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Archive for Fountain Theatre

Barding in the park, after dark

Kalean Ung and Sam Breen in Macbeth. Photo by Grettel Cortes.

Kalean Ung and Sam Breen in Macbeth. Photo by Grettel Cortes.

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

‘Macbeth’ in Griffith Park, ‘Comedy’ in Irvine. CTG’s month of emulating Netflix. ‘Beach People,’ ‘Lavender Men,’ ‘Valley Song.’ Jason Alexander charts his Abby road.

Have you savored Shakespeare in the park this summer? This coming week might be the best possible moment for this annual ritual, as well as one of the last such opportunities. A daytime heat wave is expected this week, so you might not even need that extra wrap that you take, for example, to Topanga in June.

I’m recommending two productions far from Topanga — suiting different moods and, perhaps, with different ticket availability. If you want something wicked and wild, go to a dell in Griffith Park for Independent Shakespeare Company’s “Macbeth.” If you want something whimsical and witty, try the errrantly spelled “Comedy of Errrorrs” at New Swan Shakespeare Festival in Irvine. Read more…

IF I FORGET at The Fountain Theatre

Leo Marks, Sami Klein and Valerie Perri. Photo by Jenny Graham

Leo Marks, Sami Klein and Valerie Perri. Photo by Jenny Graham

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Plays about fractious families may be common but toss politics and the Holocaust into the mix and you’ll have an intriguing drama.

Steven Levenson’s If I Forget takes place in an upper middle-class home in Washington DC, circa the year 2000. The central character, Michael Fischer (Leo Marks), is a professor of Jewish studies who’s written a book blasting prevailing Jewish attitudes towards the Holocaust. In the book, he suggests that historically enshrined memories of this monstrous event — perhaps best connoted by the ubiquitous slogan “Never Forget!” — are being exploited and abused by self-interested parties. It is Michael’s belief that Jews, both as individuals and collectively, would be better served if they recognized this exploitation and moved on. In his mind, this Holocaust obsession has clouded perspectives and pushed to the background other vital issues of concern, ranging from current genocide in Rwanda to glaring injustices here at home.
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Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

Religion is ever with us, for good or ill. We humans seem to be hardwired with a need for the numinous. Steven Levenson’s play, If I Forget, begins with a psalm and ends with a vision, the psalm an exhortation for Jewish people not to forget their heritage, inviting misfortune if they forget. This stark prayer sets up a compelling and satisfyingly dramatic show about the tension between religious tradition and modern secularism. The new production at The Fountain Theatre in East Hollywood, directed by Jason Alexander, is a terrific showcase for its excellent cast and Levenson’s sharp writing, although it also features one major misstep. Read more…

Returns Oct 28 – Dec 18

THE CHILDREN at the Fountain Theatre

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Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children was written before the pandemic, and it’s about the aftermath of a nuclear accident and not a virus, but its vibe of looming doom and concern over what can actually be done to fix things seems very appropriate to our present-day circumstances.
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Now running through January 23, 2022

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY at the Fountain Theatre

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY, which makes its Los Angeles debut at The Fountain Theatre, is a hard-hitting drama about wanderers, those unattached, ungrounded people who lack the support to make smart choices, but still deserve grace and hope. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2015, the play features all that one expects from playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis:
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Stephen Adly Guirgis draws his characters — addicts, ex-cons and others who might generously be characterized as imperfect citizens — from the edges of polite society. Vivid communicators, often given to erratic behavior, they are inclined to be voluble and to express opinions colored with unconventional logic. Yet in their openness these folks are frequently guileless and sympathetic— traits which make the plays they inhabit engaging, entertaining and sometimes compelling.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen
What happens when your life has been gutted to the point where practically all that remains are your grudges? Between Riverside and Crazy, a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis currently in its Los Angeles premiere at the Fountain Theatre, is a dark comedy that explores serious issues of racism among police officers and the consequences of police shootings. But it is also a thoughtful exploration of family, forgiveness, and deciding what is important when life has not gone the way you imagined.
Read more…

Now running through December 15

HYPE MAN at the Fountain Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Playwright Idris Goodwin delves into the thorny issue of race in America with this incisive three-character play about two longtime friends whose artistic partnership is shattered after they fall out over the police shooting of a black teen. Touching on white privilege and the co-opting of hip-hop by commercial interests, it’s an imperfect but potentially compelling work, sabotaged by directorial missteps that render this production a disappointment.
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Now running through April 14

COST OF LIVING at the Fountain Theatre

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The actual “cost of living” can take on many forms—physical, emotional, financial. In Cost of Living, Martyna Majok’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning play now in its west coast premiere at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, two very different relationships between people with disabilities and their caregivers are examined through a universal lens of privilege, loneliness, and how both affect us all.
Read more…

