WASHINGTON, D.C.: Theater J has announced that its previously scheduled in-person programming through May 2021 has been canceled. The company will instead produce a series of virtual readings and classes.
“This is a devastating moment for the theatre industry, and particularly for the artists and technicians whose work is the center of what we do,” said artistic director Adam Immerwahr in a statement. “It breaks our hearts not to be able to share the exquisite plays and musicals that were planned for this spring at Theater J. We find solace, however, in being able to commission new work, bring artists together virtually for our readings, employ some of our region’s top theatre-makers as instructors in our Classes for Theater Lovers, and share exquisite and startling productions from the thriving Israeli theatre community.”
Theater J has established the Israeli Theater Collection, an initiative for streaming videos of Israeli theatre productions with English-language captions that will be available for audiences to rent.
As part of its Yiddish Theater Lab, Theater J has commissioned Aaron Posner to adapt and direct a new one-person play drawn from Sholem Aleichem’s stories of Tevye the Dairyman, upon which A Fiddler on the Roof is based. The Yiddish Theater Lab will also feature three additional readings on Zoom, including a new play by local playwright Renee Calarco.
Theater J will also continue its Classes for Theater Lovers series, an initiative that offers audience members the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of theatre. Teaching artists will include Posner, Craig Wallace, Howard Shalwitz, and Seema Sueko. Details and registration here.
In addition, Theater J will present a free reading of local writer Nicole Cox’s Abomination (Dec. 17-20), which was the winner of the company’s inaugural Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize. The play follows a small group of queer yeshiva graduates who take to the courts to hold a conversion therapy organization accountable for decades of abuse. The cast will include Tiziano D’Affuso, Billy Finn, Kimberly Gilbert, Mitchell Hebert, Susan Rome, and Chris Stinson. José Carrasquillo will direct. Details and registration here.
“The silver lining of the past nine months is that we have connected to new communities across the country and around the world,” said managing director Jojo Ruf in a statement. “The pressures of this current moment allow for greater self-definition, and our online programming has allowed us to reach new audiences in 23 states and five countries. We look forward to continuing this expansion with our newest initiatives until it is once again safe to gather in person.”
Theater J, the nation’s largest Jewish theatre, was founded in 1990. It celebrates, explores and struggles with the complexities and nuances of both the Jewish experience and the universal human condition.
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