The Chosen

Written by Chaim Potok & Aaron Posner
Directed by Simon Levy
Produced by Stephen Sachs, Deborah Lawlor
Starring Jonathan Arkin, Steve B. Green, Dor Gvirtsman, Sam Mandel

EXTENDED AGAIN! – Must Close June 10th

Extension Tickets Now On Sale

CRITIC’S CHOICE! – Los Angeles Times



The Chosen Postcard Front-header

The Chosen
by Chaim Potok
adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok
directed by Simon Levy
cast: Jonathan Arkin, Steve B. Green, Dor Gvirtsman, Sam Mandel

CRITIC’S CHOICE!Los Angeles Times – “DEEPLY EMOTIONALHEARTFELT… The Fountain Theatre in East Hollywood, which last year warned against the soul-numbing effects of divisiveness with the chilling “Building the Wall,” has returned to the theme in gentler form with a heartfelt stage adaptation of Potok’s 1967 novel… Reuven is the story’s narrator. As portrayed by Sam Mandel, he is gregarious and sincere, inquisitive and enthusiastic. As Danny, Dor Gvirtsman conveys the tentativeness of a young man taught to live in his head, always thinking about the Talmud, which leaves him stiff and awkward in the daily worldJonathan Arkin conveys tremendous warmth as Reuven’s scholarly dad, who tries to engage his son intellectually, challenging him to think deeper, and praises him for jobs well done. Danny’s rabbi father seems quite the opposite. Although joyful and charismatic when leading his shul, he goes silent around his son, withholding affection and approval. He is a mystery, a riveting one, as portrayed by Alan Blumenfeld… Under Simon Levy’s direction, the action gently builds, recedes, then builds some more toward a deeply emotional resolution.” – Daryl H. Miller

RAVE! – “BRILLIANTLY PRESENTEDFOUR AMAZING STAR PERFORMERS… a moving coming-of-age story… funny, poignant, timely and timeless… the ultra-Orthodox father and son are portrayed with a great depth of understanding by Alan Blumenfeld as Reb Saunders and Dor Gvirtsman as his son Danny, with the more modern yet still very traditional duo portrayed thoughtfully and realistically by Jonathan Arkin as David Malter and Sam Mandel as his son Reuven…  kudos go to scenic and props designer DeAnne Millais for her incredibly detailed dual sided-set… Lighting designer Donny Jackson, video designer Yee Eun Nam, and composer/sound designer Peter Bayne all artfully contribute to the magic moments… Costume designer Michele Young with hair and makeup designer Linda Michaels and dialect coach Andrea Caban transform the actors into period-perfect characters… directed with visionary insight by Simon Levy.” – Shari Barrett

RAVE!Stage and Cinema – “A MARVELASTONISHINGIT IS PROFOUNDLY MOVING, AND EQUALLY THOUGHT PROVOKING…  in director Simon Levy’s inestimable hands, [its] vital, alive, and importantBlumenfeld is a marvel. His size and strength commands attention, while his delicacy gives voice to the silence between him and his son… Arkin deftly shifts from the funny, loving single parent to a believable firebrand — a man determined that his people should survive and flourish… Sam Mandel’s [ ] goodness and humor are a great asset to the play…  Dor Gvirtsman is astonishing. His Danny emerges as a brilliant, angular, unpredictable mass of confused loyalties and diametrically opposed certainties…. This production resonates on so many levels. For me, it is both antidote and bittersweet reminder of what our society has lost in its race to exalt the lowest common denominator… I found myself deeply affected.” – Samuel Garza Bernstein

RAVE! – “EXQUISITE AND HEARTFELTTHE PERFORMANCES ARE ALL SUPERB… Under the precise and emotionally expansive direction of Simon Levy, this seemingly insular story becomes a universal paean to the values of friendship, family, and identityYOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO MISS THIS EXCEPTIONAL PRODUCTION.” – Michael Van Duzer

WOW!StageSceneLA – “ABSOLUTELY SUPERBSTUNNING PRODUCTIONIt’s [ ] hard to imagine The Chosen being given a more stunning production than Simon Levy has directed so masterfully, or a more brilliant cast than the one assembled on the Fountain stage, or a more sensational intimate production design, one that enhances Potok, Posner, and Levy’s vision every step of the way… As gripping, edifying, and moving a production as any I’ve seen at the Fountain, The Chosen is a must-see for audiences of any age, ethnicity, or religious affiliation. Even atheists may end up in tears.” – Steven Stanley

