Written by Elliot White and Harry White

Sitting in the second row of Broadway’s The Book of Mormon was a nervous father who leaned over to his two kids, 11 and 13 years old, realizing a little too late the mistake he made. As other audience members were side-eyeing him for bringing two young children to this profanity-laced musical, the dad was expecting to go home and have to explain to his kids the meaning of every swear word in the dictionary.

What he didn’t expect was during that very performance, both kids would develop a fondness not only for live theatre, but also a penchant for irreverence; a strong desire to break the rules. Well, that’s our origin story anyway…

The seed of Foster Cat Productions was planted long before we would know it!

Elliot White and Harry WhiteRob Lewine

When we were studying in New York City only a couple of years ago we would go to the Drama Book Shop and look at the hundreds of plays in their vast collection. Often we found ourselves picking up a play and saying to ourselves, “This is amazing! Why is no one putting this up?” or an even more fun question, “I didn’t know [insert famous person] wrote a play!”

We felt there were so many fantastic yet neglected works of the past that seemed to have gotten lost over time in the American theatre’s quest to stay relevant. Foster Cat Productions is our way of taking matters into our own hands and bringing these under seen plays to life.

Our background as actors goes back to the conservatory program at David Mamet’s Atlantic Theater Company, where the curriculum happened to be built around gathering the tools to create a theatre company. This, along with our training at Stagedoor Manor (the legendary theatre summer camp where students put up full-length musicals and plays with only two weeks of rehearsal) gave us the confidence to take it upon ourselves to put our ideas into action. We gathered some of our closest actor friends and decided we were going to be the ones to put on the plays we wanted to see onstage.

Oh, and where did we get the name? Back in 2019, we started fostering stray kittens, and continued throughout the pandemic. We’ve helped find forever homes for nearly 30 cats (and counting). The cats have been with us through thick and thin and so it only felt natural that we dedicate our work to our furry friends (even though they haven’t bothered to come to a single one of our plays yet…)

Something we have never shied away from is our desire to strip away all of the excessive spectacles of the stage to really highlight the writing and the acting. People who have seen our shows have often said we remind them of a traveling troupe of actors who come out of nowhere with only the props they have in the back of their RV (except we don’t have an RV) and show everyone that all you need is good writing and actors who are committed to putting the dialogue front and center.

Foster Cat Productions

Over time we gained a network of passionate artists who are eager to join in whatever we have boiling in the pot. Our process tailors itself to who we are working with. Sometimes we want to rehearse for weeks and mine the piece, letting it marinade, and other times we want to throw the thing up because it screams for an audience from the moment we open the first page. The one thing that remains the same is we’re always looking to up the ante, the last thing we want to do is get stale, and so we think of our group as “punk rock,” trying to push boundaries and always surprise the audience.

Our current project, The Festival of Jewish Playwrights, consists of writing from Ethan Coen, Shel Silverstein, and Wendy Wasserstein. It is an exhibition and celebration of some of the most intriguing Jewish voices to have graced the world of theatre. Some of the plays are more subtle in their connection to the Jewish experience, but all of them touch upon something that we related to in our own personal experience being raised Jewish. From the plays’ comedic sensibility, to their exploration of certain family dynamics, we felt that these writers touch upon multitude of different aspects of the modern Jewish experience. We wanted to highlight three bold Jewish authors who, like us, love to break the rules.

Our very first production was the musical “Putting It Together,” which is a musical revue devised by Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim was the only artist of our time that can be fairly equated to William Shakespeare for his contribution to the theatre. After his passing in 2021, we knew we had to do something to honor his life. That production was the birth of Foster Cat Productions, so it will always hold a special place in our hearts. Our most recent musical we produced was the hidden gem “Three Guys Naked from the Waist Down.”

Thankfully for our audience, there was no actual nudity—it was about stand-up comedy. This project was very exciting for us, as we got the chance to meet and work with the show’s original Drama Desk Award-winning writer, Jerry Colker. He wrote some additional material specifically for our production, which is incredibly rare when working on revivals of older pieces. As we continue to produce shows here in LA, we have a huge list of forgotten plays (and musicals!) written by famous artists who we know and love. We want to introduce audiences to shows they never knew existed.

With so much talk around what the future of the art form will look like, we are proud to carve out our own little space to experiment and get our hands dirty, digging up some of the most exciting plays you’ve never even heard of.