Between Riverside and Crazy

Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos
Executive Producer Barbara Herman
Produced by Simon Levy
Starring Victor Anthony, Joshua Bitton, Lesley Fera, Liza Fernandez, Matthew Hancock, Marisol Miranda, Montae Russell






RAVE! – Los Angeles Times – “MOVINGLY ACTEDloud and bruising on the outside, sorrowful and soulful on the inside… The grittiness of playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis’ street-smart comedies has sometimes made it difficult to see the religious feeliing coursing through his body of work. His feisty, foulmouthed characters are far from saints. But through these brazen, helpless, semi-sympathetic sinners he has been conducting the most searching inquiry on the American stage into the mysteries and paradoxes of spiritual faith… At the center of this tale is Walter ‘Pops’ Washington, played by Montae Russell in a performance surging with conviction… The surprises that happen are genuinely startling.” – Charles McNulty

RAVE! – TicketHoldersLA –IN STEPHEN ADLY GUIRGIS, WE HAVE FOUND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND MOST INSIGHTFUL, SHARP-WITTED, AND OBSERVANT NEW VOICES TO ENERGIZE MODERN THEATRICAL LITERATURE. The point of awarding the Pulitzer Prize for Drama is to recognize work that examines the nature of our existence, particularly our existence in our complex and badly wounded country. This time out, the Pulitzer committee could not have been more on the money in their choice of a play to honor and make part of our history… Guirgis is a master at writing hilariously outrageous and delightfully off-kilter dialogue… in a town where standing ovations are as common as rush hour traffic jams on the 405, this is one actor [Montae Russell] who really and sincerely deserves one… ONE OF OUR CITY’S BEST ENSEMBLE CASTS.” – Travis Michael Holder

RAVE! – Splash Magazine – “SPLASH SELECTION!A SUPERBLY DIRECTED, ACTED, AND PRODUCED MUST-SEE SHOW… With a keen ear for day-to-day, sometimes salty and often irreverent speech in the heart of old New York, Guirgis has created a houseful of memorable characters, each with his own axe to grind and each with just enough personality quirks to make him fascinating. Skilled director Guillermo Cienfuegos knows just which buttons to push as the merry septet explodes into fun and fancy. Lots of black humor peppers the proceedings, so get ready to chuckle – and maybe even guffaw. Comments about New York’s mayor in 2015 are especially hilarious… David Mauer’s scenic/video design strikes the perfect note in this bedraggled but beloved home, with Christine Cover Ferro’s costumes, Christopher Moscatiello’s sound, and Matt Richter’s lighting fitting right into the New York crazy moments. In fact, the entire production team does a great job chasing around the stage in between scenes. If only to celebrate a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY is a must-see.” – Elaine Mura

RAVE! – Stage Scene LA – “WOW!SENSATIONAL… Fountain Theatre scores a major coup… Contemporary play-writing at its most original and Los Angeles theater at its finest … Director Guillermo Cienfuegos elicits dynamic, nuanced performances from one of the year’s best comedic-dramatic ensembles.” — Steven Stanley

RAVE! – Hollywood Progressive – “SUPERBLY ACTED… won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama among a slew of other awards… the roughly 100-seat Fountain Theatre has done itself proud again.” – Dick Price and Sharon Kyle

RAVE! – People’s World – “RIVETING LOS ANGELES PREMIERE PROUCTIONA SEAMLESS, BREATHTAKING ENSEMBLE… Almost without exception in my experience, we can count on the excellent judgment of the Fountain Theatre for presenting Really Important Plays that do not Rest In Peace but Rise In Power [ ] which shuttles between quicksilver emotions of pathos, rage, love, memory, irony and revenge… The role of Pops fits Montae Russell as though it were written for him… Guillermo Cienfuegos, an always welcome name as director of anything he puts his signature on, puts these seven characters through their paces, sometimes hilarious, sometimes agonizing, in a seamless, breathtaking ensemble. He brings out the sorrow of contemporary urban life, police crimes and corruption, while simultaneously pointing to life-sustaining hope, faith and the people these characters call family. Almost incredibly, everyone in the play ends up in a different place from where they began… NEEDS TO BE SEEN.” — Eric Gordon

RAVE! – Theatre NotesSCINTILLATING!… Stephen Adly Guirgis’ script deserves its accolades and in the sure hands of director Guillermo Cienfuegos, Between Riverside and Crazy is an exciting, engrossing piece of theatre with cast of seasoned pros.” – Paul Myrvold

RAVE! – Cultural Weekly – “I WOULDN’T WANT TO MISS ANY OPPORTUNITY TO SEE MORE OF THIS PLAYWRIGHT’S WORK… a seductive and unpredictable ending made all the more satisfying by the gentle pacing of Guillermo Cienfuegos’ direction that lightly strikes all the necessary notes… Russell’s performance as Walter is the action’s fulcrum, especially since he makes it look so much easier than it is. He is the anchor, kept in place by an able and carefully selected supporting company and creative team that delivers with energy and precision. In the end it isn’t just that Guirgis can write. Of course he can. It’s that the conflicted emotions comingle so fruitfully among his characters, and the complicated plots and subplots they generate, reward us with the rarest of gifts: the pleasure of a raffish grace where you least expect to find it.” – Sylvie Drake

RAVE! – BroadwayWorld – “INCISIVE DIALOGUE, COMPLEX CHARACTERIZATIONS AND RELATONSHIPS THAT ARE UNIQUE BUT ALSO RELATABLE. The cast and director Guillermo Cienfuegos serve the play well…  Cienfuegos evokes a lived-in, natural approach in staging his actors and setting the scene with his technical team… BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY sees family (both blood and chosen) as the weight to pull us down and the rope to lift us out of the muck. It’s a double-edged sword, but one that can provide solace if you allow it.” – Jonas Schwartz-Owen

