Theater J Unveils 2023/24 Season: A Tapestry of World Premieres and New Voices
Theater J has unveiled its lineup for the 2023/24 season, which is the inaugural season orchestrated by its newly appointed Artistic Director, Hayley Finn. The season boasts world premieres, the launch of a series of one-person plays, and a wealth of fresh content from rising playwrights in the American theater scene, reinforcing Theater J's standing as a hub for remarkable new productions in Washington, DC, and nationwide. The selection of plays in this season by Finn epitomizes the multifaceted essence of Theater J's vision, concentrating on plays that honor, scrutinize, and grapple with the intricate facets of the Jewish journey and the broader human experience, while also delving into the moral dilemmas of our era, cross-cultural narratives, and the evolving aspects of Jewish identities.
"I am thrilled to present a diversity of plays and modes of theatrical storytelling to Theater J this season through the work of brilliant playwrights, most of whom are new to our audiences," states Theater J Artistic Director, Hayley Finn. "This season we are producing four world premieres and two regional premieres. Sharing new stories with our audience is vital to the theater--it sparks new ideas and allows us to have important conversations. This season asks questions about identity and assimilation, how to define and redefine love, and what we can and cannot know. Characters 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, Jaffa, and Seoul on trains, planes, and through the pages of comic books. These plays celebrate the power of theater, which engages our imagination. I'm looking forward to the conversations that we can have around these inspiring new works."
"Theater J's mission, now in its fourth decade, remains as crucial as ever," expresses Theater J Managing Director David Lloyd Olson. "Last week, I spoke with a teenager visiting from Rhode Island who shared how twice in the past year she had been bullied and harassed for being Jewish. Theater J will continue to celebrate the Jewish experience and directly challenge the rise in hate speech by inviting cross-cultural conversation through the work on our stage and in the post-show conversations with our audience."
Here's a glimpse into Theater J's 2023-2024 offerings:
The Chameleon by Jenny Rachel Weiner (October 11 - November 6, 2023) Directed by Ellie Heyman
Set during Jewish Christmas with Chinese takeout as the centerpiece, The Chameleon is an uproarious world premiere that focuses on actor Riz Golden-Kruger, who has landed the lead role in a new superhero franchise. However, when a leak threatens to derail her career, Riz must choose between hiding or standing her ground. The play is a wild ride, propelled by social media, dealing with identity, representation, and the complexities of cultural integration.
Here I Am - a trio of solo powerhouse performances (November 15, 2023 - January 14, 2024)
Theater J presents, for the first time, a compilation of three distinctive one-person plays that delve into a tragicomic tale set during the Covid era, a soul-searching expedition, and a quest to find a birth mother.
See You Tomorrow, by Iris Bahr (November 15 - November 22, 2023)
In this heart-rending autobiographical piece by acclaimed comedian and actor Iris Bahr, a mother-daughter relationship unfurls as they communicate via WhatsApp during the Covid pandemic. When the mother faces a crisis, Iris is forced to manage the dire situation virtually before making a sudden move across the globe to care for her mother.
Moses by Michele Lowe (December 1 - December 24, 2023) Directed by Johanna Gruenhut
Michele Lowe's Moses takes us on the epic journey of a man seeking forgiveness and self-discovery after losing everything. This world premiere, shortlisted for the Theater J Vradenburg New Jewish Play Prize, delves into faith, love, and the pursuit of dreams.
How to Be a Korean Woman, by Sun Mee Chomet (January 4 - January 14, 2024) Directed and dramaturgical guidance by Zaraawar Mistry
Sun Mee Chomet's hilarious and poignant one-woman show narrates the journey of a Korean-American adoptee in search of her birth family in Seoul. The play uses text, music, and movement to explore family, love, and the quest for heritage.
This Much I Know by Jonathan Spector (January 31 - February 25, 2024) Directed by Hayley Finn
A psychological drama examining choice and understanding, This Much I Know unravels during a lecture as a professor's marriage falls apart. The characters embark on a quest for self-discovery, inspired by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's research on decision-making.
Hester Street, a play with music by Sharyn Rothstein, 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)
In this much-anticipated world premiere, Hester Street paints the story of Gitl, a young Jewish immigrant navigating the chaos of 19th-century Lower East Side, as she reunites with her husband who has fully embraced his American life, contrasting with her traditional values.
The Hatmaker's Wife by Lauren Yee (June 5 - June 30, 2024) Directed by Dan Rothenberg
A blend of magic and realism, The Hatmaker's Wife is a contemporary fable about love and discovery. When a young woman moves in with her boyfriend, the house itself comes alive to help her settle in, leading to a heartwarming journey that redefines home, family, and love.
For further details on the season and to buy subscriptions or tickets, visit theaterj.org or contact the ticket office at 202-777-3210.