Week one of rehearsal started Tuesday for our upcoming remount of Citizen: An American Lyric, the centerpiece of Center Theatre Group’s Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Originally created and produced in 2015 at the Fountain Theatre, last week was a happy reunion for original cast members, designers , production crew and director Shirley Jo Finney.
Citizen: An American Lyric is a searing and poetic riff on race in America written by Claudia Rankine, adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs. The cast features Bernard K. Addison, Leith Burke, Tony Maggio, Monnae Michael, Simone Missick, and Lisa Pescia.
The company met in the rehearsal room at the Kirk Douglas Theatre and immediately got to work. Day one began with a table reading of the script. As the week progressed, the actors were soon up on their feet pacing through the blocking. Citizen opens at the Kirk Douglas Theatre for a limited run April 30 – May 7.
More Info/Get Tickets
Posted in actors, arts organizations, director, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, non-profit organization, performing arts, plays, racism, theatre
Tagged actors, Bernard K. Addison, Block Party, Center Theatre Group, Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine, director, Fountain Theatre, Leith Burke, Lisa Pescia, Los Angeles, Monnae Michael, Rehearsal, Shirley Jo Finney, Simone Missick, Stephen Sachs, Tony Maggio
Judith Moreland and James Macdonald
First rehearsals are often delicate events. Actors meet for the first time. Designers share their conceptual approaches for the production. The director articulates his or her vision for the journey ahead. Like on a first date, artists eye each other nervously, hoping this night’s first encounter will lead to a meaningful relationship so magic can be created together.
The tone of Monday night’s first rehearsal for the powerful new play Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan was one of purpose, more than jittery vulnerability. Everyone in the room felt exhilarated by the social and political conviction of the project and aware of the publicity the new play has already generated nationwide. Schenkkan is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, and screenwriter of the Academy Award nominated Hacksaw Ridge.
In Building the Wall, the Trump administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants. As a writer interviews the former supervisor of a private prison, it becomes clear how federal policy has escalated into something previously unimaginable.
Even before opening, the Fountain premiere of the new play has already been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Our production is part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, with other openings set to take place at the Curious Theater in Denver, Forum Theater in Silver Spring, Md., Borderlands Theater in Tucson and City Theatre in Miami.
The world premiere at the Fountain Theatre is directed by Michael Michetti, and features Judith Moreland and James Macdonald. At Monday night’s first rehearsal, Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs welcomed the team and gave a short history of how the play came to the Fountain. Producer Simon Levy reviewed production protocol. Michetti spoke about the play. Then, the actors opened their scripts and read the play together for the first time. The two actors were riveting, and the play will take audiences on a roller-coaster ride to its shattering ending.
Now the work begins. Rehearsals are underway. Our world premiere of Building the Wall opens March 18 and runs to May 21.
Advance tickets for Building the Wall are selling quickly. We urge you to make your reservations early for this urgent and important new play by a major voice in the American Theatre.
More Info/Get Tickets
Posted in actors, Arts, arts organizations, designers, director, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, new plays, non-profit organization, performing arts, plays, playwright, Theater, theatre
Tagged Building the Wall, Curious Theatre, Fountain Theatre, James Macdonald, Judith Moreland, Los Angeles, Michael Michetti, National New Play Network, new play, Pulitzer Prize, Rehearsal, Robert Schenkkan, Simon Levy, Stephen Sachs, theater, theatre, Tony Award, Trump, world premiere
Baby Doll tech rehearsal
It happens so often at tech rehearsal. And yet, each time it happens, it feels like the first. That magic moment when the colored lights are turned on the first time, the sound is turned up, the costumes are put on, the props are placed in hand. Suddenly the weeks of hard work in the empty rehearsal room blossom to life as the design elements add their wonder. This happened, this week, in tech rehearsals for our upcoming West Coast Premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll. It opens July 29.
The cast worked through their cues under the watchful eyes of lighting designer Ken Booth, set designer Jeff McLaughlin, sound designer/composer Peter Bayne, costume designer Terri A. Lewis and props designer Terri Roberts, all under the guidance of production stage manager Emily Lehrer and director Simon Levy.
The meticulous process of technical rehearsals — when light & sound cues are painstakingly timed and drilled — can be tedious. But the end result can be marvelous. As was the case this week with Baby Doll. It’s going to be a beautiful production.
Enjoy these snapshots from tech rehearsal. You’ll be dazzled when you see the finished production.
More Info/Get Tickets
Posted in designers, director, Drama, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, new plays, non-profit organization, performing arts, plays, stage, Tennessee Williams, Theater, theatre
Tagged actors, arts organizations, baby doll, costume design, Daniel Bess, drama, Emily Lehrer, Fountain Theatre, Jeff McLaughlin, John Prosky, Ken Booth, lighting design, Lindsay LaVanchy, Los Angeles, performing arts, Peter Bayne, plays, Rehearsal, set design, Simon Levy, sound design, stage adaptation, technical rehearsal, Tennessee Williams, Terri A. Lewis, Terri Roberts, theater, theatre, West Coast Premiere
Sometimes you have a first reading of a play with a new cast and it doesn’t go so well. The script may be solid and the cast experienced and professional. But the magic may not happen immediately.
