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In accordance with the Edlavitch DCJCC policy, all individuals will be required to show proof of full vaccination each time they enter the EDCJCC.


Beginning on January 26, and running through February 20, 2022, Theater J will bring Compulsion or the House Behind to the stage. Hailed by the New York Times as an "absorbing" and "fascinating, multilayered tale," Compulsion tells the semi-fictional story of Sid Silver, a man obsessed with making sure the world hears the story of Anne Frank.

Compulsion is directed by Associate Artistic Director of Theater J, Johanna Gruenhut, whose past works with the company includes The Red Beads and Actually. The play stars Paul Morella as Sid Silver and Kimberly Gilbert and Marcus Kyd in the roles of 'woman' and 'man'. Compulsion investigates the value of and ownership over the diary of Anne Frank. Is the manuscript a work of art? A cultural treasure? Or simply a valuable product? As Silver fights for the diary's publication and the rights to adapt it into a play, his idealism becomes fanaticism, and his good intention may prove his undoing.

Compulsion is written by Rinne B. Groff and debuted off-Broadway in New York City in 2011. The original production featured Mandy Patinkin in the lead role. The character of Silver is closely modeled on the writer Meyer Levin and his story as the curator of Frank's legacy, detailed in his book "The Obsession." The eponymous author of the world's most famous diary is portrayed in this production by the beautiful puppetry of Matt Acheson. His original puppet designs are now on display at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and Acheson, who was puppetry director for War Horse at Lincoln Center Theater, will be building and performing the puppetry for this production as well.

"Rinne B. Groff's Compulsion or the House Behind is a masterpiece of Jewish theater," says Theater J Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr. "A stunning and wildly original play, it tells a gripping tale of obsession while examining the circumstances around the publication and production of The Diary of Anne Frank. With imaginative and unforgettable puppetry and an inspired-by-life story that will have you at the edge of your seat, Groff's long-awaited DC debut as a playwright is absolutely not to be missed."

Director Johanna Gruenhut, who resides in nearby Baltimore, has long wanted to direct this Compulsion. The play, which had been in the works prior to the beginning of the pandemic, was delayed for a year-and-a-half, and will finally see the stage in 2022.

"Fundamental to this play is its belief that theater can change people's minds," says Gruenhut. "It's good to be back in-person, in a theater, with a message like that."

In accordance with the Edlavitch DCJCC policy, all individuals will be required to show proof of full vaccination each time they enter the EDCJCC by presenting either digital documentation on a smartphone or a physical copy of their vaccination card. Fully vaccinated means either that 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized double-dose vaccine or since receiving the sole dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized single dose vaccine. Individuals with medical or religious exemptions to vaccinations will be required to show proof of a NEGATIVE Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival to the EDCJCC. Mask wearing will be required inside of the building by all people at all times. Only performers and guests invited on stage may be unmasked.

To purchase tickets, please visit or call the ticket office at 202-777-3210. Single ticket prices for regular tickets range from $35-$70. Discount ticket packages are available for three or more plays in Theater J's 2021-22 season, in addition to flex passes.

Performance Information:

Compulsion or the House Behind

By Rinne B. Groff

Directed by Johanna Gruenhut

Starring Paul Morella, Kimberly Gilbert, Marcus Kyd, Matt Acheson and Eirin Stevenson

January 26 - February 20, 2022

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