Bernhard, Bikel and Three World Premieres to Play Theater J in DC

News   Bernhard, Bikel and Three World Premieres to Play Theater J in DC
Theater J, the Washington, DC, company known for new plays that are part of a Jewish cultural tradition, has announced its 2008-09 season, to include three world premieres.

The season begins with an engagement of Sandra Bernhard's "electrifying fusion of satire, cabaret, and sizzling rock 'n' roll," Without You I'm Nothing, Sept. 9-28.

The season will end in June 2009 with The Seagull on 16th Street by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Ari Roth, based on a translation by Carol Rocamora, directed by John Vreeke, June 17-July 19, 2009.

According to Theater J, "Youth is envied, challenged and mortally wounded in this classic by the great Russian master. Inspired by Louis Malle's 'Vanya on 42nd Street,' our own 16th Street provides the stage for a journey back to the Russian countryside in this tale of love and loss, with laughs and heartbreak." Alexander Strain will be featured in the cast.

Theater J's three world premieres will be:

  • Honey Brown Eyes by Stefanie Zadravec, directed by Jessica Lefkow, featuring Alexander Strain, Oct. 22-Nov. 30: "Bosnia, 1992. In two kitchens, two soldiers recover a little of what they've lost during the war. A Serbian paramilitary officer confronts the woman he once adored and is faced with a terrible choice, while a member of the Bosnian resistance takes refuge in what he thinks is an abandoned apartment. Unlikely partnerships emerge in this play of horror, humanity, and stunning relevance."
  • Theodore Bikel in Sholom Aleicheim: Laughter Through Tears, a play with music, written and performed by Theodore Bikel, directed by Derek Goldman, musical direction by Tamara Brooks, Dec. 17, 2008-Jan. 11, 2009: "This great theatrical legend returns to Theater J after his titanic roles in The Disputation and Shylock, to unveil the world premiere of this movingly delivered, beautifully sung show about the pioneering 19th-century author Sholom Aleichem. Told with warmth, humor and a rich catalogue of Yiddish music in a major event not to be missed."
  • The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall by Sam Forman, directed by Shirley Serotsky, April 16-May 24, 2009: "Henry's a hungry librettist with a great idea and the moxie to pull it off. But complications ensue as he betrays his loved ones securing the rights to Woody Allen's famous film. The closer he get to his dreams, the more havoc he wreaks. A hilarious tale about skyscraper ambitions in a celebrity-driven town." Alexander Strain is featured. The season also features the series "Voices From a Changing Middle East: A Festival," which includes productions and related events.

    The "Voices" lineup includes:

  • The Accident by Hillel Mitelpunkt, directed by Sinai Peter (English language premiere), translated by David Berkoff, Feb. 4-March 8, 2009: "A fatal accident leaves a Chinese foreign worker dead and no one to accept responsibility. Two couples' lives unravel, their indiscretions revealed, as a daughter discovers their hidden secret."
  • Dai (Enough), written and performed by Iris Bahr, originally directed Off-Broadway by Will Pomerantz, Jan. 14-18, 2009: "Fresh from its heralded Off-Broadway run, the Israeli-American comic chameleon, Iris Bahr (of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm') leads us into the colorful world of a Tel Aviv café and the lives of eleven inhabitants from every strata of Israeli society only minutes before a terrible calamity."
  • The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv's production of Plonter (Tangle), co-written and directed by Yael Ronen, March 14-29, 2009: "Nine Israeli Arabs and Jews create a scathing, satirical tale of lives bound up in each other in the shadow of the security wall. A hit production from the heralded Israeli company that brought its acclaimed Hamlet to DC last year." Theater J's home is the 236-seat Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, 1524 16th Street, in Washington, DC. Its leadership includes artistic director Ari Roth and managing director Patricia Jenson.

    For more information visit


    According to its mission statement, Theater J "produces thought-provoking, publicly engaged, personal, passionate and entertaining plays and musicals that celebrate the distinctive urban voice and social vision that are part of the Jewish cultural legacy. Acclaimed as one of the nation's premiere playwrights theatres, Theater J is a nurturing home for the development and production of new work by major writers and emerging artists exploring many of the pressing moral and political issues of our time."

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