Tag Archives: Pablo Santiago

Fountain Theatre’s ‘Citizen: An American Lyric’ to highlight new LA arts festival at Grand Park

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‘Citizen: An American Lyric’ at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, 2017.

The Fountain Theatre’s critically acclaimed and award-winning stage adaptation of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric has been chosen as the centerpiece of a new festival celebrating the diversity and excellence of the arts in Los Angeles. The festival, called Our L.A. Voices, will be launched April 27 – 29, 2018, in downtown Los Angeles at Grand Park. 

Envisioned as an annual “best of L.A. arts festival,” this free, three-day performing and visual arts showcase will bring dance, music and theatre performances as well as visual artwork by L.A. artists to Grand Park every spring. Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices will serve as a home for L.A. artists, underlining Grand Park’s commitment to L.A.’s creative communities.

The Fountain Theatre’s production of Citizen: An American Lyric has been chosen to represent excellence in Los Angeles theatre.  The compelling play about racism in America will be the culmination of both evenings on Friday April 27th and Saturday April 28th, both performances at 8pm, serving as the centerpiece for the multi-arts festival.

Stephen Sachs’ stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine won the 2016 Stage Raw Theatre Award for Best Adaptation, declaring it “a transcendent theatrical experience.The Los Angeles Times hailed it as “powerful”, highlighting it as Critic’s Choice. The production was chosen by Center Theatre Group for its first Block Party celebration of intimate theatre in Los Angeles at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2017.

Director Shirley Jo Finney returns to direct the Grand Park outdoor production. Original cast members Bernard K. Addision, Leith Burke, Tony Maggio, Monnae Michaell, Lisa Pescia will be joined by Adenrele Ojo. The original design team — Yee Eun Nam (set and video), Pablo Santiago (lighting), Peter Bayne (sound), Naila Aladdin-Sanders (costumes) — also return with production stage manager Shawna Voragen. 

“In the sprawling Los Angeles metropolis, Grand Park provides both a place and a reason for Angelenos to come together to experience the arts and each other in ways they never have before,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center.   

Grand Park is a 12-acre urban oasis nestled between The Music Center and City Hall. Operated by The Music Center, the park features fountains, outdoor dining, recreation, sprawling lawns and an outdoor stage. That stage will be the center platform for the Our L.A. Voices Arts Festival, highlighting the variety and high quality of L.A.-based artists and companies.  The weekend-long event will feature music, dance, theatre, spoken word poetry and fine art. Food trucks will offer savory menus of LA cuisine. 

Grand Park

Grand Park, Los Angeles.

“It’s an honor for the Fountain Theatre to be representing Los Angeles theatre at this exciting new arts festival,” beams Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “We’re proud to be partnering with the Music Center and Grand Park to celebrate the diversity and artistic excellence of our city.” 

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Isa’s Intern Journal: Digging for roots and finding a community

Rehearsal for 'The Better Part of 'Forever'

Rehearsal for ‘The Better Part of ‘Forever’

by Isabel Espy

cactusI grew up in a town that brushed up against a desert where not much grew except for the occasional towering cactus.  When I would come across a huge Eulychnia Acida covered in red flowers­­, it would always catch me by surprise. How could such an arid womb give birth to something so affirming?

Theatre is like a cactus. Not because it can be shockingly painful when experienced – which it can be – but because it often gives the impression of springing up out of nothing. But what I learned living next to a desert is that if you dig down around a cactus you will always find roots that can stretch for miles, connecting it to everything. And boy, does theatre have roots!

While you may see one amazing show, one brilliant performance,­­ if you dig you will find a community of passionate artists who provide lifeblood to the show. Much like the roots of cacti that hold a desert’s topsoil from beneath, a strong healthy theatre community, though often invisible, keeps the fabric of a community in place.

After 3 years in the Theatre School at UCLA I have found a hidden world of amazingly talented souls. I am a rising senior at UCLA, and I love the family of performers, designers, directors, and writers I have accumulated. What I hadn’t realized was just how far these roots extend outside and beyond UCLA’s  School of Theatre, Film and Television .  I have already run into so many people through the LA County Arts Commission  internship community and through working here that I know from the larger theatre world.

Pablo Santiago

Pablo Santiago holds his Stage Raw award

During one of my first days here at The Fountain, as I was making one of my many trips to the kitchen to refill my coffee mug, I slipped past an early design meeting for our upcoming play, Citizen: An American Lyric. I recognized Pablo Santiago, an amazing lighting designer who I have been lucky to work with on a couple shows at UCLA, and found out that he designing the lights for the show. A day or two later James Bennett asked me if I would like to read the script of The Better Part of Forever. It turns the play was written by a classmate of mine, Leland Frankel.

I met Leland my first week at UCLA, have spent many an hour working on group projects with him, and just last month accidentally crashed his graduation party. Leland knows how to throw a great soiree, but he knows how to write an even better play.

