Four regional premieres and three comedies mark 2018-2019 season
As the New Jewish Theatre closes out the first season of our third decade, it’s time to make a few changes. So the upcoming 2018-19 Season includes many things that are NEW for the New Jewish Theatre. This includes a new season where four of the five shows are regional premieres which have only been performed a handful of times. Three of the five are comedies.
In addition to a full plate of new and exciting productions, NJT has made some exciting changes to our subscription model. This will allow more people to take advantage of the cost savings and flexibility of being a New Jewish Theatre subscriber by offering more options for scheduling.
This year patrons will have the opportunity to purchase a FLEX PASS. This is a five ticket package that can be used any way the ticket holder likes. The Flex Pass can be used to purchase five tickets for a single show or any other configuration of the five tickets (e.g. two tickets to one show, three tickets to another). Offering even more flexibility, Flex Pass holders can decide at the last minute how they want to use their tickets. Flex Pass only holders can exchange from one production to another. As in the past, NJT will offer our regular five show package as a subscription with one ticket to each of the five productions.
Also new this year is a small but significant change in our scheduling. Each show will run for three weeks. Two of the weeks will have Wednesday, Thursday,Saturday and Sunday performances. The third week will offer the option of a Friday performance rather than a Wednesday.
As for the new season, New Jewish Theatre will offer five wonderful productions, four of which are brand new to St. Louis, and in fact to the Midwest. Having established ourselves as the Premier Small Professional Theatre in St. Louis, the productions are presented at the highest level of artistic excellence. The 2018-19 Season will continue the tradition of Award-winning theatre.
The season opens in October with an adaptation of the book by celebrity Chef Rossi, The Raging Skillet. Rossi was a guest of the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival in 2015 and was a huge hit as she recalled growing up Orthodox with a mother who cooked everything in the microwave. In trying to separate herself from that history, Rossi ended up making a niche for herself in the New York catering world. The play, “Raging Skillet,” a very funny adaptation, is set as a combination Book launch and cooking demo. Dates are October 3 – 22 and Lee Anne Mathews directs. (NJT Artistic Director Emeritus, Kathleen Sitzer, will portray Rossi’s Jewish mother.)
NJT’s December production is David Javerbaum’s “An Act of God.” In the play and after many millennia, and in just 90 minutes, God (assisted by His devoted angels) answers some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation including delivering a new and improved set of Commandments. The play is deliriously funny with Javerbaum’s radical rewrite of the Ten Commandments and God’s introduction of revised laws. “It is clever and even refreshingly positive, insisting on the separation of church and state and encouraging us to believe in ourselves, rather than some elderly white guy in the sky” (Time Out NY). The show, directed by Edward Coffield, will run November 28 – December 16.
Aaron Posner who adapted Chekhov for the current season finale, is back again in January with a variation on Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.” His “District Merchants” is set in post-Civil War, Washington DC and the characters are Jews and African-Americans. Jacqueline Thompson directs this play about love and litigation, deep passions, and predatory lending. They are taken to a new level in this uneasy comedy, which wades fearlessly into the endless complexities and contradictions of life in America. It is a remarkable tale of money, merchandise, and mercy, exploring race, religion, power and money in America that feels all too contemporary. It will run Jan 23 – Feb 10.
April brings a new concept to NJT programming. We are offering a production we are calling our Tikkun Olam play, a play that deals with the very Jewish issue of repairing the world. That play for the 2018-19 Season is Donald Maruglies’ “Time Stands Still” set for production March 27 – April 14 under the direction of Doug Finlayson. The play revolves around Sarah, a photo journalist just returned from covering the Iraq war after being injured by a roadside bomb, and her reporter boyfriend James who is swamped by guilt after having left Sarah alone in Iraq. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life. Can they stay together amidst unspoken betrayals and conflicting ideals? Margulies answers these questions, while leaving unanswered qualms regarding the way America deals with war and tragedy coverage.
The Season closer is a wonderful comedy from last year’s Humana Festival of New Plays by Tasha Gordon-Solmon, “I Now Pronounce.” And yes, it is exactly what you think, a wedding – a Jewish one at that. After Adam and Nicole’s wedding culminates in an awkwardly timed fatality, the reception spins into mayhem and an increasingly strange evening. But there’s no stopping the festivities: the flower girls are running amuck, the bridal party members are preoccupied with their own flailing relationships, and everyone needs to stop ordering the blue drinks. Comedies end in marriage. Tragedies end in death. This play begins with both. The play, directed by Edward Coffield runs May 15 – June 2.
Flex Pass memberships and Season tickets are available beginning May 1 for the five productions of the 2018-19 Season. Single tickets will be available beginning August 15 for all shows through the box office, 314-442-3283 or online at newjewishtheatre.org.