-- production art is available at the press corner at www.alma-mahler.com --
The international theatre success comes to Los Angeles!
A L M A
Based on the fascinating life of Alma Mahler-Werfel Los Angeles Theatre Limited Engagement!
Performances begin Sept. 23; Opening Night Sept. 30
One of the world’s most fascinating women becomes Los Angeles’ most fascinating play as ALMA, written by Joshua Sobol, Israel’s foremost playwright, performs a limited engagement beginning September 23 (opening September 30) through December 5.
ALMA will re-light the Los Angeles Theatre, one of the crown jewels of Southern California’s movie palaces at 615 S. Broadway, downtown between 6th and 7th Streets. The production includes pre-performance drinks and an entire three-course gourmet buffet supper at intermission.
Sobol wrote the critically acclaimed play “Ghetto” which received its American premiere at the Mark Taper Forum. ALMA is directed and produced by Paulus Manker. Manker is one of the most inventive and renowned theatre makers in the German speaking theatre world and he has been involved with the production since its inception.
ALMA, already a glittering international success, tells the story of Alma Mahler-Werfel, the famous femme fatale and muse to many geniuses. She was the wife of composer Gustav Mahler; she was also married to architect Walter Gropius and Jewish poet Franz Werfel (“The Song of Bernadette”). She had also fervent love affairs with the painters Oskar Kokoschka, Gustav Klimt, and several others.
Among her marriages, affairs, and intimates she brought together many of the most creative spirits of the 20th century. Among them were also Arnold Schoenberg, Leonard Bernstein, Jennifer Jones, Thomas Mann, Richard Strauss, Errol Flynn, Eugene Ormandy, Danny Kaye, Thornton Wilder, Thomas Mann, and Igor Stravinsky.
A subject as ALMA deserves an equally unique staging. ALMA does not take place on a theatre stage, but in the entire building, fully equipped with furniture and props, which as a film set might, takes on the full location of the action. The scenes of Alma's life are performed simultaneously, on all floors and in all rooms of the building.
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Audience members then choose the events, the path, and the characters to follow after each event, constructing one’s own personal version of this "theatrical journey." As a result, entirely different experiences can be had on return visits to ALMA by following other characters.
Three memorable sequences of ALMA take place outside the theatre. Charles E. Lee, the architect of the Los Angeles Theatre, believed that “the show started at the sidewalk,” a dictum that this production has taken very seriously. The audience – who are the royalty in Alma’s life -- enters the theatre through a gauntlet of reporters and photographers, as they would at a premiere Hollywood event.
Then, working in conjunction with the City of Los Angeles to block off traffic, the entire audience goes outside the theatre at the end of Act One – just before intermission -- to witness Gustav Mahler’s funeral. The entire street becomes the lavish backdrop for the final rites of one of the 20th century’s greatest composers
The audience is then returned to the dining hall of the theatre where a sumptuous three-course buffet-dinner is served during the interval. The meal is highlighted with Austrian specialities, sweets and the special ALMA wine, all of which is included in the price of admission.
Then, during Act Two, the audience is again brought outside the theatre to enact Alma’s honeymoon trip to Palestine with her third husband, Jewish writer Franz Werfel. The audience boards a specially chartered period bus – and takes a short tour of the magnificent architecture of downtown Los Angeles – which in the play symbolises downtown Tel Aviv in 1926 -- then in a very similar situation as downtown Los Angeles is now -- amidst a renaissance of new residential, cultural and business initiatives, making it one of the most vibrant spots in the city.
ALMA is officially recognised and supported in part by the City of Vienna, the Austrian Ministry of Culture and the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Austrian Consulate in Los Angeles. In addition, ALMA is working with the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Goethe Institute LA and is presented by the world famous crystal company Swarovski.
Tickets for ALMA are priced at $125 (admission includes pre-curtain drink and three course dinner at the interval) are currently available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 213-688-2994. Valet Parking is available. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7 pm and Sunday evenings at 6 pm. There are four lower priced previews September 23, 24 and 25 at 7 pm and September 26 at 6 pm priced at $60. For more information go to www.alma-mahler.com.
Israeli-born playwright, Joshua Sobol, has written more than 40 plays in his 30-plus year career, and stepped into the international spotlight in the 1980s, when he wrote three related plays -- “Ghetto,” “Adam” and “Underground” which together constitute “The Ghetto Triptych.”
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“Ghetto” became known internationally shortly after its premiere in Haifa in May 1984. A few of the many accolades that the play has garnered include the Israeli David's Harp Award for Best Play; Best Production and Best Foreign Play of the Year by Theater Heute; The Evening Standard and The London Critics Award for Best Play of the Year; and it was nominated for the Olivier Award in the same category. Thus far, “Ghetto” has been translated into more than 20 languages. It has been performed by leading theatres in more than 25 countries around the world and had its American premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Sobol was the Artistic Director of Municipal Theatre in Haifa, Israel from 1984 to 1988. He has taught and lectured at various schools and universities, in the US and abroad, on the subjects of acting, drama writing, documentary writing, ethics & art, and the modern & contemporary theatre.
In 2000, Sobol’s novel “Silence” was first published and in 2001 it received a Sapir Award Nomination for Best Novel of the Year.
Viennese director and actor, Paulus Manker, boasts an impressive list of both stage and film credits. He has directed a wide variety of films including the award-winning “Schmutz” (“Dirt”), “Weiningers last Night,” „The Moore’s Head“, “Hans Hollein - Everything is Architecture” a television documentary on the famous Austrian architect, and the film version of the play ALMA, entitled “Alma - The Widow of the 4 Arts.”
