The Washington Post

April 25, 2007
By Jane Horwitz

A play featuring actor Robert Prosky and sons and the premiere of a musical about King David are among the highlights of Theater J's coming season at the D.C. Jewish Community Center (16th and Q streets NW). Artistic Director Ari Roth points out that May 2008 is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, and the biblical tale "will launch more Middle East- and Israel-related programming," including a summer festival.

? Jerry Whiddon will direct a revival of "Speed-the-Plow" (Oct. 18-Nov. 25), David Mamet's evisceration of Hollywood ethics, using a script Mamet updated for a recent Los Angeles production. The cast will include cousins Matthew Arkin (son of Alan, brother of Adam) and Peter Birkenhead.

? Klezmer musical "Schlemiel the First" (Dec. 18, 2007-Jan. 13, 2008), adapted from Isaac Bashevis Singer's play by Robert Brustein, with music by Hankus Netsky and Zalman Mlotek and lyrics by Arnold Weinstein, will receive a full-fledged production after a successful concert staging this past season. Nick Olcott will direct; Donna Migliaccio and Dan Manning are among the cast.

? Stand-up comic and actress Judy Gold's off-Broadway solo piece "25 Questions for a Jewish Mother" (Jan. 23-Feb. 24, 2008) attempts to explain why Jewish mothers are in a category by themselves. Gold plays 25 different people in the course of the piece, based on her and playwright Kate Moira Ryan's interviews of Jewish women.

? "The Price" (March 8-April 18, 2008), Arthur Miller's classic American play starring Robert Prosky and sons Andrew and John, will be directed by Michael Carleton of Cape May Stage in New Jersey, where the Proskys will perform the play in January before bringing it here.

? The musical "David in Shadow and Light" (May 6-June 22, 2008), with a libretto by Yehuda Hyman ("The Mad Dancers"), music by klezmer violinist Daniel Hoffman and direction by Nick Olcott, will feature Bobby Smith as Israel's King Saul in the first act and the older King David in the second.

? The musical will provide a segue into next July's More Voices From a Changing Middle East festival. Projects have not been chosen for it yet. This summer's Voices From a Changing Middle East festival, which will coincide with the Capital Fringe Festival, will open with the English-language premiere of Israeli playwright Motti Lerner's "Pangs of the Messiah" (June 23-July 22), about Israeli settlers on the West Bank. Sinai Peter will direct. Also on the bill is David Zellnik's new play, "Ariel Sharon Hovers Between Life and Death and Dreams of Theodore Herzl" (July 20-29). Roth calls it "one of the most provocative plays written about Zionism." John Vreeke will direct.

? Throughout the year, Theater J will present an Incubator Series of workshops and readings of new works, starting with "Accident" (Sept. 6-23), a performance piece by Amy Ziff of the band Betty.


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