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Theater J picks 7 playwrights to diversify portrayal of Jewishness on stage

Theater J, the nation’s largest and most distinguished Jewish theater, pronounces the number of seven Increasing the Canon commissioned playwrights who over the following two and a half years will create new full-length performs that thematically and visually middle ethnically and racially numerous Jewish narratives. This system seeks to appropriate and broaden the traditionally restricted portrayals of Jewishness on levels within the US and around the globe.

After receiving submissions from 82 writers, Theater J creative employees interviewed finalists and chosen the seven playwrights who will obtain a $10,000 fee and a $5,000 developmental price range that can be utilized for readings, workshops, analysis, and journey over the following two and a half years.

This system kicked off August 28-30 with a three-day intensive Beit Midrash (studying house) led by Rosh Beit Sabrina Sojourner, a Shaliakh Tzibur and nationally acknowledged Jewish chief. This intensive studying course of allowed the playwrights to interact with texts and focus on Jewish thought and custom inspiring them as they start to craft their performs.

All through the fee, writers will meet month-to-month to proceed to study, share extra sources, and workshop written materials.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of Increasing the Canon,” says Sojourner, “to be a part of a corporation dedicated to supporting, nurturing, and enhancing connections between Jewish artists of shade. Most significantly, we’re all trying ahead to the tales they’ll deliver to the bigger Jewish neighborhood and the world.”

Increasing the Canon is made potential largely by funds granted by The Covenant Basis. The Beit Midrash is made potential partly by a microgrant from the Jews of Colour Initiative.

Excerpts of the completed scripts will likely be shared in a remaining gathering in December 2024. All commissioned scripts will likely be strongly thought of for Theater J mainstage productions.

“I’m past enthusiastic about this venture!” states Edlavitch DCJCC CEO Dava Schub. “Because the JCC in our nation’s capital, and with the help of the Covenant Basis, we’re poised to develop the narrative of Jewish tales being instructed on levels throughout the nation and create house for brand new extraordinary storytellers to be seen, celebrated, and supported by means of this three-year fee course of.”

Theater J’s Managing Director David Lloyd Olson says, “Being from a combined household of Ashkenazi and Mexican Syrian Jewish descent, I’ve all the time understood the Jewish expertise to be extra vibrant and numerous than nearly all of Jewish playwriting. We’re grateful for the help of the Covenant Basis whose funding will assist us add layers to the portrait of Jewishness by commissioning performs that middle the multi-racial and multi-ethnic tales which have all the time been and can proceed to be part of the Jewish expertise.”

The playwrights in Theater J’s inaugural Increasing the Canon cohort: (standing) Kendell Pinkney, Jesse Jae Hoon, Zachariah Ezer; (seated) Carolivia Herron, Harley Elias, Thaddeus McCants, M.J. Kang. Photograph by Dennis Drenner.


Harley Elias (he/him) is a playwright and performer from New York Metropolis. He has been the recipient of residencies on the Atlantic Middle for the Arts, with Resonance Ensemble, a Fulbright Grant, a Samuel French OOB Award, and the Younger Playwrights Award. His Play #3 is printed by Samuel French. As an actor, he has carried out in a number of Broadway exhibits and nationwide excursions. He holds a BA and MA in Historical past from Stanford and is presently pursuing an MFA in Playwriting program at Brown College.

