The show, he said, pulls in everyone from “People in Christmas sweaters and Santa hats” to “people who come and say, ‘I hate Christmas.’ Which, if nothing else, means there’s something in it for everyone.” It resonates with a wide enough audience, Griffiths said, that they’ve already extended the run: though slated to end on Dec. 24, the show will continue through New Year’s Eve.
Through Dec. 31 at the Shop- Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW, www.cityartisticpartnerships.org. 202-213-2474.
Under new management
Rebecca Ende is Theater J’s new managing director, but she doesn’t really feel new at all. After spending three years as the theater’s director of marketing and communications, she became president of the board of Forum Theater, a position she held for two years. Her hiring is more of a homecoming.
“This feels like my artistic home in a lot of ways,” said Ende. “I’ve stayed really connected to the company, even while I wasn’t working here . . . I’ve seen every show they’ve done.”
In January, Ende will oversee the launch of the Locally Grown Festival. Anchored by “The Religion Thing,” written by Renee Calarco, the festival will feature work by local playwrights.
“We’re really talking a lot about grounding our play development in the local writers of the region,” Ende said. “There’s 200-something local playwrights working actively, and that work is rarely seen on the stages of the D.C. theater scene.”
She anticipates that issues that have troubled Theater J in the past — notably, as she described, “Theater J’s ongoing challenges [with] wanting to explore the spectrum of Middle East drama and perspective coming out of that region” — will continue to be tricky territory to navigate. “[It’s] obviously a politically delicate situation,” she said.
As The Post’s Peter Marks wrote in August, an organization called Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art asked that the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington consider cutting funding for Theater J, asserting that the theater’s production of “Return to Haifa” “demonize[d] Israel and the Jewish people” by, as Marks wrote, “dramatiz[ing] the exile stories of Jews and Palestinians as somehow being intertwined.” Tensions ran high, though the previous season was the most highly attended at Theater J to date.
Ende acknowledged, “People tend to fall to extremes on these issues . . . and people can perceive, ‘If you’re not presenting my side, you don’t support what I believe in.’ ”