RAVE! – On Stage and Screen – “SMART WRITING… a thoughtful exploration of family, forgiveness, and deciding what is important when life has not gone the way you imagined…  adept performances of [the] ensemble, led by a tour de force from Russell, who brings the enigmatic Pops to life with impressive complexity..” — Erin Conley

RAVE! – Discover Hollywood – “ACCESSIBLE AND RELATABLEDirector Guillermo Cienfuegos brings out strong, natural performances from the cast. Montae Russell, on stage every moment except for a wardrobe change, displays an intense intellect mixed with a disarming everyman ordinaryness.  Joshua Bitton plays the worthy adversary; his police lieutenant is a well-trained, buttoned-up, controlling ass.  Matthew Hancock, who was the hyper, complex Verb in last season’s Hype Man, shows us his lost, yet loving side.  Victor Anthony breaks out as the struggling nobody being tossed around by others. A conflicted Lesley Fera, pitch perfect Marisol Miranda, and alluring Liza Fernandez play their pivotal roles with confidence.” — Bill Garry

RAVE! – Larchmont Buzz – “POWERFUL PERFORMANCES… There’s humor and wordplay and fantastic music – even a touch of Rudy Giuliani… Director Guillermo Cienfuegos does the script proud in a set decorated to rundown Riverside Drive perfection by Shen Heckel.” — Laura Foti Cohen

RAVE! – Santa Monica Mirror – “One can pretty much count on OUTSTANDING THEATRICAL PRESENTATIONS at the award-winning Fountain Theatre… This talented playwright’s tightly-written script, which is skillfully directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos… Walter ‘Pops’ Washington, brilliantly played by Montae Russell, who gives a highly actualized sub-textual performance.” – Beverly Cohn

RAVE! – Culver City News – ““FEARLESS… directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos with a brutally honest understanding of human emotions fully on display by a talented cast of seven… All seven actors are to be commended for the heartfelt realism each brings to their portrayals, always underscored by secrets hidden beneath the surface just waiting to be revealed at exactly the right moment.” – Shari Barrett

RAVE! – Theatre Spoken Here – “BRILLIANT DIRECTION… [A] SUPERB CAST… Guirgis creates a world as real as the one we inhabit ourselves and, just as our clever minds have figured out where he is going with his story, he surprises us with a revelation about human relationships that shocks us even as we recognize that this is the way life is.”— Morna Martell

RAVE! – KCRW 89.9 – “What makes “Between Riverside and Crazy” A FUN PLAY is that you can’t quite pin down if it’s a gritty drama or a dark comedy or morality play – when in fact, it’s all three… go see ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ and enjoy great acting.” – Anthony Byrnes

Los Angeles Premiere. The play won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 2015 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, the 2015 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, the 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the 2015 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play.

Walter “Pops” Washington is a retired New York City policeman. His wife has died and his son, “Junior”, has just been released from jail. They live in a rent-controlled apartment on Riverside Drive in New York City. Junior’s girlfriend, Lulu, and Oswaldo, a recovering addict, also spend time at the apartment. Walter has been pursuing a discrimination suit against the Police Department, because he was accidentally shot by another police officer.

New York Times Critic’s Pick! – “For theatergoers who are tired of the clear-cut eithers and ors of most mainstream play writing, ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’… is a dizzying and exciting place to be… ‘Riverside’ creeps up on you. And every time you think you’ve figured out where it’s going, Mr. Guirgis alters its course, forcing you to readjust your emotional bearings and your take on its characters.”

“RIVERSIDE explores, with both street-smart, sometimes-profane wit and disarming tenderness, the different ways in which we cling to, reject and exploit faith. Never one to settle for simple answers or snarky observations, Guirgis portrays his characters, and their twisting journeys, with humor and compassion.” —USA Today

Advisory: This production contains adult language and content and herbal cigarette smoke. Not recommended for children under 16.

Between Riverside and Crazy

Stage Manager: Alexis Hettick; Asst. Stage Manager: Chloe Willey; Alternate Asst. Stage Manager: Millie Graham

Production Team: David Mauer (Set Design), Shen Heckel (Set Decoration), Terri Roberts (Props Coordinator), Matt Richter (Lighting Design), Christopher Moscatiello (Sound Design), and Christine Cover Ferro (Costume Design), Myrna Gawryn (Movement Director/Intimacy Coordinator), Jonathan Rider (Fight Choreographer)


Los Angeles Times – Theater Recommendations – November 29, 2019

BroadwayWorld – Extension Announcement – November 19, 2019

The Actor’s Choice – Interview with Lesley Fera – November 15 2019

Spectrum News – The Beat on 1 interview with Lesley Fera – October 29, 2019

The Sun – 14 Theatre Productions to See – October 23, 2019

Los Angeles Times – 99-Seat Theatre Beat – October 17, 2019

BroadwayWorld – Photo Flash – October 17, 2019

Donloe’s Lowdown – Interview with Montae Russell – October 16, 2019

Los Angeles Times – Weekend Picks – October 16, 2019

Cultural Attache – Article – October 14, 2019

TimeOut Los Angeles – 5 L.A. Productions You Should See – October 3, 2019

ThisStageLA – This Week in L.A. Theatre – October 3, 2019

BroadwayWorld – Press Release – September 13, 2019

Los Angeles Times – Best Theatre to See in Fall 2019 – September 11, 2019