Richard Greenberg Crashes Capote's Ball in World Premiere, Bal Masque, in Busy Season for D.C.'s Theater J

News   Richard Greenberg Crashes Capote's Ball in World Premiere, Bal Masque, in Busy Season for D.C.'s Theater J
Theater J, the resident Equity company in Washington, D.C., devoted to Jewish themes and voices, will present no less than three world premieres in its 2005-06 season — including a new work by the prolific Richard Greenberg.
Richard Greenberg
Richard Greenberg Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The author of the Tony Award-winning Take Me Out will see two of his new works in Manhattan in the coming season — the New York premiere of A Naked Girl on the Appian Way for Roundabout Theatre Company on Broadway, the world premiere of The House in Town for Lincoln Center Theater Off-Broadway — and will be represented at D.C.'s Theater J with the premiere his Bal Masque in April 2006.

(For those who are counting Greenberg's new-works tally, Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago will stage the world premiere of Greenberg's The Well-Appointed Room, directed by Terry Kinney, in January 2006. This makes at least three world premieres in the coming season.)

John Vreeke will stage Bal Masque, which is billed this way: "In the early morning hours after Truman Capote's famous Black and White Ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966, Greenberg places three couples on an emotional fault line as the shifting tectonic plates of American society are about to collide. As an ineffectual gaggle of anti-war protesters decry the frivolity of their times outside the hotel, Greenberg's celebrity-obsessed revelers yearn for change and for affection, although not necessarily from their partners."

Performances play April 5-May 21, 2005, at Theater J's home in the DCJCC, where Ari Roth is the artistic director.

* Also premiering in the coming season at Theater J is a new adaptation of S. Anski's The Dybbuk, a co-production with Synetic Theatre. Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili will appear in the new version, written by Hannah Hessel and Paata Tsikurishvili. Choreography is by Irina Tsikurishvili.

The century-old tale of "ill-fated lovers, a transmigration of souls, exorcisms and cruel class snobbery" is "theatrically reconceived in a production fusing Georgian-Jewish dramatic tradition with breathtakingly modern dance movement." It will run Feb. 11-March 19, 2006.

The third world premiere is Ariel Dorfman's Picasso's Closet, directed by John Dillon, in performances playing June 21-July 23, 2006. Mitchell Hébert will play the famed modern artist in this play by the author of Death and the Maiden. The work is billed as a "prismatic biography" of the painter's time in Vichy France. The "What If…?" plot asks, "What if Picasso didn't die in 1973, but was murdered by the Germans in 1944?" And, "What if it wasn't Picasso's body that was murdered, but rather his soul, more insidiously, that was mortally compromised?" The play promises an examination of "dilemmas encountered by the artist when confronted by terror…"

The Theater J season opens Aug. 31-Oct. 2 with the respected Theodore Bikel in Hyam Maccoby's The Disputation directed by Nick Olcott. It features Edward Gero, Naomi Jacobson, John Lescault and Andrew Long in a play set in 13th century Spain, when "a morally compromised King James is compelled by the Pope to convert the Jews of Spain by way of a historic series of debates." Bikel will play Nachmanides, who defends the Jews in this "powerful reconstruction of one of the most fascinating though ultimately tragic encounters between Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages."

Jacquelyn Reingold's String Fever, directed by Peg Denithorne, plays Oct. 27-Nov. 27. In it, "Lily juggles life's big issues: turning 40, artificial insemination and the elusive fundamentals of Sting Theory. Searching for ties in a cosmos of disconnection, Lily, a former concert violinist, becomes obsessed with particle vibration, quantum mechanics, and Einstein's Theory of General Relativity as her personal universe collides with an Icelandic comedian in rehab, a wisecracking best buddy languishing in Iowa , a cat-loving physicist, and an ex-boyfriend who carries around a chair."

Theater J performs in the Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater at the Washington DCJCC, 1529 Sixteenth Street, NW (at Q Street). For more information about Theater J, visit

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