RAVE!The TVolution – “STUNNINGAGELESS AND UNIVERSAL… The strength of Potok’s work is the triumph of love over faith… As ensembles go, the worth of this quartet is slightly beneath the crown jewels of England…  the production is a stunning display of craft and professionalism [ ] all contributing to a stellar staging… Director Simon Levy succeeds in that rarest of feats, making two hours fly by and leaving his audience wishing for a third.  Maybe even a fourth… The Fountain Theatre is always a hallmark of superbly staged showsTHEATRE AT ITS FINEST.” — Ernest Kearney

RAVE!Theatre Notes – “EXTRAORDINARY… Aaron Posner’s SPLENDID ADAPTATION of Chaim Potok’s well-loved novel, The Chosen, immerses the audience in a time now distant, and in a culture that has persisted since the dawn of literacy… With deftness and savvy, director Simon Levy keeps the action brisk and the performances heartfelt. The creative team for The Chosen is first rate… Mr. Mandel is an engaging storyteller. Mr. Gvirtsman is ideally cast with attitudes and emotions that run the gamut from frosty hauteur to joyous friendship to agonizing emotional pain. Mr. Arkin as Reuven’s father displays compassionate concern for his son, wise discretion with Danny, and fierce power in defense of Zionism. And Mr. Blumenfeld is simply extraordinary as Reb Saunders, dominating the stage with charismatic power, both contained and released, as the plot surges toward a satisfying climax and an affecting dénoument.” – Paul Myrvold

RAVE!Cultural Weekly – “INSPIREDLIVELYABSORBING… It is the beauty of the script that, like life, its unpredictability delivers delicacy and depth and eventually redemption. It is as much a treatise about fathers and sons as it is about Talmudic wisdom, seeking understanding and acceptance, communicating through others and seeing things for what they are while becoming your own person… As is so often the case at The Fountain, the production is rewarding. While possessing one of the smallest stages in town, it is most frequently home to large ideas and strong emotions. This company thrives on them. The Fountain’s Producing Director Simon Levy staged The Chosen with the kind of attention to pacing, energy and detail (including religious detail) displayed in his previous efforts. The acting is equally balanced, as are the production values. IT’S ANOTHER WIN FOR THIS LITTLE ENGINE THAT CAN.” – Sylvie Drake

RAVE! – MegilLA, A New Scroll of Jewish News – “WONDERFUL!RELEVANTILLUMINATING new stage adaptation… Seated in the small theater, it is not the size of the venue that makes me feel that I am right up there on stage with these two fathers who though collegial are in ideological conflict over the destinies of their sons. It is the passion, and involvement that they feel towards their son’s life choices about friends, education, and careers that draws me to them.” – Edmon J. Rodman

RAVE!Theatre Spoken Here – “DEEPLY MOVINGdirected sensitively by Simon Levy… Sam Mandel, as Reuven, is so likeable you understand why the stern Rebbe (Alan Blumenfeld) accepts him into his home. Dor Gvirtsman, as Danny, is touching as the emotionally guarded acolyte, while Jonathan Arkin, as activist/philosopher, brings clarity to the questions that haunt both young men… Their fathers, one Hasidic the other Orthodox, represent two opposing value systems. We witness the complicated relationship between parents and their children, and how fathers who care can both dominate and inspire their sons… AS FRESH AND MEANINGFUL AS TODAY’S HEADLINES.” – Morna Murphy Martell

RAVE!Splash Magazines – “MESMERIZINGSUPERBLY ACTEDGRAB YOUR KLEENEX… A universal story of relationships in their multitude of forms makes this play something for everyone – Jewish or not… The emotional scenes not only between the fathers and sons but also as the Reb davens (prays) for guidance will bring tears to your eyes. The smattering of Hebrew (done correctly) is explained clearly for those who might not understand the meanings.  In the end, each family must come to terms as to the raising of their sons and their own futures… This is a play that will bring tears to your eyes and make you want to hug your children.” – Serita Stevens

RAVE!Carol’s Culture Corner – “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!HEARTWARMING… This story, told through the eyes of Reuven, makes the point of the importance of allowing people to understand one another, friends with different backgrounds, fathers and sons. The powerful cast brings each of these characters to life with their REMARKABLE PERFORMANCES.” – Carol Kaufman Segal