Zachariah Ezer (he/him) is a playwright whose work animates theoretical quandaries by means of dramaturgical kinds. His performs embrace The Freedom Trade (The Playwrights Middle, New York Stage & Movie), Handle the Physique! (The Echo Theater Firm), and An Unclear World (Hello-ARTS), amongst others. Chosen awards embrace The College of Texas’ James A. Michener Fellowship, The Playwrights Middle’s Core Apprenticeship, Hello-ARTS’ Essential Breaks Residency, Echo Theater Firm’s Nationwide Younger Playwrights Residency, City Phases’ Sokoloff Arts Inventive Fellowship, Greatest Play at The Woodside Gamers of Queens Summer season Play Pageant, BUFU’s EYEDREAM Residency, and Wesleyan College’s Olin Fellowship. His performs have been printed by Harmony Theatricals/Samuel French, Smith & Kraus, American Blues Theater, New World Theatre, some scripts literary journal, and Fleas on the Canine. Zachariah can also be a dramaturg (who has labored with The Nationwide Black Theatre, The Workshop Theater, and FoolsFury, amongst others), an essayist (printed by Gizmodo/io9, HuffPost, and The College of Texas’ E3W, amongst others), and a performer in various rock band Harper’s Touchdown. MFA: The College of Texas at Austin (Class of 2023). BA: Wesleyan College.

Carolivia Herron (she/her) is a Jewish African American novelist, librettist, and educator who teaches Classics within the English Division of Howard College. Her printed and produced works embrace, Thereafter Johnnie (novel), Let Freedom Sing: The Story of Marian Anderson (opera libretto, music composed by Bruce Adolphe); Nappy Hair, At all times An Olivia (youngsters’s books); and The Chosen Works of Angelina Weld Grimké (scholarship). Nappy Hair was the main focus of a global racial controversy in 1998 and nonetheless stays banned in New York Metropolis. She has additionally held professorial appointments at Harvard College, Mount Holyoke Faculty, Chico State College, and the Faculty of William and Mary. The ultimate multimedia quantity of her three-volume novel, Asenath and Our Music of Songs, will likely be printed in autumn 2022. Quantity 1, Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair, and Quantity 2, PeaceSong DC, have been printed in 2014 and 2016. Carolivia’s Ph.D. from the College of Pennsylvania, in Comparative Literature and Literary Idea, targeted on the epic literary style in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. She hosts a weekly radio present, Epic Metropolis on WOWD-LP Takoma Park. Epic Metropolis highlights books. Carolivia is an energetic member of Tifereth Israel Congregation of Washington, DC, a choose for the Jewish E-book Council, and a contributor to Lilith journal. She is featured in a number of documentaries in progress together with, The Satan’s Half Acre (e-book by Kristen Inexperienced) as a descendant of Mary Ann Lumpkin, the enslaved girl who liberated essentially the most infamous slave jail of the south.

Jesse Jae Hoon (he/him) is a a playwright, actor, and organizer. Performs embrace Someone is Wanting Again At MeDong Xuan Middle (2022 Princess Grace Fellowship Finalist, 2019 O’Neill NPC Finalist), On the ClockI’ve Acquired A Sinking Feeling within the Pit of My AbdomenThe Home of Billy PaulEmergency Wine & Cheese Fundraiser of the Amagansett Democrats’ Affiliation (2022 O’Neill NPC Semifinalist), and 12 Chairs. Quick performs embrace Hen is Condemned to be Free and I’m Going To Make an Academy Award®-Profitable Film. CRNY Resident Playwright at Ma-Yi Theater Firm; 2022-2023 Writing Fellow at Playwrights Realm; 2022 semifinalist, Clubbed Thumb Biennial Fee; inaugural member, Orchard Challenge Adaptation Lab; member, The TANK NYC’s LIT Council, Web page Break. MFA in Playwriting from Hunter Faculty, BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch (Playwrights Horizons). Organizer with Democratic Socialists of America and Fairness Subsequent. / @jessejaehoon

M.J. Kang (she/her) is a playwright, actor, and director, primarily based in Los Angeles and Montreal. She’s just lately been awarded The Breath Challenge New Play Award 2022 and has been commissioned by Portland Playhouse, Shotgun Gamers, and AFO Solo Shorts. She continues to be a part of the Playwrights Group at Firm of Angels (second yr), The Barrow Group’s Restorative Tales with Seth Barrish (second yr,) and is a part of the Author’s Pool at Playground-LA. She’s had her performs produced by Son of Semele, Pan Asian Rep, East West Gamers, Theater Passe Muraille, Tarragon Theater, Manufacturing unit Theater, Blyth Pageant Theater, Shakespeare in Motion, AFO Solo Shorts, Shotgun Gamers and lots of others. She’s been playwright in residence at Nightwood Theater and Theater Passe Muraille. She’s nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Greatest New Play and has obtained different awards, fellowships, and nominations. She was just lately on the writing employees as Story Editor on a HBO Max one hour drama and as an actor, has been in movies, tv, radio and seen on stage in Canada, the US and London, England.

