Artistic directors of major theater companies from across the country on Monday signed this open letter to the DC Jewish Community Center:
“We, the undersigned artistic directors, are outraged by the action of the JCC in Washington, D.C. in summarily dismissing the long-serving artistic director of Theater J, Ari Roth, on the morning of December 18.
The stated cause was “insubordination” and it is absolutely clear that Roth was fired because of the content of the work he has so thoughtfully and ably championed for the last two decades.
Ari Roth is a capable, brilliant and inspiring leader of the American non-profit theater. The actions of the JCC, in terminating him for blatantly political reasons, violate the principles of artistic freedom and free expression that have been at the heart of the non-profit theater movement for over half a century. Such actions undermine the freedom of us all.
A free people need a free art; debate, dissent and conflict are at the heart of what makes theater work, and what makes democracy possible. We deplore the action of the JCC, offer our complete support for Ari Roth, urge the American theater community to protest these events in all possible ways, and call upon the full board of the JCC to renounce this action of the executive committee of the JCC.”
The letter is signed by:
Andre Bishop, Lincoln Center Theater; Anne Bogart, SITI Company; Art Rotch, Perseverance Theater; Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe; Bill Rauch, Oregon Shakespeare Festival; BJ Jones, Northlight Theater; Blanka Zizka, The Wilma Theater; Braden Abraham, Seattle Repertory Theatre; Brian Kulick, Classic Stage Company; Carey Perloff, American Conservatory Theater; Charles Newell, Court Theatre; Chay Yew, Victory Gardens Theater; Chris Coleman, Portland Center Stage; Christopher Ashley, La Jolla Playhouse; Curt Columbus, Trinity Repertory Theatre; Darko Tresjnak, Hartford Stage; David Herskovits, Target Margin Theater; David Ira Goldstein, Arizona Theatre Company; Emily Mann, McCarter Theatre; Eric Rosen, Kansas City Repertory Theatre; Gordon Edelstein, Long Wharf Theatre; Gregory Boyd, Alley Theatre; Howard Shalwitz, Woolly Mammoth Theatre; James Bundy, Yale Repertory Theatre; Jamil Khoury, Silk Road Rising; Jasson Minadakis, Marin Theatre Company; Jeffrey Horowitz, Theater for a New Audience; Jeremy Cohen, The Playwrights’ Center; Jim Houghton, Signature Theatre (New York); Jim Nicola, New York Theatre Workshop; Joe Dowling, Guthrie Theatre; Johanna Pfaelzer, New York Stage and Film; John Eisner, Lark Play Development Center; Jonathan Moscone, California Shakespeare Theater; Joseph Haj, PlayMakers Repertory Company; Kent Thompson, Denver Center Theatre; Kevin Moriarty, Dallas Theater Center; Kurt Beattie, ACT Theatre; Kwame Kwei-Armah, CenterStage; Les Waters, Actors Theatre of Louisville; Martha Lavey, Steppenwolf Theatre; Melanie Joseph, The Foundry Theatre; Mia Katigbak, National Asian American Theatre Company; Michael Kahn, Shakespeare Theatre Company; Michael Ritchie, Center Theatre Group; Michael John Garces, Cornerstone Theater Company; Michelle Hensley, Ten Thousand Things; Moises Kaufman, Tectonic Theater Project; Neil Pepe, Atlantic Theater Company; Oskar Eustis, Public Theater; Patrick Dooley, Shotgun Players; Peter Brosius, Children’s Theatre Company; Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Contemporary Arts Center; Ralph Pena, Ma-Yi Theater Company; Rob Melrose, Cutting Ball Theatre; Robert Falls, Goodman Theatre; Sarah Benson, Soho Rep; Susan Booth, Woodruff Arts Center; Tim Sanford, Playwrights Horizons; Tony Taccone, Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Wendy Goldberg, National Playwrights Conference, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center