Fountain of You - Final Weekend at Zeiders
Words by Moriah Joy. Images courtesy of the Z.
When theatre is as fresh, new, and exciting as Fountain of You, it’s hard to contain the excitement one feels from witnessing such an engaging piece of theatre. This musical grabs your attention from the moment you enter the space with bright colors and technical aspects, that far exceeded my expectations for a workshop, and lure you in with the truly dazzling performances by the illustrious cast.
Fountain of You follows Kristen’s journey as she searches for satisfaction with her life in a comedy that brings a whole new meaning to the desire to look inside yourself for happiness.
The show draws on inspiration from old theatrical and musical writing techniques and brings them into modern times with a pop music vibe.
I had the opportunity to sit down with cast members Maria Sylvia Norris, Chris Collins-Pisano, Maya Days and Music Director, Bart Kuebler, before having a chance to see the production. Their passion and enthusiasm for their work was apparent in the short time I sat down with them, making the show even more intriguing and enjoyable.
Because this show is a new work, the rehearsal process has been very different from what the actors have typically experienced with other performances. Maya Days, whose many theatrical credits include Broadway performances in Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Aida, plays Angelica who acts as “the wisdom of the show. She knows a lot because she’s been around a lot.” She discussed how the cast rehearsed for three weeks in New York and then had a quick turn around to adjust the performance for the Zeider’s. With workshop pieces and new works in general, there are always last minute discoveries and changes but the fun part is there is so much to explore. “We can come with our own backstory because we are originating these characters and we can also discuss with each other… And it makes for a very creative environment,” Maya commented.
The breadth of talent continues as everyone onstage is truly a vocal powerhouse. Each voice beautifully connects to emphasize the powerful themes and often add hilarity, this is most prominent in the characters known as the Eshettes. Maria, who plays one of the Eshettes, acts as a Greek Chorus character who guides us through the play while also influencing the main character's decisions. Maria’s favorite part of the production was the music and the ability to have a say in the creative process. “It’s a really fun score to sing… especially in this day and age for those of us who really live in that fun contemporary sound. The three of us are always singing three part harmony and our voices are very different but it works really well. So I have a great time exploring this music. And having the opportunity to directly work with Faye and Tasha to mold the score to us has been a great privilege along the way.”
The show creates a very intimate relationship with the audience very quickly and keeps you on your toes through this roller coaster of a story. Chris, who plays Man, serves as the only male character in the ensemble and has a lot of different hats to wear, literally. His chameleon ability to change between the different characters was so seamless that another audience member beside me made a comment believing that there was more than one man in the show. His characters add in a layer of hilarity and poking fun at the obscene realities of day to day life interactions.
“[Fountain of You deals] with some pretty intense stuff sometimes and some big questions while the characters are making decisions that have really big consequences. But… all the writing has this really great twist to it. There’s a lot of really great dry humor. It’s a show that knows what it is. Even from the beginning, you’re kinda giving that wink to the audience, ‘Hey we’re doing something different with you right now. Come with us on this journey.’”
One choice that I thought was particularly interesting was that the show does not have an intermission and I think it speaks volumes about the extraordinary amount of talent that is on the stage. Anyone who has done a show where you are constantly running around understands that those sacred ten or fifteen minutes are just as important for the actors as they are for the audience. However, I found myself so encapsulated by the story and the music that I didn’t miss the intermission and felt like it would have taken away from the momentum that keeps the show going. By the time the show got to the end, I found myself wanting to watch it all over again and see if new things caught my eye or I picked up on different jokes that maybe I missed the first time and experience it all over again.
Fountain of You is a show that demands to be seen. Every single cast member shines when they grace the stage. Their mesmerizing harmonies and dynamic characters create the feeling of watching a once in a lifetime production. If you have a desire for a new musical that challenges the expectations of an ingenue while making you laugh, this show is for you.
The final performances are this weekend with shows at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday and shows at 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. For more information and tickets, go to https://thez.org/.