Thaddeus McCants (he/him) is a Brooklyn-based Author, Director, and Performer initially from Madison, Wisconsin. As a playwright, he’s a present NYTW 2050 Fellow, Theater Masters Visionary Playwright, KCACTF Nationwide Finalist, Goldberg New Play Prize Finalist, and has been a Semi-Finalist for each the Eugene O’Neill Nationwide Playwrights Convention & American Blues Theatre Blue Ink Award. As a Tv Author, he’s presently a author on the second season of HBOMax’s “JULIA”, is growing his personal collection with BET+, and is co-writing Audible Originals with each VICE Media and Writer James Patterson. Thaddeus proudly holds his MFA from NYU and BFA from Ithaca Faculty and as all the time…’Phrase to Mother Dukes, to the ‘fam I owe the whole lot!’

Kendell Pinkney (he/him) is a Brooklyn-based theater-artist, producer, and rabbi. He works and creates artwork on the intersections of race, ethnicity, collective reminiscence, non secular identification, and sacred textual content. His collaborative theater works have been offered or developed at venues akin to 54 Under, Joe’s Pub, LABA @ the 14th St. Y, and Two River Theatre, to call just a few. Most just lately, he was featured within the acclaimed docuseries The New Jew with actor-comedian Guri Alfi and on Crooked Media’s Unholier than Thou podcast. Kendell is the founding Inventive Director of The Workshop ( / theworkshopartist), a New York primarily based arts and tradition fellowship for skilled JOCISM (Jews of Colour, Jewish-Indigenous, Sephardi, and Mizrahi) artists. / @kendellrpinkney

For extra details about the Increasing the Canon initiative, please go to

Theater J is a program of the Edlavitch DCJCC. Theater J performs on the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater, positioned at 1529 Sixteenth Road NW, Washington, DC, 4 blocks east of Dupont Circle. For extra details about Theater J, contact their ticket workplace at: 202-777-3210 or go to their web site at:

About Theater J

Theater J is a nationally-renowned, skilled theater that celebrates, explores, and struggles with the complexities and nuances of each the Jewish expertise and the common human situation. Their work illuminates and examines moral questions of our time, inter-cultural experiences that parallel our personal, and the altering panorama of Jewish identities. Because the nation’s largest and most distinguished Jewish theater, Theater J goals to protect and develop a wealthy Jewish theatrical custom and to create neighborhood and commonality by means of theater-going experiences.

Concerning the Edlavitch DCJCC

Theater J is a proud program of the Edlavitch DC Jewish Neighborhood Middle (EDCJCC). Guided by Jewish values and heritage, the Edlavitch DC Jewish Neighborhood Middle engages people and households by means of its cultural, leisure, academic, and social justice applications by welcoming folks of all backgrounds to attach, study, serve, and be entertained collectively in ways in which mirror the distinctive position of the Middle within the nation’s capital.

The Edlavitch DCJCC embraces inclusion in all its applications and actions. We welcome and encourage the participation of all folks, no matter their background, sexual orientation, talents, or faith, together with interfaith {couples} and households.

Concerning the Covenant Basis

The Covenant Basis acknowledges the range of strengths inside the area of Jewish training in North America, throughout all denominations and settings. By honoring excellent Jewish educators and supporting artistic approaches to programming, the Basis works to strengthen academic endeavors that perpetuate the identification, continuity and heritage of the Jewish folks. The Basis believes these with the creativity and fervour to be catalysts for change and innovation in Jewish training are worthy of recognition and help. The Covenant Basis is a Program of the Crown Household Philanthropies.



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