Theater J's 2021/22 Season

Dear friends,

We’ve missed you so much.

All of us at Theater J—the staff, the actors, the directors, the designers, the technicians, the ushers—have missed the jubilant cacophony of our full lobby, the entrancing hush that somehow fills our theater as the lights dim, and the indescribable satisfaction of knowing that the stories on our stage have delighted, enthralled, and moved you.

Our world has changed since we turned off the lights in the Goldman theater in March of 2020. As months rolled by, we mourned the passing of friends and loved ones, we watched our country go through a powerful racial reckoning, and we learned more about ourselves and each other. But one thing hasn’t changed: the capacity of theater to bring us all together. Theater has an unequalled ability to forge empathy and understanding, to inspire introspection and contemplation, and to create joyful connections as we gather together in communal experience.

This coming season at Theater J promises to be a life-affirming, unforgettable season of art that reminds you who you are. This will be a season of bravura acting, from the return of the triumphant Becoming Dr. Ruth, starring Naomi Jacobson in the role that brought her a Helen Hayes nomination, to the stunningly nuanced performance of January LaVoy making her Theater J debut in Anna Deavere Smith’s Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities. It will be a season of heart-warming plays like the beloved Tuesdays with Morrie and thought-provoking new works like Rinne B. Groff’s Compulsion or the House Behind. And we can’t wait to bring you one of the great classics of Jewish theater: a new adaptation of the rarely performed Nathan the Wise, written in 18th century Germany and set in 12th century Jerusalem.

We’ve missed you. We can’t wait to welcome you back.

I’ll see you in the lobby.

Adam Immerwahr
Adam Immerwahr
Artistic Director

 

For our most up-to-date safety plans and information, visit theaterj.org/safetyguidelines

Questions? Call our Ticket Office at 202-777-3210 Monday through Friday, 1:00-5:00 PM.

Theater J’s 21/22 Season is made possible through the support of our Season Sponsors

Leading Producer

Washington, DC Government: The Bridge Fund

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

Sponsoring Producer

National Endowment for the Arts
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Susie and Michael Gelman, The Morningstar Foundation
Sari R. Hornstein
Revada Foundation of the Logan Family
Share Fund
The Shubert Foundation
Amy Weinberg and Norbert Hornstein

Supporting Producer

The Family of H. Max & Josephine F. Ammerman and Andrew R. Ammerman
Bruce A. Cohen
Alfred Munzer and Joel Wind
Nussdorf Family Foundation
Nussdorf Family Foundation
Kay Richman and Daniel Kaplan
Patti and Jerry Sowalksy

Theater J’s 2021-22 Season is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Becoming Dr. Ruth

Written by Mark St. Germain
Directed by Holly Twyford
Starring Naomi Jacobson
September 30–October 24, 2021

AMERICA’S FAVORITE SEX THERAPIST RETURNS

Don’t miss the return of this triumphant and life-affirming story of a woman who found her own unique place in the world. Before she became America’s favorite sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer 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 in 2018, returns to Theater J for an unforgettable, heart-warming evening of theater.

“Jacobson’s got the Westheimer verve” hailed The Washington Post

Tuesdays with Morrie 

Written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom
Based on the book by Mitch Albom
Directed by Jenna Place
November 10–December 5, 2021

FROM THE BESTSELLING MEMOIR

Based on the best-selling memoir, Tuesdays With Morrie is the powerful and moving story of Mitch Albom, a hard-driving sportswriter, and Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor. Directed by Jenna Place, this tender yet profound play recounts the two men reuniting as Morrie faces his own mortality as an ALS patient. What starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a beautiful lesson in humanity, compassion, and friendship.

“A touching, life-affirming, deeply emotional drama with a generous dose of humor.” —NY Daily News.

Compulsion or The House Behind 

Written by Rinne B. Groff
Directed by Johanna Gruenhut
January 26–February 20, 2022

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.

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

Nathan the Wise 

Written by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing 
Adapted by Michael Bloom 
Directed by Adam Immerwahr
Produced in Association with Folger Theatre
March 16–April 10, 2022

AN 18TH-CENTURY SHAKESPEAREAN FABLE

In 12th century Jerusalem, Jews, Christians, and Muslims live side by side in peace—or so they hope. As tensions rise, the ruling sultan asks: “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 seeks to answer the question. This funny and timely 18th-century Shakespearean play is chock full of mistaken identities, foiled romances, and relationships across cultural and religious divides. Michael Bloom’s smart new adaptation celebrates the common humanity that unites us all.

“A moving story that speaks, as you might guess, to conflicts that roil the world today.” – New York Times

Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities

Conceived, Written, and Originally Performed by Anna Deavere Smith
Co-Directed by Adam Immerwahr and January LaVoy
Produced in association with Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta, Georgia
Artistic Director Matt Torney, Managing Director Gretchen Butler
June 9–July 3, 2022

THE GROUNDBREAKING DOCUMENTARY PLAY

August 1991: simmering tensions in the racially polarized neighborhood of Crown Heights erupt into riots after a Black child was killed by a car in the Chabad-Lubavitcher Rebbe’s motorcade and a white Jewish scholar was slain in retaliation. Anna Deavere Smith’s groundbreaking documentary play uses verbatim testimony from individuals throughout the diverse community, creating a nuanced portrait of a shared but divided geography. This theatrical event – performed over 30 years after these life-changing riots – promises a tour-de-force solo performance and a story which touches upon every American regardless of race, color, or beliefs.

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

Plus a Special Holiday Engagement 

The Kinsey Sicks’ Oy Vey in a Manger

December 17–December 25, 2021

The Kinsey Sicks are back! Full of their signature panache and perfect harmonies, these chicks with schticks are trying to sell off their manger – yes, that manger – before it’s foreclosed. Crises arise, secrets are reveals, Jewish-Gentile tensions surface, and mayhem ensues. Don’t miss America’s favorite Dragapella© Beautyshop Quartet in their triumphant return to Theater J.

“A raunchily audacious declaration that nothing about the holidays is sacred… If you haven’t made the acquaintance of The Kinsey Sicks, it’s high time you did.” — The Washington Post