Fountain Theatre to Present 'Hyper-Staged' Reading of Lisa Loomer's ROE

Vanessa Stalling directs a limited eight-performance run, June 25 through July 10, on the Fountain’s outdoor stage.

By: Jun. 02, 2022
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Fountain Theatre to Present 'Hyper-Staged' Reading of Lisa Loomer's ROE

The Fountain Theatre will once again jump into action with a "hyper-staged" reading of Roe, a powerful, poignant and often humorous play by Lisa Loomer that cuts through the headlines to reveal the real-life women behind Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that gave women the right to safe, legal abortion. Vanessa Stalling directs a limited eight-performance run, June 25 through July 10, on the Fountain's outdoor stage. There will be two additional preview performances on June 23 and June 24.

"We're acting quickly and urgently in answer to the upcoming Supreme Court ruling expected to overturn Roe v Wade," says Fountain artistic director Stephen Sachs. "We intend to use theater as a vehicle for social and political action. A call to action. Guerrilla-style theater. Actors holding scripts. Simple staging. Lisa has revised her script to bring it up-to-date, and we're lucky to have Vanessa, who directed the 2020 production at The Goodman Theatre."

Reprising their roles from the Goodman production, Kate Middleton will star as Norma McCorvey-the woman who would come to be known to the world as "Jane Roe"-opposite Christina Hall as Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued the landmark case at the Supreme Court. An ensemble of actors will take on the myriad of other roles.

Roe is a fast-moving, fair-minded look at the complicated human beings behind the case, the challenging years that followed the court's fateful decision, and the polarization around the issue in America today. Originally commissioned through the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's American Revolutions program in a production that traveled to Arena Stage and Berkeley Rep, Roe is the recipient of both the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award and the Pen Award.

Lisa Loomer's plays, including Living Out; The Waiting Room; Homefree; Café Vida; Expecting Isabel; Two Things You Don't Talk about at Dinner; Birds; Bocón!; Maria Maria, Maria, Maria!; and Broken Hearts, to name just a few, have been produced in New York City at Roundabout Theatre Company, Vineyard Theatre, Second Stage Theatre, INTAR and The Public Theater; and regionally at the Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory, Kennedy Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Trinity Repertory Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Cornerstone Theater Company. She is a two-time recipient of the American Theater Critics Award. Other awards include a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award, Lurie Foundation Award, Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, Imagen Foundation Award, two Jane Chambers Playwriting Awards and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Vanessa Stalling is the director and adaptor of the Jeff Award-winning play United Flight 232. She was the associate artistic director of Redmoon Theater in Chicago, a Michael Maggio Fellow at The Goodman Theatre, has been recognized as one of "The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago," and was an honored finalist of the Women in the Arts & Media Coalition Collaboration Award. Recent productions include The Great Leap at Asolo Rep, Titanic at the Court Theatre, and Roe at The Goodman Theatre. She is also the head of directing at UC San Diego.

The Fountain is dedicated to presenting outstanding theater that challenges thinking while shining an artistic light on social justice issues and on the diverse voices and cultures within L.A. Recent acclaimed, world premiere productions have included Detained, a gripping docudrama based on interviews with longtime U.S. residents held in immigration detention, and with their family members, advocates, attorneys and representatives of ICE; Human Interest Story, a drama about homelessness, celebrity worship and the assault on American journalism; and Building the Wall, written in direct response to the immigration policies of the Trump administration by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan. Community engagement initiatives include Raise Your Voice-Vote!, a live-streamed, guerrilla-style, immersive theater event that took place over the course of two days at six locations throughout the City of L.A. just prior to the 2020 presidential election; "Walking the Beat Hollywood," a pioneering arts education program for inner city high school youth and police officers; and "Fountain Voices," an innovative arts education initiative for middle and high school students that integrates playwriting, critical thinking and performance to promote compassion and acceptance of others. Eric Garcetti joined with the Los Angeles City Council to commend the Fountain for "achieving a position of leadership in the Los Angeles theatre community... producing meaningful new plays of social and political importance that enrich the lives of the citizens of Los Angeles." In recognition of providing outstanding productions of meaningful new plays and first-class performances spanning three decades, The Fountain Theatre was honored with the 2020 Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theater, presented by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. In a 2021 end-of-year retrospective, Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty called the Fountain "L.A.'s most enterprising intimate theater [that] continues to punch far above its weight... No L.A. theater has done a better job of asking us to reexamine our lives through the lens of acute contemporary drama this year than the Fountain." The Fountain has won hundreds of awards for all areas of production, performance and design.

Eight performances of Roe take place on the Fountain's outdoor stage on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from June 25 through July 10. There will be two previews, on Thursday, June 23 and Friday, June 24. All performances are at 8 p.m. All tickets are $20.

The executive producer for Roe is Karen Kondazian; the producer is Diana Buckhantz; and producing underwriters are Miles Benickes, Rabbi Anne Brener, Alan and Sheila Lamson, Maggi Phillips, Dorothy Wolpert and Don Zachary.

The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Patrons are invited to relax before and after the show at the Fountain's indoor/outdoor café. Check the Fountain website for up-to-date, day-of-performance Covid-19 protocols.

For reservations and information, call (323) 663-1525 or go to