By Ella Gorodetzky
After six seasons as artistic director, Adam Immerwahr is leaving Theater J effective July 1.
Immerwahr came to the Jewish-themed theater in 2015. Before that he was the associate artistic director at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J.
During his time in Washington, “Several of our productions have gone on to future lives of other theaters, plays that we premiered that have been picked up by theater after theater,” he said. “That’s been really thrilling.”
Productions launched at Theater J during Immerwahr’s tenure will go on to premiere at theaters across the country, including “Becoming Dr Ruth,” “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Wanderers.”
In addition to organizing shows, Immerwahr has worked to create signature programs for Theater J. “We’ve, together with the entire constituency of Theater J, been able to create some new programs, such as the Yiddish Lab,” which strives to recover forgotten classics of the Yiddish theater by re-interpreting them into English readings and productions.
Another of Immerwahr’s initiatives has been to support local artists. “Theater J has a longtime commitment to working with our local artistic community,” Immerwahr said. “And I’m really proud that during my tenure, we were able to improve on our great track record by substantially increasing artists’ salaries, by transforming the level of support we provide to the artists who work with us in everything from personnel to equipment and generally doing everything we could to be an ethical place to work.”
Immerwahr has also aimed to expand the racial diversity of Theater J’s offerings. “[The Expanding the Canon] program is in the process of commissioning seven racially and ethnically diverse Jewish playwrights to write new plays about the experiences of Jews of color,” Immerwahr said. The program is scheduled to begin in August.
Immerwahr said he has found meaning in his work with Theater J. “It’s been an extraordinary several seasons,” he said. “I’m so proud of the work the entire company, as well as the JCC that we’re a part of, did to rebuild the theater, to reconnect with our audiences and donors, to support the artists in our community and to create work that had a meaningful impact on those who saw it.”
Immerwahr’s last show as artistic director will be “Fires in the Mirror,” running June 9 to July 3. In January, he will return to direct Theater J’s production of “Two Jews Walk Into a War.”
Immerwahr said he is leaving Washington to take an artistic leadership role at another theater. “It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,”he said. “I’m not yet in a position to announce where I’m going, but this specific opportunity was really exciting.”