Tag Archives: Naila Aladdin-Sanders

‘Citizen’ Rehearsals Trigger Thought-Provoking Talk Between Actors at Fountain Theatre

Cast of 'Citizen" have table talk.

Cast of ‘Citizen’ have table talk.

Rehearsals are now underway for our exciting world premiere stage adaptation of Claudia Rankine‘s acclaimed book about race in America, Citizen: An American Lyric. Only a few days into rehearsal , the new play has already inspired an honest, open and insightful dialogue between the actors, sharing thoughts and feelings about race, identity, human connection, self-awareness and what it means to be a citizen in this country. 

Adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, the free-flowing and fast-moving theatre piece opens August 1st. 

The talented ensemble cast includes Bernard K. Addison, Leith Burke, Tina Lifford, Tony Maggio, Simone Missick, and Lisa Pescia.  

Before the cast was permitted to turn to page one of the script and begin the painstaking process of exploring and analyzing the text, it was essential to Director Finney that the actors have a frank conversation with each other about their own life experiences concerning race, social/cultural interaction and human relationships. To get to the heart of the issues exposed in this play, Finney insisted, it must be personal. The result was a spirited dialogue at the rehearsal table that was raw, insightful, painful, funny and enlightening.    

Actor Tony Maggio.

Actor Tony Maggio and company discuss the play.

This powerful  and thought-provoking stage adaptation fuses theatre, music, sound, movement,  and video imagery. Snapshots, vignettes, a meditation on the acts of everyday racism. Remarks, glances, seeming slips of the tongue. Those did-that-really-just-happen-did-they-really-just say-that slurs that happen every day. And the larger incidents that become national firestorms. As Rankine writes, “This is how you are a citizen.”

Rankine’s acclaimed book is the Winner of the 2015 National Book Award, the 2015 Los Angeles Book Award, and the PEN Award.

At Monday night’s first rehearsal, producer Simon Levy guided the company through production business, scheduling and paperwork. Costume designer Naila Aladdin Sanders took measurements of the actors. Director Shirley Jo Finney spoke about her vision for the play. The script was then read aloud by the cast.  Also present were Co-Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor, Director of Devlopment Barbara Goodhill, designers Yee Eun Nam, and Dillon Nelson, movement director Anastasia Coon, publicist Lucy Pollak, and intern Isabel Espy.  

The meditation on race and truthful questioning of social interaction dramatized in this new work is timely for our city and our country.  Our world premiere stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric promises to be the theatrical event of the summer and will certainly generate much-needed conversation. We urge all citizens to join us for this illuminating and important ride! Opens August 1st. 

Photo Slideshow: Table Talk

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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 

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

 

 

SLIDESHOW: Production Design Meeting for Our Upcoming LA Premiere of ‘The Brothers Size’

 

Director Shirley Jo Finney shares her vision for 'The Brothers Size'.

Director Shirley Jo Finney shares her vision for ‘The Brothers Size’.

The design and production team for our upcoming Los Angeles Premiere of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney gathered this week 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, movement and sound supporting three talented actors. 

Director Shirley Jo Finney spoke to the designers and shared her vision for the play. Producers Simon Levy and Deborah Lawlor led the meeting with Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs, Associate Producer James Bennett and Technical Director Scott Tuomey. Adding their artistic contributions were set designer Hana S. Kim (via speaker phone!), lighting designer Pablo Santiago, costume designer Naila Aladdin-Sanders, choreographer Ameenah Kaplan, composer/sound designer Peter Bayne, music director Brenda Lee Eager, and production stage manager Terri Roberts

Award-winning director Shirley Jo Finney returns to direct The Brothers Size, the second play in McCraney’s Trilogy, following our acclaimed and award-winning In the Red and Brown WaterThe Brothers Size is a hot-blooded, music-filled drama from one of the country’s most exciting new voices. After a homecoming in the bayous of Louisiana, the Size brothers, Ogun and Oshoosi, try to start fresh. This haunting, funny, and heartbreaking tour de force probes sexuality, coming of age, and the bonds of family as the brothers struggle to discover identity and to unearth a new sense of freedom.

The Los Angeles Premiere at the Fountain theatre stars Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock  and Theo Perkins. 