This was not the case yesterday at our first read-through of Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll with this fabulous cast. The magic happened. Immediately.
It was one of those wondrous occasions when actors, director, production team and play all came together in a thrilling first read-through of a colorful and dynamic script. As the actors read the script together for the first time, the play soared off the page.
The gathering began in extraordinary fashion. Actress Karen Kondazian, playing Aunt Rose Comfort, has starred in many Williams plays and knew the playwright personally. Before rehearsal began yesterday, Karen displayed a small black box and slowly opened it. She carefully unwrapped the contents and held it up in the palm of her hand like a scared relic: a pair of Tennessee Williams’ glasses. It was passed around the table. Each company member examined the glasses, some put them on and had the unique experience of “seeing through the eyes” of one of America’s great playwrights.
Fountain Co-Artistic director Stephen Sachs welcomed the company and guided them through the paperwork at hand. Director Simon Levy spoke briefly about the play. Then the cast — Daniel Bess, Karen Kondazian, Lindsay LaVanchy, John Prosky and George Roland — read the script. And the play immediately leapt to life.
Joined at the table were Co-Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor, associate producer James Bennett, production stage manager Emily Lehrer, assistant stage manager Miranda Stewart, props designer Terri Roberts and publicist Lucy Pollak.
MORE INFO/GET TICKETS
Posted in Acting, actors, Arts, arts organizations, director, Drama, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, non-profit organization, performing arts, plays, playwright, Tennessee Williams, Theater, theatre
Tagged actors, arts organizations, baby doll, Daniel Bess, Deborah Lawlor, Emily Lehrer, first rehearsal, Fountain Theatre, George Roland, James Bennett, John Prosky, Karen Kondazian, Lindsay LaVanchy, Los Angeles, Miranda Stewart, performing arts, plays, playwriting, Rehearsal, script, Simon Levy, Stephen Sachs, Tennessee Williams, Terri Roberts, theater, theatre, West Coast Premiere
Elizabeth Frances and Brian Tichnell
A road trip rehearsal in the vast, open desert became an unforgettable experience for the company of Dream Catcher on Saturday.
Because the new play is set in the middle of the Mojave desert, director Cameron Watson led actors Elizabeth Frances and Brian Tichnell, playwright Stephen Sachs and stage manager Emily Lehrer to a desert spot 80 miles outside Los Angeles. They would rehearse the play there. Watson hoped the desert would offer the actors an authentic sense of place and the opportunity to soak up the sights, sounds, smells and heat of the landscape.
They experienced something much more.
Dream Catcher Jan 30 – March 14 (323) 663-1525 More Info/Get Tickets
Posted in Acting, actors, Arts, arts organizations, director, Drama, Fountain Theatre, new plays, performing arts, plays, playwright, Theater, theatre
Tagged acting, actors, Brian Tichnell, Cameron Watson, director, Dream Catcher, Elizabeth Frances, Emily Lehrer, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, Mojave desert, new play, performing arts, plays, playwright, Rehearsal, Stephen Sachs, theater, world premiere
The cast of “On the Spectrum” at the Fountain.
First rehearsals are always a time for nervous energy and eager excitement. Spirits were particularly high at our first rehearsal yesterday for our upcoming West Coast Premiere of On the Spectrum by Ken LaZebnik, directed by Jacqueline Schultz. Awarded a 2012 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award citation and granted a 2011 Edgerton Foundation New American Play award, On the Spectrum is a funny and touching love story between a young man with Asperger’s and a young woman with autism. Previews begin March 9th and it opens March 16th.
The company gathered upstairs in the cozy cafe at the Fountain. The actors met for the first time and filled out their paperwork. Producer Simon Levy welcomed the team, director Jacqueline Schultz spoke about the production, and playwright Ken LaZebnik shared his thoughts about the play. Scripts were then opened and the play was read aloud for the first time by the actors. They were marvelous. The energy in the room ignited with a vibrant and heartwarming glow as it immediately became clear that this was going to be a wonderful journey together.
On the Spectrum March 16 – April 28 (323) 663-1525 More
Posted in actors, Arts, director, Fountain Theatre, new plays, performing arts, plays, playwright, Theater, theatre
Tagged Asperger's, autism, autistic, Dan Shaked, Deborah Lawlor, Fountain Theatre, Jacqueline Schultz, Jeanie Hackett, Ken LaZebnik, Los Angeles, love story, new plays, On the Spectrum, performing arts, plays, playwriting, Rehearsal, Simon Levy, Stephen Sachs, theater, theatre, Virginia Newcomb, West Coast Premiere