Theater J, the nation’s largest and most prominent Jewish theater, announces its 2016-2017 season, the first season chosen by new Theater J Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr.
This lineup of seven diverse plays features Tony Award-winning plays and playwrights, Washington area premieres, and a stellar lineup of directors and artists. The season’s plays promise delight, joy, and a thoughtful examination and exploration of pressing ideas about morality, ethics, the role of faith in this country, and the changing face of Jewish identity in this country. Theater J’s new season features the work of Deborah Zoe Laufer, Lucas Hnath, Michael Frayn, Sarah Treem, Neil Simon, and Arthur Miller.
Following rave-reviews at The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Deborah ZoeLaufer’s The Last Schwartz will kick-off the season in September. This absurd and thoughtful comedy about a dysfunctional Jewish family will be directed by Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr in his DC directorial debut.
On the heels of Lucas Hnath’s provocative 2015 New York Times, New York Magazine, and TIME Magazine’s Critic’s Pick, The Christians, directed by Gregg Henry, will make its DC debut. The big play about faith in America is provocative and confronts the power of religion to unite or divide.
America’s favorite dragapella quartet, The Kinsey Sicks, returns to Theater J for a limited-run Holiday special with their hit, Oy Vey in a Manger, which played to sold-out crowds in 2011.
Next up, is a thought-provoking Tony Award-winning drama about the minds and morals behind the creation of the atom bomb. Copenhagen by Michael Frayn, will be directed by Eleanor Holdridge.
The next offering is Sarah Treem’s searing play about women, science, and survival of the fittest, The How and The Why, directed by Theater J Associate Artistic Director Shirley Serotsky.
Neil Simon’s poignant and joyful coming-of-age dramedy, the Tony Award-winning Brighton Beach Memoirs, appears in the Spring following the success of previous Simon hits (Lost in Yonkers and The Odd Couple) at Theater J.
The season will culminate with Aaron Posner returning to Theater J to direct Arthur Miller’s rarely produced, riveting psychological drama, Broken Glass.
Adam Immerwahr, Artistic Director of Theater J said:
“I’m delighted to share this season with Theater J’s audience.” “These are terrific plays that celebrate and grapple with the human experience, and will have universal appeal to a wide range of theatergoers throughout the metropolitan area. As a collection, this season is uniquely suited for Theater J and our mission to celebrate, examine, and explore Jewish identity, values, and morality. I am thrilled to present them with DC audiences in my inaugural season at Theater J, as we welcome the entire community to Theater J.”
The Last Schwartz
By Deborah Zoe Laufer
Directed by Adam Immerwahr
September 7 – October 2, 2016
Nothing is funnier than family dysfunction. The Schwartz family has been on their last legs since Papa died a year ago. Norma’s husband isn’t speaking to her, Herb and Bonnie are having baby troubles, and Simon wants to be an astronaut. Throw a sexy wanna-be Hollywood starlet into the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a yahrzeit gone perfectly wrong. Can Judaism hold this family together? Theater J Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr makes his DC directorial debut in this rollicking, absurd, and thoughtful comedy with a whole lot of heart.
By Lucas Hnath
Directed by Gregg Henry
November 16 – December 11, 2016
Religion can draw us together, or it can pull us apart. Twenty years ago, Pastor Paul’s church was a modest storefront. Now it houses thousands, with a coffee shop in the lobby and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool. Today should be a day of celebration, but Pastor Paul is about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundation of his congregation’s beliefs. Backed by a live choir, The Christians is both an epic and unexpectedly intimate drama. This provocative new play offers an unflinching look at faith of any denomination—and its power to unite or divide.
Oy Vey in a Manger
By The Kinsey Sicks
December 20 – 28, 2016
They’re back! America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, The Kinsey Sicks, make their long-awaited return to DC, following their 2011 hit! In Oy Vey in a Manger, we find these chicks with schticks (Rachel, Winnie, Trixie and Trampolina) trying to sell off their manger—yes, that manger—before it’s foreclosed. Crises arise, secrets are revealed, Jewish-Gentile tensions surface, and mayhem ensues—all in a glorious four-part harmony.
