The Echo Theater Company has found a permanent space for 2014, taking up residency at Atwater Village Theatre for a year-long season of three world premieres and the revival of an acclaimed holiday show.
“After 16 years of moving around L.A. – we’ve produced 48 plays, including 35 world premieres, of which 20 were commissioned – the Echo has finally found a home,” says artistic director Chris Fields. “The ideal theater in a wonderful neighborhood where we can carry on our work.”
Echo kick-starts the series on Feb. 8 with the world premiere of Firemen, a different kind of love story written by Tommy Smith and directed by Fields.
Following Firemen, Larry Biederman will direct the world premiere of Mickey Birnbaum’s Backyard, set against the subculture of backyard wrestling in a low-income San Diego neighborhood.
Jennifer Chambers has been set to direct the premiere of Better, a gentle examination of family and mortality by Jessica Goldberg that Fields describes as “a Jewish, upstate New York Chekhov for the 21st century.”
Closing out the year and ringing in the holidays, Stories of the Season by Robert Alan Beuth and Robert George Harrison asks the audience to select from 10 gift-wrapped packages, inside of which are the props and masks the ensemble will use to spin seasonal tales from around the world and across the ages. Beuth directs.
Dedicated to nurturing playwrights and their work, the Echo Theater Company seeks to engage audiences in dialogue and aims to extend itself to people and places with which theater has lost touch. The Echo attempts to enrich the community by nourishing and supporting theater that both mirrors and challenges it. The company has produced award-winning premiere productions of BOB: A Life in Five Acts by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, A Family Thing by Gary Lennon, Anon by Kate Robin, Thursday by Adam Bock, Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl, Pigs & Bugs by Paul Zimmerman, Bedfellows by Herman Daniel Farrell III, The Median Strip by Richard Strand, HomeGrown by Rick Cleveland, A Devil Inside by David Lindsay-Abaire, Finder’s Fee by Wesley Moore, A Thimble of Smoke by Elroyce D. Jones, Wild Life by Bernardo Solano. In 2003, the Echo premiered Bryan Davidson’s War Music (Ovation Award winner – Best Play & Best Ensemble) which was then chosen by the Geffen to open its 2004 season — a first for a 99 seat theater production. The Echo founded and produced the Ojai Playwrights Conference where new works by writers such as Christopher Durang, David Ives, Jessica Goldberg and Adam Rapp have been workshopped. The Echo’s ongoing monthly public reading series has featured the work of David Lindsay-Abaire, Todd Alcott, Tanya Barfield, PJ Barry, Mike Batistick, Neena Beeber, Chad Beguelin, Matthew Benjamin, Adam Bock, Carlyle Brown, Logan Brown, Keith Bunin, Rick Cleveland, Kevin Crowley, Cusi Cram, Gordon Dahlquist, Bryan Davidson, Joe DiPietro, Bryan Delaney, Padraic Duffy, Fielding Edlow, Julia Edwards, Napoleon Ellsworth, Herman Daniel Farrell III, Kate Fodor, Amy Freed, Karl Gajdusek, Jessica Goldberg, Jennifer Haley, Steven Haworth, Michael Hollinger, Keith Huff, Elroyce D. Jones, Susan Johnston, Nick Jones, Bill Leavengood, Adam LeFevre, Rick Lieberman, Quincy Long, Heather McCuthchen, Wendy MacLeod, Terri Minsky, Wesley Moore, Kira Obolensky, Riel Paley, Laura Quinn, Adam Rapp, Kate Robin, Sarah Ruhl, Leah Ryan, Mark Schultz, Rachel Shukert, Bernardo Solano, Richard Strand, Lucy Thurber, Erin Cressida Wilson and Paul Zimmerman.