FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact (for media only): Lucy Pollak
[email protected] (818) 887-1499
Fountain Theatre presents West Coast premiere of timely
and timeless ‘Freight’ starring J. Alphonse Nicholson
LOS ANGELES (REVISED October 31, 2023) — The Fountain Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green, a timely and timeless theatrical journey written by Howard L. Craft, directed by Joseph Megel, and starring J. Alphonse Nicholson (Broadway’s Tony award-winning A Soldier’s Play; P-Valley on Starz; Netflix’s They Cloned Tyrone). The limited 21-performance run takes place November 12 through December 16, with low-priced previews beginning November 9.
Nicholson reprises his off-Broadway, tour-de-force star turn as five versions of an African American everyman who travels through time in different incarnations, including a 19th Century minstrel, a faith healer, an FBI informant, a struggling actor, and an out-of-work mortgage broker. In each life, Abel is guided, distracted, helped or hindered by a handful of characters with whom his destiny is forever intertwined. We meet each new iteration of Abel Green on a train, which changes in appearance in accordance with each time period and serves as a link between dimensions. Sidney Edwards joins Nicholson on stage as “The Universal Flow.”
“Freight operates on the premise that a person’s spirit, or soul, comes to the world because there is something the soul needs to learn,” says Craft. “If the soul does not learn it, then it comes back to the world again and again until it’s successful. The soul can exist concurrently in different time periods, in multiple dimensions of the same universe.”
Inspired by the painting “Slow Down Freight Train” by Rose Piper, the play started out as a 10-minute monologue for North Carolina’s “Activated Art at the Ackland” series. That scene was later expanded in collaboration with Megel and Nicholson to create the current, full-length production.
“The three of us have great chemistry,” Craft explained in an interview. “This is not the first piece we’ve done together. I’m from Durham [North Carolina] and Alphonse is from Greensboro; there are a lot of similarities in these places. He just really gets the rhythm of my writing. And Joseph has a way of pulling things out of an actor, and out of a playwright. He has a very light touch, but he brings so much up.”
Freight earned rave reviews off-Broadway at the New Federal Theatre. “Mr. Nicholson transforms from one Abel to the next in front of us… distinct and entertaining,” raved The New York Times in its “Critic’s Pick” review. New York’s Amsterdam News enthused, “intensely written and stunningly performed,” and Berkshire Fine Arts calls Freight “a superb play.”
Named one of Essence magazine’s “Of the Essence Screen Kings,” Nicholson is a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee for his role in P-Valley, and other notable credits include Just Mercy (Warner Bros.), Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix), Blue Bloods (CBS), Mr. Robot (USA), Shots Fired (FOX), Marvel’s Luke Cage (Netflix), Tales (BET), The Blacklist (NBC), and Chicago PD (NBC). In addition to A Soldier’s Play, his theater credits include Signature Theatre’s twice extended off-Broadway premiere of Dominque Morisseau’s Paradise Blue, directed by Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and Days of Rage at 2nd Stage. He was recently seen in the remake of White Men Can’t Jump (Disney/20th Century Studios) and They Cloned Tyrone (Macro/Netflix). Next up: The Sterling Affairs (FX), Black Spartans (Buffalo 8 Productions) and Albany Road.
The creative team for Freight at the Fountain includes scenic designer Joel Daavid; lighting designer Alison Brummer, sound designer Marc Antonio Pritchett; video designer Eamonn Farrell; costume designer Danyele Thomas; and props designer Rebecca Carr. The production stage manager is Kaitlyn R. Cramer.
The Fountain Theatre is dedicated to presenting outstanding theater that challenges thinking while shining an artistic light on social justice issues and on the diverse voices and cultures within Los Angeles. As Mayor, Eric Garcetti joined with the L.A. City Council to commend the Fountain for “achieving a position of leadership in the Los Angeles theater community… producing meaningful new plays of social and political importance that enrich the lives of the citizens of Los Angeles.” The Fountain is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theater, presented for “outstanding productions of meaningful new plays and first-class performances spanning three decades.” Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty called the Fountain “L.A.’s most enterprising intimate theater [that] continues to punch far above its weight… No L.A. theater has done a better job of asking us to reexamine our lives through the lens of acute contemporary drama this year than the Fountain.”
Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green opens on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., with performances thereafter on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through December 16 (dark Monday, Nov. 13 and Friday, Nov. 24). Three preview performances take place on Thursday, Nov. 9; Friday, Nov. 10; and Saturday, Nov. 11, each at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $25–$45; Pay–What–You–Want seating is available every Monday night in addition to regular seating (subject to availability); all previews are Pay-What-You-Want.
The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Patrons are invited to relax before and after the show at the Fountain’s indoor/outdoor café. For reservations and information, call (323) 663–1525 or go to www.FountainTheatre.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
‘Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green’
The Fountain Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of a timely and timeless theatrical journey, Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green. J. Alphonse Nicholson (Broadway’s Tony award-winning A Soldier’s Play; co-star P-Valley on Starz; Netflix’s They Cloned Tyrones) reprises his off-Broadway, tour-de-force star turn as five versions of an African American everyman who travels through time in different incarnations, including a 19th Century minstrel, a faith healer, an FBI informant, a struggling actor and an out-of-work mortgage broker. In each life, Abel is guided, distracted, helped or hindered by a handful of characters with whom his destiny is forever intertwined. We meet each new iteration of Abel Green on a train, which changes in appearance in accordance with each time period and serves as a link between dimensions.
“Critic’s Pick… Mr. Nicholson transforms from one Abel to the next in front of us… distinct and entertaining.” — The New York Times
• Written by Howard L. Craft
• Directed by Joseph Megel
• Starring J. Alphonse Nicholson
• With Sidney Edwards
• Produced by The Fountain Theatre
Previews: Nov. 9, Nov. 10, Nov. 11
Performances: Nov. 12 – Dec. 16
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 9 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 10 (preview); Nov. 17; Dec. 1; Dec. 8; Dec. 15 (dark Nov. 24)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 11 (preview); Nov. 18; Nov. 25; Dec. 2; Dec. 9; Dec. 16
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Nov. 19; Nov. 26; Dec. 3; Dec. 10
• Sunday at 7 p.m.: Nov. 12 ONLY (opening night)
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 20; Nov. 27; Dec. 4; Dec. 11 (dark Nov. 13)
The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
(Fountain at Normandie)
$25 – $45:
• Premium Seating: $45
• Regular Seating: $40
• Seniors 65 or older: $35 (regular seating only)
• Students: $25 (valid ID required)
• Monday nights: Regular seating ($40) and Pay–What–You–Want (subject to availability)
• Previews: Pay–What–You–Want
• Valet parking available
• Street parking available in the neighborhood north of Fountain Ave.
• No parking after 6 p.m. on Mariposa or Alexandria Avenues south of Fountain Ave.
• Allow extra time to find street parking; make sure to read all parking signs
(323) 663-1525 or www.FountainTheatre.com
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