Leland Frankel

Leland Frankel

I read The Better Part of Forever on my lunch break, which shows you how absorbed I was, as usually I spend that half-­hour hopelessly trying to get a hold of my sister on Skype, my only means of reaching her in The Hague. I was so invested in The Better Part of Forever that on my commute to work the next day I found myself vaguely musing over what Jules, one of the two protagonists of the play, would do if asked to join an ice ­cream sundae eating contest. These random thoughts are usually reserved for bad TV show characters or absorbing books, and it took me a while to locate Jules within the context of Leland’s play.

Rehearsal for 'The Better Part of Forever'.

Rehearsal for ‘The Better Part of Forever’.

Anyway, last week I snuck into one of the rehearsals for The Better Part of Forever and got to catch up with Leland and watch the reading being staged. I am super excited about seeing it on the 12th of July as part of the Fountain’s Rap Dev Series, and so should you! Dig and find the roots that hold up amazing artistic work – you might just stumble upon a flowering cactus.

Don’t miss the staged reading of Leland Frankel’s  The Better  Part of Forever on July 10 & 12. Get Tickets/More Info   

Isabel Espy is the Fountain Theatre’s summer intern from UCLA. We are grateful for the support of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and its Arts Internship program.  

Fountain Theatre Honored at Stage Raw Awards

Joel Polis, Jenny O'Hara, Matthew Hancock, Gilbert Glenn Brown

Actors Joel Polis, Jenny O’Hara, Matthew Hancock, Gilbert Glenn Brown

The first-ever Stage Raw Awards were held last night at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Downtown LA.  Founded by local arts journalist Steven Leigh Morris,  Stage Raw is a digital journal dedicated to discovering, discussing and honoring L.A.-based arts and culture. The Stage Raw Awards specifically honor achievements in LA intimate theaters with 99-seats or fewer.   

The Fountain Theatre received 13 Stage Raw Award nominations for three of its 2014 productions. Two Fountain artists were honored: Joel Polis won the Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in our LA Premiere of My Name is Asher Lev, and lighting designer Pablo Santiago won for his work on our LA Premiere of The Brothers Size.  

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Fountain Theatre Wins Top Honor at 2014 Ovation Awards

Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs waves from the stage at the 2014  Ovation Awards.

Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs waves from the stage at the Ovation Awards.

It was a memorable evening for the Fountain Theatre Sunday night, November 2nd,  at the 2014 Ovation Awards hosted by LA Stage Alliance and held at the historic San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in San Gabriel. The Fountain was honored with the prestigious Best Season Award (“The Normal Heart”, “My Name is Asher Lev”, and “The Brothers Size”) for overall excellence and received the 2014 BEST Award from the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation recognizing exceptional theatre organizations that contribute to the cultural vibrancy of Los Angeles.

Often hailed as LA’s version of the Tony Awards, the peer-judged Ovation Awards recognize excellence in theatrical performance, production and design in the Greater Los Angeles area. The LA Times has referred to the Ovation Awards as the “highest-profile contest for local theatre.”

Stephen Sachs

Stephen Sachs

The Best Season Award is the preeminent Ovation honor. It recognizes a theatre company’s overall excellence throughout an entire season. Over the years, The Fountain has received more nominations for the Best Season category than any other theatre in Los Angeles. This year marks the 5th time that The Fountain Theatre has been nominated for Best Season since the category was created 6 years ago. The Fountain has now won the award twice.  

“Being honored with the Best Season Award is particularly meaningful to us because it doesn’t go to one person,” said Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “It celebrates the achievement of an entire season of artists. Therefore, the award goes to — and is shared by — all of the many actors, designers and production team members in our Fountain Family who made our 2013-14 Ovation Season such a success. ”  

Acclaimed productions in the Fountain 2014 Ovation Season included the exclusive revival of The Normal Heart, the Los Angeles Premiere of My Name is Asher Lev, and the Los Angeles Premiere of The Brothers Size.   

BS group 1

Shirley Jo Finney, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Theo Perkins, Stephen Sachs, Matthew Hancock.

2014 BEST Award winners, with Biller Foundation Executive Director Sarah Lyding

2014 BEST Award winners, with Biller Foundation Executive Director Sarah Lyding

The Fountain was also honored Sunday night with the BEST Award presented and funded by The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation.  The BEST (Building Excellence in Small Theatre) Award recognizes exceptional theatre organizations that contribute to the cultural vitality of Los Angeles with long-term viability. The Fountain was honored for its ability to think creatively, the quality of its ideas and aspirations, and the organization’s ability to differentiate itself from other Los Angeles theatre companies.

Our sincere thanks to LA Stage Alliance and The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation for their ongoing dedicated support of intimate theatre in Los Angeles.

Enjoy These Photos from the 2014 Ovation Awards

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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

 

 

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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