Dear Friends of Theater J,
I am elated to introduce you to the 2023-2024 Season at Theater J. The season reflects the richness of our mission. Plays that celebrate, explore, and struggle with the complexities and nuances of both the Jewish experience and the universal human condition. They illuminate and examine ethical questions of our time, inter-cultural experiences that parallel our own, and the changing landscape of Jewish identities.
The season has four world premieres, two East Coast premieres, tour de force performances, and a new adaptation of a beloved film reimagined for the stage with songs. The plays are bold and theatrical, intimate and personal, epic and imaginative.
This year we ask questions about identity and assimilation, how to define and redefine love, and what we can and cannot know. We search for family members, romance, faith, self-actualization, and renewal. We start around a dinner table and travel in time and place, from the late 19th Century in New York City’s Lower East Side to Stalinist Russia, Haifa, and Seoul, on trains, planes, and through the pages of comic books.
We invite you to laugh, be inspired, learn, question, and open your hearts and minds, and after many of the shows, we invite you to join us in conversation. This communal experience can only happen in a theater with live performances.
We welcome playwrights to Theater J, who write plays in dialogue with our current moment, whether looking at it through the lens of the past, the present, or an imaginative landscape; they are writing to connect with audiences in real time and space through the unique power of theater.
Theater J presents 7 plays, a family holiday program, and classes this year. And at the same time, we continue to invest in writers by developing new work through our Lab series. Our commissioning program seeds the work that will be in future seasons. As a subscriber, you will have the opportunity for a first look at these plays in development and get to know the artists and their creative processes.
With joy and anticipation, I am excited to see you this season!
Hayley Finn, Artistic Director
By Jenny Rachel Weiner
Here I Am: a triptych of tour-de-force performances
See You Tomorrow
Written, Directed, and Performed by Iris Bahr
by Michele Lowe
How to Be A Korean Woman
written and performed by Sun Mee Chomet
This Much I Know
By Jonathan Spector
a play with music by Sharyn Rothstein
with original music by Joel Waggoner
The Hatmaker’s Wife
by Lauren Yee
by Jenny Rachel Weiner
Directed by Ellie Heyman
October 11 – November 5, 2023
Nothing says Jewish Christmas more than Chinese takeout. The food tastes even better this year for actor Riz Golden-Kruger and her family – Riz finally got her big break, the starring role in a new superhero franchise, The Chameleon. But when news leaks that could threaten to ruin Riz’s career, she must decide to hide or fight for what’s right. Ignited by the fast-paced frenzy of social media, the play rampages through questions of identity, representation, and the complications of assimilation. The Chameleon is an outrageous, laugh-out-loud intergenerational world premiere.
See You Tomorrow
Written, directed, and performed by Iris Bahr
November 14 – 22, 2023
A mother-daughter relationship unfolds in award-winning comedian/actor Iris Bahr’s new autobiographical work. Despite the distance, a mother in Israel and daughter in Los Angeles connect via WhatsApp video daily. When the mother is confronted with an emergency, Iris must navigate the life-and-death situation through a screen. Days later, Iris finds herself relocating across the globe overnight to parent her parent. Straddling cultures, generations, and an ocean, See You Tomorrow is a surprising, funny, and poignant story about family, caregiving, guilt and what happens when memory and one’s history dissolves in an instant.
by Michele Lowe
Directed by Johanna Gruenhut
Performed by Grant Harrison
December 1 – 24, 2023
How do you start over after everything you know has been erased? Michele Lowe’s Moses follows one man’s epic journey as he searches for forgiveness, a long-lost dream, and himself. A Theater J Vradenburg New Jewish Play Prize finalist, Moses is a world premiere about faith, love, and going it alone.