Manker has also directed numerous European stage productions, including all the previous productions of ALMA in Vienna, Lisbon and Venice. As an actor, he has portrayed painter Oskar Kokoschka in all the producitons of ALMA and has appeared in dozens of other plays and films in his 25-year career, working with some of the finest directors of Europe’s theatre.
The professional relationship between Sobol and Manker began in 1988, when Manker directed Sobol’s play “Weiningers Nacht” (“Weininger's Last Night”) at the Volkstheater in Vienna. Manker later directed feature film based on the play, which was released in 1989, winning a Golden Romy Award for Best Director in 1990.
Aside from ALMA, Sobol and Manker have collaborated on a number of projects exploring new forms of the theatrical experience. First in 1995, with a work commissioned for the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival), entitled “Der Vater” (“The Father”), which written by Niklas Frank and Sobol, and directed by Manker. It is the story of Niklas Frank‘s father, Hans Frank, who was Hitler’s Governor general in Poland, and was hanged in Nurenberg in 1946.
In 2000 they created “F@LCO - A Cyber Show,” a multimedia musical about the Austrian pop singer Falco, who had a #1 hit in the USA with his song “Rock Me Amadeus,” which was staged in the former Varieté theatre Ronacher in Vienna.
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Last year Manker premiered Sobol‘s recent play “iWitness,” about conscientious objectors in Tel Aviv, which became the most successful production of the theatre season.
The cast is lead by theatre, film and television veteran, Karen Kondazian, who recently won praises for her portrayal of Maria Callas in Terrance McNally’s “Master Class,” which ran at both the Fountain and Odyssey Theatres in Los Angeles. Her first television appearance was as the young Kate Holliday in “The Shootout at the O.K. Corral” and more recently starred with James Franco in “James Dean” and with Christopher Reeves in “Mortal Sins.” She is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio, wrote a book entitled “The Actor's Encyclopedia of Casting Directors: Conversations with Over 100 Casting Directors on How to Get the Job" and has been a journalist for BackStage West, Drama-Logue, and Emmy Magazine.
The principal cast also includes Ryan Templeton and Maria Vargo as the younger Almas, as well as Magnus Stefansson, Hans Hoffman, Alex Veadov, Ruben Santos, Robert Branco, Mercedes Tomasino and Bernadette Perez.
ALMA – the international success
ALMA is charting an international course that follows the life of the character herself. The first cities mirror the cities in which she actually lived her life. ALMA began in Vienna, where the Viennese production played for six seasons, and was such a tremendous success that the idea rose to stage other productions of it.
In its seventh year, ALMA set off on tour to Venice, the city in which Alma had lived for almost 20 years. For the Italian performances in 2002, the beautiful Palazzo Zenobio on the Fondamenta del Soccorso was renovated for the show. The building dated from the late 17th century. All of the interior and exterior spaces were used for the performance, from a splendid hall of mirrors on the first floor to the rooms, leading into the courtyard and the neighbouring garden.
The enormous international success of "Alma a Venezia" encouraged it to be produced in the summer of 2003 when it was presented in Lisbon, Alma‘s last station in Europe after her escape from Nazi Germany. The more than fifty scenes of her life were presented in a 17th century monastery, located in a beautiful palm garden, including a church and a terrace overlooking Lisbon in a breathtaking 360 degree view.
Since its beginning in 1995, the ALMA productions have used 46,740 candles, 5,700 torches, 4,750 bottles of red wine, 5,700 bottles of white wine, 285 barrels of beer, 22,800 servings of “Wiener Schnitzel” and 27,550 pieces of Viennese Apple Cake.
Now, the production comes to Los Angeles, where Alma spent the most challenging and decisive years of her life. For Franz Werfel, Los Angeles and Hollywood became the fulfilment of the American Dream when his novel “The Song of Bernadette” was turned into an Oscar-winning film in 1943.
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Los Angeles Theatre, one of the great fabled movie palaces
One can think of Downtown Los Angeles as a stage designed to tell the story of ALMA, the greatest femme fatale of the 20th century. The production felt fortunate to find a perfect location in the fabled movie palace, the Los Angeles Theatre, located at 615 S. Broadway.
Once Los Angeles' most popular gathering place - the location of glamorous movie premieres, ticker-tape parades and shopping at the region's top department stores - Downtown is a district filled with unique architecture, character and culture. ALMA will bring an important component to an already re-energized environment, which is now carefully planned by the city for redevelopment amidst a renaissance of new residential and business initiatives.
Built in 1931, the lavish Los Angeles Theatre recalls the glories of the French Baroque and France's "Sun King", Louis XIV. It opened on January 30, 1931 with the gala screening of “City Lights” by Charlie Chaplin. Albert Einstein was among the celebrities of the era in attendance that evening.
The Los Angeles Theatre was a grand finale to the movie palace era on Los Angeles’ Broadway. It’s flamboyance, architectural grandeur and decorative opulence represents a unique opportunity for a combination of architectural history and contemporary artistic activity. This is where "Alma" will take place in order to revive the magic spirits of a great past!
*** Calendar Listing for ALMA ***
Dates Previews: September 23, 24, & 25 at 7 pm
Times and Sunday, September 26 at 6 pm
& Prices: All tickets are $60 including welcome drinks and beverages and three-course gourmet dinner during the interval
Opening Night: Thursday, September 30 at 7 pm
Regular Performance Schedule: September 30 – December 5
Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 7 pm & Sunday at 6 pm
All tickets are $125 including welcome drinks and beverages and three-course gourmet dinner during the interval
Theatre: Los Angeles Theatre
615 S. Broadway - between 6th and 7th Streets
Tickets: Call 213-688-2994
Also available by email at email@example.com
Group sales and gala events at special rates are available, as well as VIP seating in some of the lavishly decorated dining rooms.