‘Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue’ Begins Four Week Run at Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles

For young Elliot Ortiz, war runs in the family. The dramatic and poignant experiences of the young Ortiz drive the story of “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue.” The 2007 Pulitzer Prize Finalist play is coming to Los Angeles’ Kirk Douglas Theatre, where it will run until Feb. 25.

“Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” is the first part of a trilogy written by Tony Award-winning Playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes. The prolific writer is best known for her rousing musical “In the Heights,” which took home the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008. Hudes wrote “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” a year earlier, with help from the Page 73 Fellowship, an arts and culture fellowship that supports the work of young, emerging talent. “Elliot” continues Hudes’ tradition of telling powerful stories about the inner workings of Latino-American families, a subject matter that’s more important than ever in America’s current political climate.

“Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” follows the young Puerto Rican soldier as he sets out to honor the tradition of his father and grandfather before him, who served their country in Vietnam and Korea, respectively. Despite their strong tradition and shared experiences, the Ortiz family struggles to connect. When Elliot returns to active duty following a visit home, the family tries to retain their happiest moments with him. As we learn more about each family member and their connection to Elliot, the play’s scenes take on an abstract form mirroring the structure of a fugue, complemented by the music of Bach. The music forms a poetic expression of loss and love. “Elliot” weaves a profound tale of a disconnected family whose deepest feelings are expressed through music rather than words.

The Kirk Douglas Theatre production of “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” represents a bold initiative from the Center Theatre Group. The leading Los Angeles non-profit theater company is bringing all three of Hudes’ “Elliot” plays to one city for the first time. The trilogy, which includes “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” “Water by the Spoonful” and “The Happiest Song Plays Last” will play in three local theaters for the next two months. This invites audiences to partake in the unique thrill of viewing all three of Hudes’ plays concurrently, creating a complete narrative experience. The Center Theatre Group is also holding two free events, called Community Conversations, in which the public is invited to partake in discussions about the real-life issues that permeate the “Elliot” trilogy. The events will take place on February 9th and 21st.

The Los Angeles production of “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” is directed by Shishir Kurup, who has enjoyed a prolific career in television, film and theater as an actor, writer, composer, and director. His theatrical directing credits include “Seed: A Weird Act of Faith,” “Love on San Pedro,” “On Caring for the Beast,” and “The Unrequited.” Kurup also directed productions of “Water by the Spoonful” and “The Happiest Song Plays Last” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, making Kurup the definitive directorial voice on Hudes’ “Elliot” trilogy.

The cast of the Kirk Douglas Theatre production includes Rubén Garfias, Peter Mendoza, Jason Manuel Olazábal and Caro Zeller in the lead roles. The creative team includes Set Design by Sibyl Wickersheimer, Costume Design by Raquel Barreto, Lighting Design by Geoff Korf, Sound Design by John Nobori, and Production Stage Management by Maggie Swing.

Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” runs at the Kirk Douglas Theatre from Jan. 27 until Feb. 25. You can buy tickets here.