The first chapter of playwright Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical trilogy about coming-of-age in Brooklyn, N.Y., is staged.
In its first 10 years, Theater J, the professional theater group of the D.C. Jewish Community Center, has developed a solid reputation for producing thought-provoking plays. What's more, the quality of the offerings seems to get better and better under Artistic Director Ari Roth. In his first five years with the company, Roth expanded its involvement with the rest of the Washington theater community; recent seasons, for instance, have included joint projects with Rorschach Theatre, the Stanislavsky Theater Studio and Woolly Mammoth. A playwright himself, Roth has instituted series programming so that plays linked by themes are scheduled over a period of months. These series have explored such themes as "Voices From a Changing Israel," which brought David Hare's "Via Dolorosa" to D.C.; "Sex and Guilt in the Jewish Theater"; and "American-Moscow Fusion," which included Roth's own "Life in Refusal."
Performances are in the 238-seat Cecile Goldman Theater in the D.C. Jewish Community Center. The steeply raked audience floor results in all 218 seats of the orchestra section having clear views; the remaining 20 side-balcony seats have a highly angled view. There are no Friday night performances or Saturday matinees.
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