RAVE!Santa Monica Daily Press – “YOU WILL WANT TO CHOOSE ‘THE CHOSEN’ – The four participants, under the superb direction of Simon Levy, present their opposing positions convincingly and forcefully, dealing with everything from the concepts and admonishments of the Torah to the arcane minutiae it also offers… “The Chosen” succeeds exceedingly well.” – Cynthia Citron

RAVE!Discover Hollywood – “TOP FORMGREATA STANDING OVATION… Simon Levy, the Fountain’s long-time producing director, skillfully uses every inch of the compact Fountain stage. Together, the director and actors work smoothly and effortlessly… On the theater’s intimate stage, I was convinced that I was watching their own stories in their own living rooms.” – Bill Garry

RAVE!SoCal Arts and Entertainment – “STRIKINGEXCELLENTDirector Simon Levy makes striking choices in staging the play, beginning with a baseball game between Reuven Malter, an Orthodox Jew (Sam Mendel), and Danny Saunders, an ultra-religious Hasid (Dor Gvirtsman), that turns into a Holy War; Levy’s use of sound effects is particularly noteworthy. The cast of four, fleshed out by fathers David Malter (Jonathan Arkin) and Reb Saunders (Alan Blumenfeld), is uniformly excellent.” – Jordan R. Young – (Review includes Q&A with Simon Levy)

5 STARS!Haines His Way – “EMOTIONALLY STUNNING AND HEARTFELT PRODUCTION… It’s a heartwarming and deeply felt story brought wonderfully and vividly to life by Levy’s spot on direction and the superb talents of his quartet of actorsThe Chosen is sure to be chosen as one of 2018’s best. DON’T MISS IT!” – Rob Stevens

RAVE! – “BRILLIANTMAGNIFICENT WORDSMITHERY… Luckily for the Los Angeles theatrical community [ ] the Fountain Theatre is not a producing entity that avoids taking risks… Under the passionate leadership of director Simon Levy, this resurrection of The Chosen is welcome indeed. Nothing is lost from the beauty and simple truths revealed… On DeAnne Millais’ striking bookcase-dominated set, with both the Malter and the Saunders households separated by a neutral area featuring the type of steel understructure that could easily recall the J Street Station, Levy manages to cleverly keep the action surprisingly fluid, aided by Donny Jackson’s creamy, atmospheric lighting and energized by the dynamic sound design of Peter BayneALL FOUR ACTORS ARE PERFECTLY CAST.” – Travis Michael Holder

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the most beloved novel about the American Jewish experience of the 20th Century, this acclaimed stage adaptation of The Chosen is more timely than ever. Set in Brooklyn, 1944, it is a coming-of-age story of two observant Jewish boys who come from very different homes. When Reuven is injured by Danny during a heated baseball game, a unique friendship is born. As the boys grow to manhood, they are forced to learn important lessons about each other, their fathers and themselves.

Opened January 20, 2018

EXTENDED until June 10th

FRI 8pm, SAT 8pm, SUN 2pm, MON 8pm

ADDED SATURDAY MATINEES, 3PM, May 26th and June 9th

The Chosen

Sunday, May 6th @ 2pm: The Many Faces of Israel’s Jewish Community in 2018
Moderated by TBA

PRESS – Review – February 19, 2018

Arts In LA – Review – February 16, 2018

Culver City News – Review – February 16, 2018

CurtainUp – Review – February 16, 2018

Los Angeles Times – Review – February 9, 2018 – Review – February 6, 2018

The TVolution – Review – February 6, 2018

SoCal Arts and Entertainment – Review and Q&A with Simon Levy – February 2, 2018

Santa Monica Daily Press – Review – February 1, 2018

Discover Hollywood – Review – February 1, 2018 – Review – January 26, 2018

Cultural Weekly – Review – January 25, 2018

Stage and Cinema – Review – January 22, 2018

Splash Magazines – Review – January 21, 2018

Paul Myrvold’s Theatre Notes – Review – January 21, 2018

BroadwayWorld – Photo Flash – January 20, 2018

Los Angeles Times – 99-Seat Beat – January 20, 2018

KPFK 90.7FM – Radio Interview with Blumenfeld, Levy & Mandel – January 19, 2018

LAStageInsider – Sam Mandel Video – January 4, 2018

Time Out Los Angeles – 5-Must-See L.A. Theater Productions – “The Chosen” – January 3, 2018