By Michael Frayn
Directed by Eleanor Holdridge
January 5 – 29, 2017
In 1941, the German physicist Werner Heisenberg traveled to Copenhagen to meet his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr. Old friends and colleagues, now they find themselves on opposite sides in a world war and embroiled in a race to create the atom bomb. Why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen, and what he wanted to say to Bohr, are questions that have intrigued and divided historians and scientists ever since. Michael Frayn’s Tony Award-winning play about this historic meeting is a classic of modern drama—a meditation on friendship and moral responsibility, intellectually dazzling, and deeply moving that journeys through the realm of science and beyond.
The How and The Why
By Sarah Treem
Directed by Shirley Serotsky
February 15 – March 12, 2017
Emotion and evolution collide in Sarah Treem’s thought-provoking play about science, family, and survival of the fittest. On the eve of a prestigious conference, an up-and-coming evolutionary biologist wrestles for the truth with an established leader in the field. The air crackles between the eminent professor and the maverick graduate student, whose theories might just change the way we regard sex itself. This exhilarating and keenly perceptive play, by the writer of hit TV shows In Treatment and The Affair, grapples with difficult choices faced by women of every generation.
Brighton Beach Memoirs
By Neil Simon
Directed by Matt Torney
April 5 – May 7, 2017
Coming of age is never easy—but it sure can be hilarious. Eugene Morris Jerome is 15, lives in Brooklyn, and thinks of little else but playing for the Yankees… and girls, of course. But he’s more likely to become a short story writer than a short stop. Eugene’s witty commentary about his life, his overworked father, his overbearing mother, his overconfident brother, and his overly gorgeous cousin, makes this tender journey through puberty both poignant and joyful.
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Aaron Posner
June 14 – July 9, 2017
A riveting psychological drama from one of America’s master playwrights, Arthur Miller. Sylvia Gellburg has suddenly, mysteriously, become paralyzed from the waist down, and her husband, a self-denying Jew, can’t figure out why. Set in Brooklyn throughout the rampage of Kristallnacht in 1938, this rare and gripping drama demands we confront our fears, our assumptions, and our anguish. Miller balances private and public morality in this astonishing and electrifying play about being American, being married, and coming to terms with one’s own identity.
LOCATION: The Edlavitch JCC of Washington DC at 1529 16th Street, NW in Washington, DC, 4 blocks east of Dupont Circle.
PARKING & METRO: Limited parking in the Edlavitch JCC lot; additional parking available at Colonial Parking, 1616 P Street, NW; limited street parking. Dupont Circle Station RED line.
Theater J is handicapped accessible and offers assisted listening devices for interested patrons.
Theater J, a program of the Edlavitch JCC of Washington DC, produces thought-provoking, publicly engaged, personal, passionate and entertaining plays and musicals that celebrate the distinctive urban voice and social vision that are part of the Jewish cultural legacy. Acclaimed as one of the nation’s premiere playwrights theaters, Theater J presents cutting edge contemporary work alongside spirited revivals and is a nurturing home for the development and production of new work by major writers and emerging artists exploring many of the pressing moral and political issues of our time. Dedicated first to a pursuit of artistic excellence, Theater J takes its dialogues beyond the stage, offering an array of innovative public discussion forums and outreach programs which explore the theatrical, psychological and social elements of our art. We frequently partner with those of other faiths and communities, stressing the importance of interchange among a great variety of people wishing to take part in frank, humane conversations about conflict and culture.
The DCJCC embraces inclusion in all its programs and activities. We welcome and encourage the participation of all people, regardless of their background, sexual orientation, abilities, or religion, including interfaith couples and families.
This press release is by Lauren R Alexander, Theater J’s Director of Marketing and Communication.