The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles launches the company's 2001 season January 18 with the 40th anniversary production of Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana. Opening night is set for Jan. 20 with a run through March 4.
One of the later plays of Williams' heyday, The Night of the Iguana is set in the dilapidated hotel Costa Verde on the edge of the Mexican jungle, where defrocked alcoholic priest Reverend Shannon ekes out an existence as a tour guide. He searches for meaningful connection among the lost souls that surround him, including the passionate widow Hannah, her 97-year-old poet grandfather Nonno, and Maxine, Costa Verde's bitchy owner. MGM released a film version directed by John Huston and starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner in 1964.
Iguana is directed by Simon Levy, who won an Ovation Award last year for his staging of Williams' Summer and Smoke. Also at the Fountain, he won Best Director awards for 1998's The Last Tycoon and 1996's Orpheus Descending, which starred Kondazian in the role of Lady.
The play stars Larry Poindexter as a defrocked priest, Jacqueline Schultz as a gentle spinster, and Karen Kondazian as the hotel's earthy proprietress. The ensemble features Michael Edwin, Jay Gerber, Chet Grissom, Alex Lozona, Jorge Luis, Amy Lucas and Irene Roseen.
For information and tickets call (323) 663-1525. The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Ave. *
The rest of the Fountain Theatre season follows:
The world premiere of Lynne Kaufman's Daisy in the Dreamtime will follow, March 30-May 6. Also directed by Levy, the play tells the true story of Daisy Ryan, an Irish emigre who, in 1913, pitched a tent in the Australian outback and became the first white woman to enter the "dreamtime" - living with and caring for the aborigines for 30 years. The play was nominated for the Kennedy Center/New American Plays Award.
Stephen Sachs' Central Avenue is up next, in a world premiere production (June 8-July 15). The drama with music deals with L.A.'s south-central black ghetto in the 1940s, the subject recently of three important books, "Central Avenue Sounds" by Steven Isoardi; "Upside Your Head," by Johnny Otis; and "Jazz Generations" by Buddy Collette. Sachs has focused his story on the attempt by the Colored Musicians Union to break down the barriers of segregation by merging with the White Musicians Union, at a time when William Parker rose to power in the LAPD and tried to prevent the mixing of the races in Central Avenue's famous jazz clubs.
The Fountain's New Works Festival will take place Aug. 1-Sept. 30, with a trio of new plays scheduled: The Scottsboro Boys by Mark Stein, directed by Bennett Bradley; Hair Pieces, a collection of short pieces about hair written by various female playwrights and presented in collaboration with the Jewish Women's Theatre Project and directed by Jan Lewis; and Hotel Lobby, a drama by L.A. writer Stephen Keep Mills, directed by Deborah Lawlor, co-artistic director of the Fountain.
The season concludes (Oct. 2-Dec. 2) with Miller's After the Fall, starring Tracy Middendorf, who won an Ovation Award for her work in the Fountain's Summer and Smoke. Co-artistic director Stephen Sachs directs.
The Fountain has also scheduled numerous dance and outreach events during the coming year.