Update on Theater J's 30th Anniversary 2020/21 Season

Thirty years ago, Theater J began as a handful of productions in a townhouse, quickly growing to become the largest and most prominent Jewish theater in the country. And throughout the last three decades, we have preserved and expanded a rich Jewish theatrical tradition by creating community and commonality through engaging, provocative, and meaningful theater-going experiences.

As the leaders of Theater J, we have been thinking a lot about our history and our values over the past few months. Pikuach Nefesh (“saving a life”) is a core Jewish principle that values the preservation of human life above all else; as our region works toward recovery, it has become clear that first and foremost we must protect the health and safety of our audience, our artists, and our staff. In order to do so, and with enormous sadness, we are canceling the three productions originally scheduled for fall 2020: The Kinsey Sicks in Electile Dysfunction, Incident at Vichy by Arthur Miller, and Tuesdays with Morrie by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom.

We look forward to joyfully gathering in the Goldman Theater when it is safe for audiences, artists, and staff to do so. The world is a very different place than it was even a few short months ago, and we are closely following the recommendations of both the DC government and the CDC, as well as consulting directly with medical professionals. We will be sure to update our entire community with information as soon as we know it. For now, we are moving forward with all our originally announced winter/spring programming in 2021.

We believe wholeheartedly that in these moments of challenge, you run toward your mission, and so this autumn we will continue to celebrate, explore, and struggle the complexities and nuances of both the Jewish experience and the universal human condition. We may not be able to gather in person, but we hope you will be able to join us for the new and expanded classes, Yiddish Theater Lab readings and other programs you find on this website.

 

Adam Immerwahr Jojo Ruf
Adam Immerwahr
Artistic Director
Jojo Ruf
Managing Director

 

Questions? Call our Ticket Office at 202-777-3210 Monday through Friday, 12:00-4:00 PM.

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story

By Hannah Moscovitch, Ben Caplan, Christian Barry
Directed by Christian Barry
January 6–24, 2021

AN EDGY NEW KLEZMER-INSPIRED MUSICAL

Sex, religion, tragedy, and triumph–Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story has it all! A hilarious and edgy love story interwoven with a high-energy Klezmer concert, this unique music-theater hybrid is inspired by the true tale of two Jewish Romanian refugees finding love after arriving on the shores of Canada in 1908. Featuring a not-to-be-missed performance by genre-bending sensation Ben Caplan, Old Stock has been wildly popular with audiences and critics alike across Canada, Great Britain, and in New York.

“A thing of raw and unmissable beauty.”–Herald Scotland
Nathan the Wise

Nathan the Wise

By Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Adapted by Michael Bloom
Directed by Adam Immerwahr
Produced in association with Folger Theatre
February 17–March 14, 2021

AN 18TH CENTURY SHAKESPEAREAN FABLE

In 12th century Jerusalem Jews, Christians, and Muslims live beside one another in peace—or so they hope. As tensions rise, the ruling sultan asks the question: “Which religion is the one most beloved by G-d?” Lives, and the future of Jerusalem itself, are on the line as the brilliant Jewish merchant Nathan tries to find the answer. This 18th century Shakespearean play abounds with mistaken identities, foiled romances, and families and friendships across cultural and religious divides. Michael Bloom’s moving and humorous new adaptation celebrates the common humanity that unites us all. Starring Mitchell Hébert.

The Red Beads

The Red Beads

By Rinne Groff
Based on The Singer of His Sorrows by Osip Dymov
As adapted by Adrian Guo-Silver and Rinne Groff
From a translation by Adrian Guo-Silver
Directed by Johanna Gruenhut
April 7–May 2, 2021

A FUNNY AND MOVING NEW PLAY

A charming, comical, and stirring fable, drawn from one of the great stories of the Yiddish Theater. When a father’s bedtime story magically comes to life, his young daughter is plunged into the world of a poor shtetl poet, desperately in love with a woman who spurns him. With great wit and even greater heart, The Red Beads explores the beauty – and the pain – of letting love triumph over logic. The Red Beads is a world premiere adaptation, and the second full production of Theater J’s signature Yiddish Theater Lab.

Fires in the Mirror

Fires in the Mirror

Conceived, Written, and Originally Performed by Anna Deavere Smith
Co-Directed by Adam Immerwahr and January LaVoy
A co-production with Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta
June 9–July 4, 2021

THE GROUNDBREAKING DOCUMENTARY PLAY

August 1991: simmering tensions in the racially polarized neighborhood of Crown Heights exploded into riots after an African American child was killed by a car in the Chabad-Lubavitcher Rebbe’s motorcade and a Jewish scholar was slain in retaliation. Anna Deavere Smith’s groundbreaking documentary play uses verbatim testimony from throughout the Jewish and African American communities, creating a visionary amalgam. This stunning theatrical event—offered in the 30th anniversary of the Crown Heights riots—promises a tour-de-force solo performance and a story which touches upon every American regardless of race, color, or beliefs. Starring January LaVoy.

“The most compelling and sophisticated view of racial and class conflict that one could hope to encounter.”—New York Times