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OPUS: moving on from Emmett Till at the Fountain

June 13, 2010

The Ballad of Emmett Till enjoyed such a successful run at the Fountain Theatre this spring, it’s natural to wonder how best to follow. In this case, co-Artistic Directors Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor, who co-founded the theatre in 1990, chose “Opus,” which received a 2007 Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association. The Arden Theatre production in Philadelphia was nominated for seven Barrymore Awards, winning for Outstanding New Play.

The play looks at a highly skilled musical ensemble, preparing for its highest profile event. One of its members goes missing and a young woman [Jia Doughman, left] is hired at the last minute to replace him. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at how a proud group avoids a complete meltdown.

It’s written by Michael Hollinger, a violinist-turned-playwright. Reviews have called it “taut,” “smart,” “absorbing,” with elements of sex, drugs, and chamber music. The cast also includes Daniel Blinkoff, Gregory G. Giles, Christian Lebano, and Cooper Thornton.

Previews begin this weekend; the show runs through July 25 unless, like Emmett Till, it’s blessed with several extensions. Tickets. The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, 90029. (323) 663-1525

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