Theater J 19/20 Season: Welcome Home

Welcome home to a warm and glowing Theater J inside a beautifully restored and refreshed Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center.

Welcome home to a season of provocative, entertaining, smart, funny plays that explore the Jewish experience and the universal human condition with passion, humor, and delight. Welcome to a season filled with music and heart, a season that will lift you up and keep you soaring.

This season celebrates journeys of every kind, from the intoxicating new musical Love Sick, based on the Song of Songs, and its surprising journey of the heart, to Edward Albee’s late-career masterpiece Occupant, about Jewish sculptor Louise Nevelson, and its astonishing journey of art. Winter brings two new plays, Sheltered, a suspenseful tale of one couple’s 1939 journey to save lives by emerging writer Alix Sobler, and The Wanderers, Anna Ziegler’s lyrical new play which journeys back and forth between a Satmar Hasidic couple and a modern secular couple, providing a deeply sympathetic look at modern love. Next, we will go on a journey from Germany to Jerusalem to New York with Dr. Ruth Westheimer in Becoming Dr. Ruth as we revisit Naomi Jacobson’s Helen Hayes Award nominated performance as America’s favorite sex therapist. Our season closes with a journey into the mind of an obsessed man, the semi-fictional story of a forgotten writer’s battle over the ownership of The Diary of Anne Frank in Compulsion or the House Behind.

Subscribe now to secure the best prices, seats, and enticing benefits! Call our box office Monday – Friday 1:00-4:00 PM at 202-777-3210 and we’ll make it easy and answer all of your questions.  Single tickets on sale on July 15.

Theater J’s 19/20 Season is made possible through the support of our Season Sponsors

Leading Producer
Arlene and Robert Kogod, The Robert and Arlene Kogod Family Foundation

Sponsoring Producer
Cathy S. Bernard

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Susie and Michael Gelman, The Morningstar Foundation
Nancy and Saul Pilchen
Revada Foundation of the Logan Family
Share Fund
The Shubert Foundation

Supporting Producer
Bruce A. Cohen

Alfred Munzer and Joel Wind
Melanie and Larry Nussdorf
Hank Schlosberg
Patti and Jerry Sowalsky
Amy Weinberg and Norbert Hornstein

LOVE SICK

Written and adapted by Ofra Daniel, Music by Ofra Daniel and Lior Ben-Hur
Directed by Christopher Renshaw
Choreographed by Matt Cole
September 4-29, 2019

A passionate new musical

From an extraordinary collaboration of international artists comes Love Sick, the critically-acclaimed new musical that fuses a thrilling original score, Middle-Eastern harmonics, dazzling choreography, and an inspired story of passion and awakening. Based on the Song of Songs, Love Sick tells the story a young wife in a lifeless marriage who discovers she has a secret admirer. Intrigued, she begins a mysterious and dizzying journey of sexual and personal empowerment. Love Sick’s creative team includes Olivier and Tony Award nominee Christopher Renshaw, internationally-acclaimed Israeli actress/writer Ofra Daniel, and celebrated Palestinian musician Ali Paris

“Extraordinary…lush…full of surprises”—San Francisco Chronicle

EDWARD ALBEE’S
OCCUPANT

Directed by Aaron Posner
November 7 – December 8, 2019

Inside the genius of sculptor Louise Nevelson

Facts are in dispute and words are in question in this late-career masterpiece by multiple Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Albee (Who’s Afraid of Virginia WoolfA Delicate Balance). A little Jewish girl from Russia immigrated to the US and became the renowned sculptor, Louise Nevelson. In Albee’s Occupant, she’s been invited to participate in an interview — from beyond the grave. Through her ups and downs, her contradictions and evasions, we witness the deep inner turmoil and intrepid triumphs of one of the 20th century’s greatest artistic minds. Starring audience-favorite Susan Rome, this surprising, touching, and delicious play is an unabashed exploration of how a pioneer for free-thinking women everywhere found her voice.

The play “bows its head in awe and gratitude before the mysterious force of will that allows great artists to be.”The New York Times

SHELTERED

By Alix Sobler
Directed by Adam Immerwahr
January 9  — February 2, 2020

Ordinary people in extraordinary times

It is 1939, and Hitler’s assault on Europe has begun. Though much of the world has turned its back on the Jews of Europe, Evelyn and Leonard Kirsch suspect that the menace is real. This ordinary American couple makes a bold decision that could save the lives of many Jewish children and change the course of history. But first, they must convince their estranged friends to help. What begins as a night of cocktails and conversation becomes a tense negotiation of politics, morality, and survival – and the stakes are life and death. A suspenseful story that will bring you to the edge of your seat. Featuring McLean Fletcher, Kimberly Gilbert, David Schlumpf, Alexander Strain and Erin Weaver.

“Thoughtful and heartfelt… culminates in an emotional, beautifully orchestrated sequence.”—Atlanta Journal-Courier

THE WANDERERS

By Anna Ziegler
Directed by Amber Paige McGinnis
February 19 — March 15, 2020

A funny new drama about modern love 

Esther and Schmuli are Satmar Hasidic Jews embarking on an arranged marriage, despite barely knowing each other. Abe and Julia are high-profile celebrities embarking on a dangerously flirtatious correspondence, despite being married to other people. On the surface, the lives of these two couples couldn’t be more different; but the hidden connections between these seemingly disparate people draw the audience into an intriguing puzzle and a deeply sympathetic look at modern love.  From the award-winning writer of Photograph 51 and Actually comes this funny, insightful, and moving new play.

“One of the best written, most clever and tightly constructed plays I have seen this year…The Wanderers should not be missed.” — Entertainment Today

BECOMING DR. RUTH

By Mark St. Germain
Directed by Holly Twyford
Starring Naomi Jacobson
March 27 – April 19, 2020

America’s favorite sex therapist returns

Before she became Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Karola Siegel had to flee Germany in the Kindertransport, become a sniper in Jerusalem, and survive as a single mother in America. Naomi Jacobson, who earned a Helen Hayes Award nomination for the role, returns to Theater J for an unforgettable, heart-warming evening of theater. This inventive production was a must-see event of the 2017-2018 DC theater season. Don’t miss the return of this triumphant and life-affirming story of a girl who found her own unique place in the world.

“Jacobson is captivating from start to finish.“—MD Theater Guide

COMPULSION
OR
THE HOUSE BEHIND

By Rinne Groff
Directed by Johanna Gruenhut
June 5 — 28, 2020 

Who owns Anne Frank’s story?

Sid Silver is a man obsessed. When he learns about a young girl named Anne Frank and her diary, Silver makes it his mission to ensure her tale is heard. But is the manuscript a work of art? A cultural treasure? Or simply a valuable product? As he fights for the diary’s publication and the rights to adapt it into a play, Silver’s idealism turns to fanaticism, and his good intentions may prove to be his undoing. A fascinating, semi-fictional story about one forgotten writer’s battle for one extraordinary girl’s diary. Starring Paul Morella.

 “Absorbing… a fascinating, multilayered tale.“—The New York Times