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Fountain opens 2018 season with newly revised
stage version of Chaim Potok’s ‘The Chosen’
LOS ANGELES (Dec. 18, 2017) — Friendship, faith and fatherhood. Jonathan Arkin, Alan Blumenfeld, Dor Gvirtsman and Sam Mandel star in The Chosen, the award-winning stage adaptation by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok of Potok’s beloved novel. Simon Levy directs for a January 20 opening at the Fountain Theatre, where performances continue through March 25. The Fountain celebrates the novel’s 50th anniversary (last April) with the West Coast premiere of Posner’s new, streamlined version.
Set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn against the backdrop of World War II, the revelation of the Holocaust and the desperate struggle of Zionism, The Chosen is a moving coming-of-age story about two observant Jewish boys who live only five blocks, yet seemingly worlds, apart. When Danny, son of an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic tzaddik, injures the more traditionally Orthodox Reuven during a baseball game between their rival yeshivas, their two universes collide and a unique friendship is born.
“This powerful story shows how essential it is to consider the views of those who are different from us,” says Levy. “It’s an antidote to the toxicity of our times. Potok beautifully depicts what it means to bridge chasms — between modernity and tradition, the secular and the sacred, Zionism and Hasidism, adolescence and adulthood, friendship and family, fathers and sons, the head and the heart, and the struggle to choose for ourselves, to fight for what we believe in and who we want to be.”
According to Posner, “Through the story of two remarkable boys and their remarkable fathers, Potok asks us to contemplate a world where we chose to fill our lives with greater meaning… and where complexity, understanding, compassion and reconciliation are among our highest values.”
In 1967, Potok burst upon the literary scene with The Chosen, his first novel, sometimes referred to as a “Jewish Catcher in the Rye.” A best-seller, it was nominated for the National Book Award and through the years has become a must-read both in and out of the classroom. In 1992, in celebration of its 25th anniversary, it was republished as a young reader’s classic. A film starring Rod Steiger was released in 1981, and a short-lived off-Broadway musical debuted in 1988. Before his death in 2002, Potok collaborated with Posner on the stage version, which debuted in 1999 at the Arden Theater in Philadelphia, where Posner was a co-founder and resident director. Now, nearly 20 years later, Posner has rewritten the script to create a new version, which premiered last month at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.
In an interview with the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, Posner explained that he has made a number of changes to the script. “I think it’s now a more dynamic, more streamlined play,” he said. “I’m really very excited about this new version. I think it’s going to be stronger in every way. I love the old version, too but I’m hoping this is even better.”
The creative team for The Chosen includes scenic and props designer DeAnne Millais, lighting designer Donny Jackson, video designer Yee Eun Nam; composer and sound designer Peter Bayne, costume designer Michele Young, hair and makeup designer Linda Michaels and dialect coach Andrea Caban. Rabbi Jim Kaufman consults. The production stage manager is Miranda Stewart; technical director is Scott Tuomey; associate producer is James Bennett; and Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor produce for the Fountain Theatre.
The Fountain Theatre is one of the most successful intimate theaters in Los Angeles, providing a creative home for multi-ethnic theater and dance artists. The Fountain has won over 225 awards, and Fountain projects have been seen across the U.S. and internationally. Recent highlights include being honored for its acclaimed 25th Anniversary Season in 2015 by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council; the inclusion of the Fountain’s Citizen: An American Lyric in Center Theatre Group’s Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The Fountain’s most recent production, the world premiere of Building the Wall by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, ran for five months and was named “L.A. hottest ticket” by the Los Angeles Times.
The Chosen runs Jan. 20 through March 25, with performances on Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $20–$40; every Monday is Pay-What-You-Want. The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Secure, on-site parking is available for $5. The Fountain Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. 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
The Chosen — A silent father, an ancient tradition and an unexpectedly important game of baseball forge bonds of lifelong friendship between two Jewish boys from “five blocks and a world apart” in this funny, poignant, timely and timeless father-son story about recognition and acceptance of “the other.”
• Adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok
• Based on the novel by Chaim Potok
• Directed by Simon Levy
• Starring Jonathan Arkin, Alan Blumenfeld, Dor Gvirtsman, Sam Mandel
• Produced by Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor
• Presented by The Fountain Theatre
Performances: Jan. 20 – March 25
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Jan. 19 (preview), Feb. 2, 9; March 2, 9, 16 (dark Jan. 26, Feb. 16 and Feb. 23)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Jan 20 (Opening Night), 27; Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10, 17, 24
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Jan. 21, 28; Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4, 11, 18, 25
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26; March 5, 12, 19 (dark Jan. 22)
The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
(Fountain at Normandie)
$20 – $40:
• Premium Seating: $40
• Regular Seating: $35
• Seniors 65 or older: $27 (regular seating only)
• Students: $20 (valid ID required)
• RUSH: $20 (at the door, 15 mins prior to curtain, subject to availability)
• Monday nights: Pay-What-You-Want
Secure, on-site parking: $5