EAST COAST PREMIERE
How to Be a Korean Woman
Written and performed by Sun Mee Chomet
Direction and dramaturgy by Zaraawar Mistry
January 4 – 14, 2024
How to Be a Korean Woman is a hilarious, heartfelt, and personal telling of Korean-American adoptee Sun Mee Chomet‘s search for her birth family in Seoul, South Korea. This poignant one-woman show — told from the perspective of an adult Jewish adoptee — uses text, music, and movement to explore themes of family, love, adulthood, and the universal longing to know one’s past. “As an actor, I often use my own history to strengthen or inform my characters,” says Chomet. “Now, I’m doing this daunting thing of giving my whole life over. It’s daunting but rewarding to be so bare.” Chomet’s award-winning play has been presented to sold-out audiences in the United States and Seoul, South Korea.
This Much I Know
by Jonathan Spector
Directed by Hayley Finn
January 31 – February 25, 2024
Am I in charge of my choices? How could anyone think or do that? What is happiness? In the midst of a lecture, a psychology professor’s marriage fractures, sparking a theatrical study of three characters as they become entangled in a search for self-discovery. With inspiration from the research of Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, the characters search for answers in the science of decision-making. They learn that, in Kahneman’s words, thinking can be “fast or slow,” emotional or deliberate, drive-like and intuitive, or calculated. Part mystery, part love story, part philosophical quest, This Much I Know spins our axis of belief and understanding.
“I fell in love with this play when we developed it at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and am thrilled to bring it to Theater J” adds Artistic Director Hayley Finn. “Jonathan weaves together multiple narratives — each character is confronted by their assumed beliefs and must find their way towards their emotional center. The journey is deeply philosophical and yet, in the same breath, emotionally gut-wrenching. I’m honored to have the opportunity to direct Jonathan Spector’s brilliant work.”
A play with music by Sharyn Rothstein
With original music by Joel Waggoner
Based on the film by Joan Micklin Silver and the novella Yekl by Abraham Cahan
March 27 – April 21, 2024
The world premiere of Hester Street – the theatrical adaptation of the beloved 1975 film by Joan Micklin Silver – marks the largest production Theater J’s stage has seen in years. Hester Street depicts the uplifting journey of Gitl, a young Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe, who arrives with her son to meet her husband Jake in the tumult of the late-19th century Lower East Side. Separated from his wife and the provincial limitations of his upbringing, Jake has fully embraced his new American life—one that has little in common with Gitl’s old-time ways. Faced with the disintegration of her marriage in a world she can barely comprehend, Gitl must find her voice, protect her son, and redefine her identity. A deeply moving new stage adaptation by Sharyn Rothstein (Arena Stage’s Right to Be Forgotten), featuring songs by Broadway’s Joel Waggoner, assembling a nationally-renowned team of artists and produced in association with New York-based producers Michael Rabinowitz and Ira Deutchman, Hester Street is an unforgettable show, awash in the humor, heartbreak and hope essential to the Jewish immigrant experience.
by Lauren Yee
Directed by Dan Rothenberg
June 5 – 23, 2024
The 23-24 Theater J season wraps up with a production of Lauren Yee’s The Hatmaker’s Wife, directed by Dan Rothenberg, founding member and co-artistic director of Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company. Magic and realism collide in this modern fable about learning to love. A young woman moves in with her boyfriend, and when she has trouble getting comfortable, her strange new home seems determined to help out, literally. The walls start to talk, words magically appear, and a golem with a taste for Cheetos gets into the action. A cross between a ghost story and a Yiddish fable, Lauren Yee’s moving and whimsical The Hatmaker’s Wife redefines home, family, and love.
Below, you’ll find answers to common questions about subscribing to our season. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the Subscriptions FAQ, contact our Box Office at 202.777.3210 or email@example.com for further assistance with your season subscription.
- Subscribers can find their subscription information by logging into their account and heading to the my account page. There will be a tab that says Fixed Subscriptions. Click on that tab to access your schedule.
- Subscribers can receive their tickets in one of two ways: via email or by picking them up at the box office. We no longer send printed tickets by mail.
- Masks will be required for our Thursday evening and Saturday matinee performances. We want to be inclusive as possible and provide performances for people who want to gather in masked spaces or for people that may be immunocompromised. Masks are recommended but not required for all other performances.
- Parking is limited but those who need to reserve a handicap parking spot can call the ticket office to do so. We ask that subscribers call at least 48 hours in advance of their performance to reserve a handicap parking spot.