Enjoy These Snapshots

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Fountain Theatre Earns 10 NAACP Theater Award Nominations for Two Acclaimed Productions

"In the Red and Brown Water"

“In the Red and Brown Water”

The Fountain Theatre has been nominated for ten NAACP Theater Awards for two of its acclaimed productions in its 2012 season: the Los Angeles Premiere of  In The Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney and the United States Premiere of Athol Fugard’s The Blue Iris.

NAACP Theater Award nominations for the Fountain Theatre are:

IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER
  • Best Producer – Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor
  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney
  • Best Lead Actress – Diarra Kilpatrick
  • Best Supporting Actress – Iona Morris
  • Best Supporting Actor – Gilbert Glenn Brown
  • Best Choreography – Ameenah Kaplan
  • Best Costumes – Naila Aladdin Sanders
  • Best Lighting – Jose Lopez
THE BLUE IRIS
  • Best Costumes – Naila Aladdin Sanders
  • Best Lighting – Jeff McLaughlin

“We’re very pleased and delighted by these nominations,” beamed Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “And we’re proud that both of our nominated productions were premieres of new plays by two important, acclaimed playwrights — one a rising new voice in the American Theater, the other a master on the international stage.”   

The Los Angeles 2012-13 theater award season is off to another  good start for the Fountain Theatre. It was recently announced that the Fountain also earned 8 Ovation Award nominations including Best Season and Best Production of a Play.

"The Blue Iris"

“The Blue Iris”

The NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch. Ron Hasson is Branch President and Tia Boyd is the Executive Producer for the NAACP Theatre Awards Show. The prestigious star-studded gala is produced for the purpose of honoring artists among the best in the field of entertainment.

This year’s awards show will be held on Monday, November 11, 2013, at 6:00 P.M. at the historical Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, formerly known as the Fox Wilshire Theatre. Here is the full list of all nominations.  

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Final Bow and Closing Party for Acclaimed ‘On the Spectrum’ at the Fountain Theatre

The final bow.

The final bow for ‘On the Spectrum’ at the Fountain Theatre.

The final bow for our acclaimed West Coast Premiere of On the Spectrum finally came last Sunday, April 28th, ending a wonderful run of rave reviews and enchanted audiences. Critics and theatergoers were swept away by the heartfelt vulnerability of the script by Ken LaZebnik, the vision and storytelling of the direction by Jacqueline Schultz, the honest passion of the cast (Jeanie Hackett, Virginia Newcomb, Dan Shaked) and the magic of the design team (set – John Iacovelli, lights – Christopher Stokes, video – Jeff Teeter, sound – Peter Bayne, costumes – Naila Alladin-Sanders, props – Misty Carlisle).

A Fountain shout-out to our fabulous production crew: Production Stage Manager – Corey Womack, Assistant Stage Manager – Terri Roberts, Board Operator Jennifer Seifert, House Manager – Jessica Turner, Tech Director – Scott Tuomey).

Our thanks to The Help Group for their support of this production. On the Spectrum was a deeply rewarding run that opened a window for many of us, allowing us to peer into a world we may not otherwise see.

A post-show closing party was held after the final matinee performance last Sunday. Enjoy some snapshots!   

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Fountain Theatre Honored with 8 LA Weekly Theater Award Nominations

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

Diarra Kilpatrick and cast in “In the Red and Brown Water”

The Fountain Theatre has received 8 LA Weekly Theater Award Nominations plus 1 Special Commendation for sound designer Peter Bayne.

The 8 nominations for the Fountain Theatre are:

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR
In the Red and Brown Water, Fountain Theatre
 
ENSEMBLE
The Blue Iris, Fountain Theatre
LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Diarra Kilpatrick,  In the Red and Brown Water
 
SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Jacqueline Schultz, The Blue Iris
Jacqueline Schultz and Julanne Chidi Hill in "The Blue Iris"

Jacqueline Schultz and Julanne Chidi Hill in “The Blue Iris”

 ADAPTATION
Tarell Alvin McCraney, In the Red and Brown Water
 
COSTUME DESIGN
Naila Aladdin Sanders, In the Red and Brown Water
 
SOUND DESIGN
Peter Bayne, In the Red and Brown Water
Peter Bayne, The Blue Iris
 
SPECIAL COMMENDATIONS
Peter Bayne, composer, In the Red and Brown Water
production photos by Ed Kreiger

The 34th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards, celebrating the best work on LA’s intimate stages will be at the Avalon on April 8. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.