/film/TV veteran Jenny O’Hara.  In this funny and poignant new solo play directed by Stephen Sachs, Jenny O’Hara plays an eccentric old woman who may, in fact, be a witch.  

Set in Appalachia and written entirely in verse, this charming and mesmerizing solo play is about a wacky old lady living in a odd little shack who just may happen to be a witch. Jenny O’Hara (Bakersfield Mist) returns to the Fountain in this funny, poignant and spell-binding tale of the magic of the human heart.  

'Broomstick' set design by Andrew Hammer

‘Broomstick’ set design by Andrew Hammer

Jenny O'Hara

Jenny O’Hara

First rehearsal was this Saturday, August 23, and a good time was had by all. Director Stephen Sachs spoke about his vision for the play and producer Simon Levy guided the company through the production paperwork. Also present at the first reading were co-artistic director Deborah Lawlor, associate producer James Bennett, designers Andrew Hammer and Misty Carlisle, dialect coach Tyler Seiple, technical director Scott Tuomey, stage manager Terri Roberts, box office manager Jessica Brout, intern William Sachs, and publicist Lucy Pollak. Once the opening business was done, actress Jenny O’Hara read the script marvelously. Jenny, of course, is well known and loved by Fountain audiences for her memorable performance in the smash hit Bakersfield Mist, and recently earned rave reviews in 4,000 Miles at South Coast Repertory.   

Preview performances of Broomstick start October 2nd. The West Coast Premiere opens at the Fountain Theatre on October 11 and runs to Nov 30. More info and order tickets.   
 

Enjoy These Snapshots of the First Rehearsal

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Lipstick, S’mores and Being Part of a Family

Gabby BROTHERS SIZE Opening Night

Summer Internship Ends But a Fountain Home Remains

by Gabby Lamm

How do I possibly I write a blog post that encapsulates all that I’ve learned at The Fountain this summer?  Without it being 100 pages and then some.

I could make a list of all the technical skills I’ve learned from the tutelage of Stephen, Simon, Barbara, James, Scott, and Deb over the past 10 weeks.  Among many other things:  I now know the ins and outs of soliciting: the necessity of following up, the intricate art of phone calls, messages, and emails, and all oh-so-crucial thank you note. I have practiced reading and evaluating plays, I have attended performances on behalf of the theatre, and I even helped to plan and execute The Fountain’s first ever Student Night. I have fought with my fair share of printers, and actually won some of those battles. These are all things that I can (and most assuredly will) list on my resume.

Gabby, Barbara Goodhill & Alice Kors

Gabby, Barbara Goodhill & Alice Kors

But that will not be my answer when I’m asked what I learned during my summer internship at The Fountain Theatre.

What will my answer be? Thanks for asking!

I learned how to work as part of a team. I learned about determination, about not giving up even when everything indicates that I won’t succeed. I learned the value of optimism and positivity when dreaming up a project. I learned how important it is to work through anxiety and self-doubt, and the amazing things that will then follow after  putting those feelings aside and trusting that I can rely on my team if something goes wrong. I learned some really great jokes.

Best of all, I am now able to call a group of amazing and inspirational people my family.

Thank you to Stephen, Simon, and Deb for allowing me to go beyond what was outlined in my job description to experience the wide variety of responsibilities involved in working a theatre.

Alice, Gabby, William, Barbara & Scott

                                   Alice, Gabby, William, Barbara & Scott

Thank you to Barbara for the incredible lessons you taught me, not only regarding fundraising and event planning, but also general life skills that have already begun to have a tremendous impact on my life outside of work.

Thank you to James for putting up with my near constant questions, whether about the box office and our patrons or the devil machines (also called printers), and for listening to my awful jokes and pretending they were funny.

Thank you to Scott for making me laugh at jokes even more terrible than my own, for showing and explaining the technical aspects of theatre not involved in my desk job, and for fixing my necklace that one time and my glasses that other time.

Thank you to William for bringing a smile and a positive presence every time you came to the office.

Gabby & Misty check their lipstick at 'Forever Flamenco'

Gabby & Misty check their lipstick at ‘Forever Flamenco’

Thank you to Licia for enduring front row seats to the intern desks every time you were in the office.

Thank you to Terri for letting me watch the show from the booth (which is most certainly not built for 3 people, and making it work anyway).

