About Theater J
THEATER J LEADERSHIP
Ari Roth (Playwright, Artistic Director)
Ari Roth has served as Artistic Director of Theater J for 16 seasons where, together with a dedicated staff, he has produced 112 full productions, including 38 English language world premieres, and many more workshop presentations. As a playwright, plays include Born Guilty, based on the book by Peter Sichrovsky, commissioned and produced by Arena Stage (directed by Zelda Fichandler), nominated for the 1992 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play and, ten years later, nominated for Outstanding Resident Production for its 2002 Theater J revival (directed by John Vreeke, nominated for Outstanding Director). The play enjoyed an extended, sold-out run Off-Broadway in 1993 at the American Jewish Theatre (directed by Jack Gelber) and an 8 month run at A Red Orchid Theatre in Chicago (directed by Shira Piven), transferring to The Famous Door Theatre, and has been produced widely around the country and broadcast on NPR's "Chicago Theatre On The Air" and "The Studs Terkel Show."
Its sequel, The Wolf In Peter, has been produced at Theater J and at Jewish Theatre of the South and, fused together with Born Guilty into a single evening, workshopped and presented at Epic Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Museum of Jewish Heritage, and most recently in Berlin by the Play2C company, where his play Terminal Connection was produced at English Theatre of Berlin. Other produced work includes Oh, The Innocents (winner of the Clifford Davy Award at GeVa Theatre, directed by Joe Mantello, subsequently expanded to include 10 original songs, produced at Theater J), Goodnight Irene (commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club, produced at The Performance Network in Ann Arbor, directed by Gilbert McCauley, and at Theater J, directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner), Love And Yearning In The Not For Profits (directed by Joe Banno, Helen Hayes nominated,) Life In Refusal (Charles MacArthur Award nomination, Wendy C. Goldberg, director), The Seagull On 16th Street (John Vreeke, director), Still Waiting (companion to Waiting For Lefty, co-written by Adam McKay and Shira Piven, also director), Remaking A Melting Pot (Brandeis University, A Spiral Weld (Pace University, Van Gogh Passion (co-author with Michael Patrick King, InterAct), and the one-acts Staff Meeting (I & II), The Great White Undulating Orb In The Bed Between Us, Jeffrey Slugworth: Ex-Embalmer, Happy Break Up, The Red Guitar, The Art Of Our Necessities and A Purim Spiel For Joseph Papp.
His plays have been published by Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service Smith and Kraus, and anthologized in “Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays.” He is a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts playwriting grant, three-time winner of the Helen Eisner Award (including one for an earlier version of our play tonight), four time recipient of new play commissions from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, two-time winner of the Avery Hopwood for Drama from the University of Michigan (his alma mater), and recipient of the Myrtle Wreath Award from Hadassah. He was named one of The Forward 50 in 2009, and has taught for the University of Michigan for many years, currently for its “Michigan in Washington” program, as well as for Brandeis, NYU and Carnegie Mellon Universities.
Rebecca Ende (Managing Director)
Before stepping into the role of Managing Director, Rebecca worked in arts marketing as Director of Marketing and Communications for Sitar Arts Center, Director of Marketing and Communications for three seasons at Theater J and Marketing Associate at Ford’s Theatre. She is also the President of the Board of Forum Theatre and served as a Helen Hayes Judge for four years. She holds an M.A. in Arts Administration from Columbia University and a Certificate in Budgeting and Finance from Georgetown University. Rebecca is a member of the 2012-13 Future Executive Director’s fellowship class of the Nonfprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington.
Delia Taylor (Associate Producer)
Delia has worked at Washington area theaters as an actor, director, stage manager, technician and production manager for over two decades. She directed the world premieres of There Are No Strangers and Sleeping Arrangements at Theater J. She has served as a regular guest artist at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Indiana and teaches and directs for The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts. She was honored with Theatre Lobby’s Mary Goldwater Award (for her performance in WSC’s Metamorphosis) and an Offstage Award from the League of Washington Theatres for her work at Theater J.
