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Theater J Launches Israeli Theater Collection, Commissions A New Play By Aaron Posner, and Expands Classes

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A slate of innovative online programming will continue through the winter and spring of 2021.

Theater J, the nation's largest and most prominent Jewish theater cancels all previously scheduled in-person programming through May 2021 due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A slate of innovative online programming will continue through the winter and spring of 2021. The new and expanded initiatives include the Israeli Theater Collection, a newly commissioned adaptation by Aaron Posner of Sholem Aleichem's Tevye stories, three new Yiddish Theater Lab readings, a public reading of the Theater J Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize winner Abomination by Nicole Cox, and new Classes for Theater Lovers.

As the Washington, DC region continues to work toward recovery, Theater J will focus on virtual programming, placing the highest priority on protecting the health and safety of its audience, artists, and staff. Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story by Hannah Moscovitch, Ben Caplan, and Christian Barry and The Red Beads by Rinne Groff will not be produced in the spring of 2021 as previously scheduled. Nathan the Wise by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, adapted by Michael Bloom, was to be produced in association with the Folger Theater, and both companies look forward to staging that production in the 2021/2022 Season.

"This is a devastating moment for the theater industry, and particularly for the artists and technicians whose work is the center of what we do," says Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr. "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 theater-makers as instructors in our Classes for Theater Lovers, and share exquisite and startling productions from the thriving Israeli theater community."

"The silver lining of the past nine months is that we have connected to new communities across the country and around the world," adds Managing Director Jojo Ruf. "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's newest initiative is the Israeli Theater Collection, high quality streaming videos of Israeli theater productions with English-language captions that will be available for audiences to rent. Theater J is partnering with top Israeli companies to provide exclusive access to audiences across North America for the first time. The Israeli Theater Collection will be available starting in early 2021.

As part of Theater J's signature Yiddish Theater Lab, Theater J has commissioned award-winning artist 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. Throughout the spring of 2021, Theater J will also present three free Yiddish Theater Lab readings via Zoom, including the development of a new piece by local playwright Renee Calarco. Details and dates to follow.

Theater J will continue its successful Classes for Theater Lovers, an initiative directed at general audience members to allow them to deepen their knowledge and explore new aspects of theater. Since March, Theater J has offered 32 classes online, and will offer another 20 anticipated through the 2020/2021 season taught by top-tier theater artists including Aaron Posner, Craig Wallace, Howard Shalwitz, and Seema Sueko.

Details and registration here.


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