Thank you to Misty for your truly invaluable help and support during Student Night and Forever Flamenco! at the Ford, and for letting me use your lipstick.

Gabby Lamm & Alice Kors

Gabby Lamm & Alice Kors

And, last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to Alice, my partner in crime and lunchtime, for working with me day in and day out; for encouraging me when I doubted myself; for providing endless entertainment, jokes, and snapchat opportunities; for modeling what it looks like to be passionate about your dreams and how to believe in a goal until you make it happen. Oh, and also for that s’mores sandwich on our last day of work. Yum.

I am very sad to have to leave my post at The Fountain, but I know that I will be back for every show and event that happens when I am in town. I am proud to call myself a permanent member part of the Fountain Family.

Our thanks to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and County Board of Supervisors for their support of the Summer Arts Internship program.  

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Production Design Meeting for ‘My Name is Asher Lev’ at the Fountain Theatre

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The design and production team for our upcoming Los Angeles Premiere of My Name Is Asher Lev gathered on Saturday to discuss the many design elements needed for the production. It’s going to be a beautiful and powerful production with a fluid, quick-moving mixture of set, lights, music and sound supporting three talented actors who play a variety of characters.

At Saturday’s production meeting, director Stephen Sachs spoke to the designers and shared his vision for the play. Producer Simon Levy led the meeting with Technical Director Scott Tuomey. Adding their artistic contributions were set designer Jeff McLaughlin, lighting designer Ric Zimmerman, costume designer Shon LeBlanc, props designer Misty Carlisle, and production stage manager Terri Roberts. Composer/sound designer Lindsay Jones was out-of-town but a few samples of his gorgeous original music were played.      

Based on the bestselling novel by Chaim Potok, My Name Is Asher Lev is the powerful coming-of-age story of a Jewish boy’s struggle to become an artist against the will of his Orthodox parents, community and tradition. Asher Lev could be the next Picasso. But as the son of devout Hasidic parents who struggle to understand the value of his art, Asher Lev is torn apart. He knows he is commanded to honor his parents, but he must also be true to himself. As we glimpse the pieces of Asher’s painful past, we witness events that climax in his most famous work and the decision that will change his life forever. A recent hit Off-Broadway and winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the John Gassner Award.

The Los Angeles Premiere at the Fountain theatre stars Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja, and Joel Polis

Snapshots from the ‘Asher Lev’ Design Meeting

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My Name is Asher Lev Feb 15 – April 19 (323) 663-1525  MORE

Exclusive LA Revival of Larry Kramer’s ‘The Normal Heart’ Opens Sept 21 at the Fountain Theatre

Tim Cummings and Bill Brochtrup.

Tim Cummings and Bill Brochtrup at first rehearsal.

Fueled by love, anger, hope and pride, a circle of friends struggles to contain a mysterious disease ravaging New York’s gay community. Simon Levy directs the exclusive Los Angeles revival of Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking drama about public and private indifference to the onset of the AIDS crisis, and one man’s fight to awaken the world to its urgency. The Normal Heart opens Sept. 21 at the Fountain Theatre.

Not seen in L.A. for over 16 years, The Normal Heart remains one of the theater’s most powerful evenings ever. It was so ahead of its time that many of the core issues it addresses — including gay marriage, a broken healthcare system and, of course, AIDS — are just as relevant today as they were when it first premiered nearly 30 years ago.

“What’s wonderful about this play is that it’s a passionate reminder that we must always keep fighting for what we believe in, that we must never let injustice go unanswered,” says Levy.

Bill Brochtrup

Bill Brochtrup

Loosely autobiographical, The Normal Heart takes place in New York City in 1981. Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and LA Weekly Award-winning actor Tim Cummings (Rogue Machine’s The New Electric Ballroom), stars as writer and activist Ned Weeks, whose doctor (LADCC award-winning Lisa Pelikan, The New Electric Ballroom) tells him he must convince everyone he knows to stop having sex or they’ll die. The play follows Ned and a core group of friends Verton R. Banks (NAACP Theater Award-winner for Butterflies of Uganda),Bill Brochtrup (ABC’s NYPD Blue, Showtime’sShameless), Matt Gottlieb (The Grapes of Wrath at A Noise Within),  Fred Koehler (CBS’s Kate & Allie, HBO’s Oz), Stephen O’Mahoney (Harvey at the Laguna Playhouse), Ray Paolantonio (Animal Farm, Wilhelm Reich in Hell at Son of Semele), Dan Shaked (On the Spectrum at the Fountain) and Jeff Witzke (Blank Theatre Co.’s Book Of Liz) — as they rail against a community that refuses to believe they are in danger, a bureaucracy that refuses to listen and a President who won’t even utter the word AIDS. Dismissed by politicians, frustrated by doctors and fighting with each other, their differences could tear them apart – or change the world. The title of the play comes from a poem by W. H. Auden, the last line of which is this simple truth: “We must love one another or die.”

