Solo Play About Zero Mostel to Launch Theater J Season in DC; Simon, Ives, Moses, Gold Follow

News   Solo Play About Zero Mostel to Launch Theater J Season in DC; Simon, Ives, Moses, Gold Follow Plays by Neil Simon, Itamar Moses, Judy Gold, David Ives and more will punctuate the 2009-10 season at Theater J, the Washington, DC, company devoted to Jewish voices, stories and audiences.
Judy Gold
Judy Gold Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The season will open with Jim Brochu's Zero Hour, "a penetrating study of the fantastically contrary and hilarious star, Zero Mostel, artist, activist and blacklisted actor."

Theater J's 2009-2010 season follows:

Aug. 29–Sept. 27
Zero Hour
Written and performed by Jim Brochu
Directed by Piper Laurie

"The ebullient, mercurial star of stage and screen Zero Mostel (best known for his portrayal of comic characters such as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Max Bialystock in "The Producers") once said that the freedom of any society is directly proportional to the volume of its laughter. In this one-man tour de force that's won Best Play honors from coast to coast, Jim Brochu shares the story of a man who, in the shadow of McCarthyism, had the courage to stand up and tell a joke. With an inquiring New York Times reporter at the door, Mostel is forced to confront his bitterness about being blacklisted and must decide whether to go back and work with the legendary director who named names (including his) before Congress."

Oct. 21–Nov. 29
Lost in Yonkers
By Neil Simon
Directed by Jerry Whiddon
Featuring Tana Hicken, Holly Twyford, Lise Bruneau and Marcus Kyd with Kevin Bergen, Kyle Schliefer and Max Talisman

"In a remarkable coming of age comic drama that was awarded four Tony Awards and Neil Simon's only Pulitzer Prize, two brothers are left to fend for themselves in a dysfunctional household with their formidable immigrant grandmother, played by Tana Hicken; sweet but simple-minded aunt, played by Holly Twyford; and a hoodlum of an uncle, played by Marcus Kyd, who is mixed up with the mob. With their dad on the road selling scrap, the boys learn a lesson about the resourcefulness of family in this classic American tale set during the 1940s, an economically challenged time looking eerily similar to our own. Pointedly comic, atmospheric, gritty and heartbreakingly poignant, this production marks Theater J's first encounter with a full-length work by Neil Simon since its move into the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater in 1997."

Dec. 16, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010
Mommy Queerest
Written and performed by Judy Gold

"From the creator of 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, comedian Judy Gold is back in this edgy, multi-media memoir with original music featuring her hysterical takes on being a working gay mom and raising two boys in New York City. There is no stone unturned: her mother, anti-depressants, nursing homes, parenting, gay marriage, and of course what she truly thinks about her kids — they are annoying, expensive, and they better pluck out her chin hairs when she's in the Hebrew Home for the Aged. Gay or straight, black or white, Jew or non-denominational neurotic, this show will have you falling out of your seat with laughter." Jan. 20-Feb. 21, 2010
The Four of Us
By Itamar Moses
Directed by Daniel DeRay
Featuring Dan Crane and Karl Miller

"When Ben's first novel vaults him into literary stardom, his best friend David, a struggling playwright, is thrilled for his newfound success...or is he? Should Ben help David by using his new connections to Hollywood? Can David expect such favors from his friend? And, most importantly, who should pay for lunch? This hip, intricate comedy by an exciting new voice on the American playwriting scene explores how friendship survives in the face of success, and what happens when dreams come true…and not for you."

March 6–21, 2010
Andy Warhol; Good for the Jews>
Written and performed by Josh Kornbluth
Directed by David Dower

"A humorous and penetrating take on ten Jewish luminaries as painted by Andy Warhol in his controversial 1980 series, 'Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century.' DC favorite Josh Kornbulth considers the radical aesthetic of the pop art enigma who was commissioned to paint Albert Einstein, George Gershwin, Golda Meir and the Marx Brothers. In wrestling with Warhol's motives and techniques, Kornbluth learns something about his own suppressed religious identity and the spiritual dimensions of Warhol’s art."

March 31–April 18, 2010
In Darfur
By Winter Miller
Directed by Derek Goldman
Featuring Lucas Beck, Jessica Frances Duke, Carl James, Rahaleh Nassri, Erika Rose, Deidra LaWan Starnes and Brandon White

"Can one woman's story stand for the plight of a nation? And what are the costs mobilizing world opinion? Inspired by her travels with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, Winter Miller's impeccably researched chronicle of the unfolding genocide in Sudan centers on three intertwined lives at a refugee camp for internally displaced persons in Darfur. This searing chronicle, based on true events, looks at recent situation in Sudan and pits the desperate need of a people alongside the complicated ethics of those destined to tell the tale."

May 5-June 5, 2010
Mikveh
By Hadar Galron
Directed by Shirley Serotsky
Featuring Carla Briscoe, Lise Bruneau, Rachel Condliffe, Helen Pafumi, Tonya Beckman Ross, Amal Saade and Kimberly Scfraf

"Inside the secretive world of the ritual bath, eight women's stories unfold in this sensitive depiction of religious observance and evolving feminist consciousness. When Shira, a new bath attendant, arrives, she opens a Pandora's box of issues, revealing long kept secrets. A knowledgeable and respectful examination of traditions and ritual, this contemporary play explores the ever-evolving position of women in a changing Israeli society." This show is part of the series "Voices From a Changing Middle East: Voice of the Woman," which will feature readings of plays by female Israeli and Arab authors.

June 26–July 25, 2010
New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656
Written by David Ives
Directed by Jeremy Skidmore
Featuring Alexander Strain as Spinoza, Larry Redmond and Michael Tolaydo with Ethan Bowen, Lauren Culpepper and Brandon McCoy

"In this theological courtroom drama rationalist philosopher and accused apostate Baruch de Spinoza, played by Alexander Strain, faces excommunication from the Jewish community of 1656 Amsterdam. Spinoza is considered to be one of Western philosophy's most important philosophers, laying the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. By putting Spinoza and his radical ideas on trial, the play examines the clash between religion and modernity that Jews, Christians and Muslims are still, some 350 years later, struggling to reconcile."

For more information, visit www.washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/theater-j/.

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