ADAA/Fountain Theatre Play Readings A Smashing Success”

The inaugural Los Angeles play reading series sponsored by the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance (ADAA) and the Fountain Theatre was held at the Fountain on November 13-15, 2006, to sold-out crowds, Armenian and non-Armenian alike. Produced by Anahid Shahrik, the annual reading series is meant to give voice to emerging Armenian playwrights, for plays about a variety of themes. FOX TV news correspondent Anita Vogel emceed the opening night and appeared throughout the series to galvanize support for ADAA. Each play of the series received a standing ovation, which is extremely rare for readings. The series opened brilliantly on Monday, November 13 with The Scent of Jasmine, by Boston-based playwright Bianca Bagatourian. The play is a Citizen-Kane type mystery about a young reporter intent upon uncovering the truth about an Armenian immigrant who becomes one of the richest men in America. Directed by Michael Arabian, the play had an all-star cast, including Fountain Theatre regular (and ADAA Board Member) Karen Kondazian, Magda Harout, Buck Kartalian, Sona Tatoyan, and longtime TV favorite of the 60’s/70’s, Armenian actor David Hedison. Also featured were Shant Bejanian, Karine Chakarian, Maro Ajemian, Jack Kandel and Siona Yans. On Tuesday, November 14 was The Blackstone Sessions, by San Diego playwright/screenwriter Lisa Kirazian and directed by Ben Bradley. The play is about the unlikely friendship between a reclusive old African American civil rights activist/poet and her young, uneducated Italian American summer housekeeperand the secrets they uncover about each other. The fantastic Iona Morris led the dynamic cast, along with Ten Carter Miller, Danielle Holland, Jeris Poindexter, Anoush NeVart, Bernard Addison, Ben Bradley, Bart Myer, Alex Kalognomos and Sloane Robinson. Push, by Los Angeles playwright Kristen Lazarian –a tense comedic drama which has garnered awards nationwidewas the finale of the series on Wednesday, November 15. The play explores contemporary relationships in Los Angeles, complete with love, deceit, fidelity and manipulation –a "doozy of a date night for married couples" (San Diego Arts Online.) Push was directed by Martin Bedoian. The outstanding cast included Emmy winner Michael Goorjian, Anahid Shahrik, Richard Horvitz, Salli Saffioti, Karen Kondazian and Andrea Ajemian. The timing for the readings could not have been more perfect: the Fountain Theatre had just won the LA Ovation Award for best production of the year on Monday night (for August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone). Director Ben Bradley also won an Ovation for the same play. Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts only a year and a half ago, ADAA has already become one of the most exciting and productive Armenian arts organizations in years. By providing Armenian writers (or writers about Armenian themes) opportunities for readings, production or publication, ADAA makes the Armenian voice heard around the world. For more information, visit www.armeniandrama.org, email adaa@techfusion.com or call 617-871-6764.

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