Shirley Serotsky (Associate Artistic Director)
Shirley is the Associate Artistic Director at Theater J, where she directed the 2010 production of Mikveh, and the 2009 production of The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall (which received a 2009 Helen Hayes Nomination for Best New Play). She began her theater education as a performance major in the musical theater program at the University of Michigan, but soon detoured into directing which she studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts. After graduation she moved to New York, where she worked at the Women’s Project and Productions; interned for the Cherry Lane Theater; and was employed as an editorial assistant for a Jewish organization. In August 2001 she moved to Washington, DC to fulfill a nine-month Kenan Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts.
There she worked as an assistant director and dramaturg on several productions. Since 2002 she has worked as a freelance director and dramaturg in the Washington, DC area and beyond, directing for the Source Festival, Theater Alliance, Catalyst Theater, Rorschach Theater, Catholic University, the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Journeymen Theater, and on several out-of-town productions, including at the Humana Festival of New Plays at Actors Theater of Louisville. She has taught young people and adults at The Actor’s Center, the Musical Theater Center, and Theater Lab. She co-founded Bouncing Ball Theatrical Productions with Shawn Northrip (which aims to develop and produce new and innovative musical theater works). Training: BFA, North Carolina School of the Arts. Member of The 2002 Designer/Director Workshop with Ming Cho Lee and the 2003 Lincoln Center Director's Lab.
Molly Winston (Director of Community Outreach and New Media)
Molly is excited to join the Theater J team. Molly grew up in Baltimore, MD and recently returned to the area from Vancouver, Canada where she previously worked for the Chutzpah! Festival of International Jewish Performing Arts/Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre and for the Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia, as their Education Coordinator and then their Interim Director. She received her BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, Molly is an accomplished painter and printmaker, previously holding adjunct faculty positions at the Malaspina Printmakers Society and the University of Pennsylvania.
Grace Overbeke (Director of Marketing and Communications)
Grace is thrilled to join the Theater J team. She has worked in the literary departments of The Studio Theatre in Washington, DC; Portland Stage Company in Portland, ME and the Cleveland Play House in Cleveland, OH. She studied Theatre and English at Oxford University and Wesleyan University, where she wrote her High - Honors Thesis on American Female Jewish Comediennes.
Erin Shannahan (Director of Patron Services)
Erin comes to Theater J from Ford’s Theatre, where she served in a double capacity as a Visitor Services Associate and as Administration and Operations Intern. While at Ford’s, in addition to providing historical interpretation, addressing customer concerns, and cooperating with the National Park Service to operate the popular tourist site, she also assisted with audience outreach programs including gallery guides for students of all ages, and helped create and launch a new audio-guide program in the site’s museum. Other past credits include Dramaturg at the American Century Theater for their productions of Stalag 17 and Treadwell: Bright and Dark; Marketing Intern for Theater of the First Amendment; and Camp Counselor and Assistant Director at the American Shakespeare Center’s residential theater camp for teens. She holds a Master of Arts in Arts Management from George Mason University, and her Bachelor of Arts in English with a Theatre minor from the College of William and Mary, for which degree she created and executed an independent study course on the works of playwright Tom Stoppard.
Alice Magelssen (Development Associate)
(202) 777- 3225
Alice Magelssen is pleased to join the administrative team at Theater J. Previously, she worked as a Development Assistant at Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) and as the administrative intern at A Red Orchid Theater in Chicago. She is also a stage manager. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago.
Naomi Robin (Casting Director)
Naomi performed for many years as a stage actress in New York and across North America. Some years ago, she moved into voice-over work exclusively, with such clients as PBS, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, AFL-CIO and the National Park Service. Since then, her voice has been heard on thousands of TV and radio spots, including a host of political ads. More recently, she has also returned to her theatrical roots through work with Theater J, the Sprenger-Lang national playwriting competition, the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and the Helen Hayes Awards.
Thomas Howley (Technical Director)
Tom holds a BFA from Central Michigan University and a MFA from The Catholic University of America. While pursuing two degrees in acting, Tom did extensive tech work on the side as an electrician and stage carpenter, which has served him well over the intervening years. After spending fifteen years working happily in the dinner theater community, Tom is now in his sixth season at Theater J where he has had the opportunity to implement the artistic vision of such noted designers as Tony Cisek, James Kronzer, Louis Fulden, Daniel Ettinger, and Dan Conway. The addition of a fine scene shop space in Beltsville last season has had a marked- though subtle- effect in what can be achieved onstage, and has improved the eternal time/budget challenges.