Now running through

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE at the Fountain Theatre

 

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Sometimes it’s the most seemingly random interactions that go on to have the greatest impact on our lives. This is the topic explored in Arrival & Departure, a play written and directed by Stephen Sachs and inspired by the 1945 film Brief Encounter. Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

For Laura, in Noel Coward’s beautiful pre-World War II black & white film, Brief Encounter, it is an unexpected meeting at a train station that leads to a secret romance with a friendly stranger named Alec. In ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE, the stage play inspired by Coward’s film, written and directed by Stephen Sachs, it is a moment in a modern day New York subway station that thrusts Emily (Deanne Bray) into a similar romantic conundrum with another stranger, Sam (Troy Kotsur).   Read more…

Now running through September 30

THE CHOSEN at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Reuven and Danny spend their childhoods living five blocks apart, but only meet for the first time as teenagers when a contentious baseball game ends with one of them in the hospital. This sets the scene for The Chosen, adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok based on Potok’s 1967 novel of the same name.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Chaim Potok’s novel The Chosen was a best seller when it came out in 1967, and it remains a staple of middle school reading lists to this day. It’s the story of two Jewish boys living in Brooklyn in the 1940s: Reuven, raised by his gentle widowed dad as an observant orthodox Jew, and Daniel, whose exacting father is a Hassidic rabbi who shuns all things secular and plans for his son to follow in his footsteps.
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Now running through March 25

RUNAWAY HOME at the Fountain Theatre

 (Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Jeremy J. Kamps’ play “Runaway Home,” now premiering at the Fountain Theatre, is set in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward three years after Hurricane Katrina. The waters may have long receded, but the residents still wander like ghosts through the wreckage of their lives.
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Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, playwright Jeremy J. Kamps went to New Orleans as a volunteer, “gutting and mucking” waterlogged, mold-ridden and decaying houses. He was able to observe firsthand the endless problems that plagued local residents in their efforts to rebuild and restore their destroyed communities: government assistance that came too late or not at all, displaced people unable to find lost friends and relatives, racism, red-tape and sometimes deliberate obstruction.

Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Directed by Shirley Jo Finney, Jeremy J. Camps ‘ Runaway Home takes place in New Orleans in 2008 and revolves around a troubled 14-year-old runaway learning to survive on her own after a physical altercation with her mother prompts her to leave home.

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Now running through November 5

 

 

 

BUILDING THE WALL at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Robert Schenkkan’s play, set in 2019, is a dystopian vision of what life in Trump-land might be like two years hence.

In a prison meeting room, a black woman, Gloria (Judith Moreland) is interviewing Rick (Bo Foxworth), a white prisoner. She offers him a chance to tell his side of the story. But the two are wary of each other. At first, he refuses to cooperate with her, but when she prepares to leave, he relents. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Prolific playwright Robert Schenkkan won a 1992 Pulitzer Prize for his series of one-acts, The Kentucky Cycle, and a 2014 Tony Award for Best Play for All the Way, about the efforts of Lyndon Baines Johnson to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He wrote Building the Wall in response to the election of Donald Trump. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Unlike other plays that are about a real-life person but speak metaphorically or use a pseudonym, “Building the Wall” refers to Donald Trump by name and by policy. Read more…

Now running through May 21

MY MAÑANA COMES at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Immigration issues are bandied about in political discourse in the media every day, but the lives of kitchen workers and janitors and fruit pickers are rarely brought to the stage. Kudos to New York-based playwright Elizabeth Irwin for doing just that. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The workplace, where so many of us spend so much time, offers a rich trove of subjects for playwrights eager to move away from the dysfunctional family. As “The Office” suggested on TV, even the most pedestrian employee breakroom can roil with enough intrigue and folly to make the House of Borgia look tame. Read more…

Now running through June 26

DREAM CATCHER at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In concept, Stephen Sachs’ Dream Catcher at the Fountain Theatre is a timely play. Directed by Cameron Watson, it details a clash between a young engineer involved in designing a solar-energy plant that would help combat global warming, and a poorly educated Native American woman who objects to the project because it violates the sacred lands of her people. Read more…

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Contemporary headlines about global warming, a hot-button political controversy, merge with matters of social conscience and human history in the world premiere of Stephen Sachs’ challenging two-person drama. Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Spending any extended time in a desert like our own Mojave inevitably becomes a transformative experience, gradually and continually altering one’s perceptions of our place in a natural environment. It’s eerie the way one’s sensibility adjusts to the desert’s variety and pulse as our awareness continues to fine-tune. Read more…

Now running through March 21