Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing

Program Notes From the Artistic Director, Ari Roth

We welcome that Grande Dame of All Media, Ms. Sandra Bernhard, to kick-off Theater J’s new season in high style!  And we welcome her just as we received the towering Judy Gold last winter, and the zany Amy Ziff before that, along with that comic chameleon, Sherry Glaser, and the rock ‘n roll rejoicings of BETTY who got us started on this beautiful programming groove back in 2005. 

Yes, we’ve been drawing inspiration from talented, kick-ass Jewish women behaving bawdily and brilliantly for a while now and in so doing, we’ve tapped into a tradition of letting the Jewess have run of the household, setting things straight, making us feel both at home and on guard, insisting on being heard and, through it all, spreading the love (and a bit of fear).  Much as Sandra represents a link in the chain of amazingly audacious comic actresses, there’s something wholly unique about her too.  Chanteuse, cultural critic, pop phenomenon, and best girlfriend, she is, most importantly for our purposes, the niece of Jack and writer Faye Moskowitz, fixtures here at the 16th Street J and around town.  Sandra’s back in DC amongst friends and family, reigniting a show that launched her star into orbit some twenty years ago.   And she’s the perfect artist to lauch a wholly new kind of season for us at Theater J; hard-hitting, provocative, full of international cachet, and radical honesty. 

Sandra teaches her own brand of Liberation Theology and she preaches the gospel of loving oneself for all one’s underappreciated assets.  She is a walking, strutting, slinking, singing definition of the word Pride: Gay Pride, Jewish Pride, Flint Michigan Pride, and Proud to Still Be Kicking Butt in the Biz Pride. 

Let’s take a little moment for some Theater J Pride too.  What kind of awesome theater company is this that can host an act like Sandra and her amazing band, the Rebellious Jezebels, and then follow it up with a bracing, season-opening world premiere about a Serbian perpetrator stuck in a Bosnian kitchen with an awesome and unasked for responsibility, like in Stefanie Zadravec’s Honey Brown Eyes?  All this fall we’ll be talking about Ethics and War and the choices we’re all forced to confront in a series of related readings, panels and peace cafes as we invite you to come back for thrilling theater and tough debate. 

From Sandra, to Theo Bikel, to Voices From A Changing Middle East,  with a hysterical comedy and a  revved up classic too, it’s the most exciting season we’ve ever presented.   We’re so happy to have you and Sandra with us in our theater.  She’s just what we all need right now, don’t ya think?   And guess what?  So are you!

-Ari Roth