 

Matt Gottlieb

Matt Gottlieb

When The Normal Heart premiered at New York’s Public Theater in 1985, Joseph Papp wrote, “In taking a burning social issue and holding it up to public and private scrutiny so that it reverberates with the social and personal implications of that issue, The Normal Heart reveals its origins in the theater of Sophocles, Euripides and Shakespeare. In his moralistic fervor, Larry Kramer is a first cousin to nineteenth century Ibsen and twentieth century Odets and other radical writers of the 1930s. Yet… the element that gives this powerful political play its essence, is love — love holding firm under fire, put to the ultimate test, facing and overcoming our greatest fear: death.”

In 2000, The Normal Heart was named “one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th century” by the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, and the 2011 Broadway revival earned Tony, Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Revival of a Play. A movie directed by Ryan Murphy and starring Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer and Julia Roberts is slated to premiere on HBO in 2014.

Larry Kramer recently told Playbill, “Now it’s considered a history play. Everything I said in the play has come true.”

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer is an American playwright and LGBT-rights activist. He is a founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS service organization, and ACT UP, a direct action AIDS advocacy group. His most acclaimed plays include The Normal Heart (1985) and the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Destiny of Me (1992). His screenplay for Women in Love was nominated for an Academy Award in 1969. He is the author of the novel Faggots (1978), a confrontational portrayal of gay culture, and a critical essay about the AIDS crisis, “1,112 and Counting” (1983). Kramer has also written the plays Sissie’s Scrapbook, A Minor Dark Age and Just Say No, A Play about Farce. His other books are The Tragedy of Today’s Gays and Reports From the Holocaust: The Story of an AIDS Activist. He earned his B.A. in English from Yale University. In 2013, he was honored by the Tony Awards with the Isabelle Stevenson Award for significant contribution to humanitarian or charitable causes.

Simon Levy

Simon Levy

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 Cyrano (LADCC Awards for Direction and Production), A House Not Meantto Stand; Opus (LA Weekly Awards, Best Director); Photograph 51;The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Backstage Garland Award, Best Direction); The Gimmick with Dael Orlandersmith (Ovation Award-Solo Performance); Master Class (Ovation Award-Best Production); Daisy in theDreamtime (Backstage Garland Awards, Best Production and Direction); Going to St. Ives; The Night of theIguana; Summer & Smoke (Ovation Award-Best Production); The LastTycoon, which he wrote and directed, (5 Back Stage 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. He has written the official stage adaptations of The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and The Last Tycoon for the Fitzgerald Estate, all published by Dramatists Play Service. 

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Set design for The Normal Heart is by Jeff McLaughlin; lighting design is by R. Christopher Stokes; sound design is by Peter Bayne; video design is by Adam Flemming; costume design is by Naila Aladdin Sanders; prop design is by Misty Carlisle; the production stage manager is Corey Womack and the assistant stage manager is Terri Roberts.

The Normal Heart  Sept 21 – Nov 3  (323) 663-1525  MORE

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: ‘The Katrina Comedy Fest’ at the Fountain Theatre

Curtain call!

A Wonderful Sold-Out Performance Followed by Good Times in the Fountain Cafe

Last night was another magical evening at the Fountain Theatre: a terrific performance followed by fun in the cafe. 

A sold-out house enjoyed the special one-night-only performance of The Katrina Comedy Fest, a funny and touching piece telling the true stories of folks in New Orleans who survived the flooding of hurricane Katrina. The play is written by Rob Florence and directed by Misty Carlisle. The fabulous cast included Judy Jean Berns, Deidrie Henry, Travis Michael Holder, Jan Munroe and L. Trey Wilson.

After the performance, the cast and audience gathered upstairs in the Fountain cafe for a night of food, drinks and celebration.   

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