Sunday, June 18, 2017

Holocaust Museum/Theater J Collaboration: Arthur Miller's Broken Glass

From our friends at Theatre J...

Theater J Stages Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass

From June 14 - July 9, Theater J is producing Broken Glass, one of the only plays by Arthur Miller to directly incorporate Jewish characters and history. The most recent major production of this 1994 drama was in 2011 in London, where critics gave it strong reviews. The Guardian’s five star review lauded it as “part psychological detective story and part political drama... (it) emerges as far and away the best of Miller's late plays... overwhelmingly moving.”

In Miller’s riveting drama, Sylvia Gellburg has suddenly, mysteriously, become paralyzed from the waist down. Neither her husband - a self-denying Jew - nor her doctor can figure out why. Set in Brooklyn throughout the rampage of Kristallnacht in 1938, this astonishing and electrifying play confronts our assumptions about being American, being married and coming to terms with one’s own identity.

Theater J Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr asserts that “Broken Glass is a searing play, more relevant now than it has ever been before. In exploring the American reaction to reading news of Nazi atrocities abroad, it is a play about how we respond to the ever-changing world around us, about how we hold onto or discard our individual backgrounds as we try to achieve the American dream. With visionary director Aaro the American dream. With visionary director Aaron Posner at the helm and an A-list team of actors, Arthur Miller’s gripping drama is sure to be a powerful, moving, and unforgettable evening of theater.”

Sylvia’s reaction of horror and helplessness to the violence of Kristallnacht (the Nazi attacks on Jews' homes, businesses and synagogues) sets in motion the action of the play, and reverberates powerfully throughout. To bring those events - and specifically Sylvia’s experience of discovering them - to light, Theater J and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum set up an extraordinary collaboration.

Broken Glass audiences will see rarely available images of stories from American newspapers projected directly onto the set. Projection Designer Mark Costello has worked with staff specialists at the Museum to gain access to source materials, including pictures by amateur photographers and from personal collections of pre-war Jewish life, of anti-Semitic graffiti, and of closed Jewish storefronts.

Immerwahr is “thrilled that, through this unique association with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Broken Glass creative team has woven rare images into the fabric of the design itself. It promises to be a stunning blend of artistry and history, and one that connects us deeply with our own history.”

This effort dovetails with the Museum’s History Unfolded crowd-sourcing project, which encourages people from all over the U.S. to help uncover what ordinary people around the country could have known about the Holocaust from reading their local newspapers in the years 1933–1945. The project is part of a larger Museum initiative on how Americans responded to Nazism; selected findings from History Unfolded are being woven into a special exhibition on this topic that will open in 2018, the Museum’s 25th anniversary.

In what is turning into a potent creative collaboration, director Aaron Posner and actor Gregory Linington are working on their third show this season together, having previously combined forces on Or, at Round House and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Ford’s. Joining Linington in the cast are Lise Bruneau, Kimberly Gilbert, Stephen Patrick Martin, Paul Morella, and Michele Osherow.

It’s tempting to say that Miller is “having a moment,” with The Price currently running on Broadway and a film about a production of Death of a Salesman in Tehran having won the 2017 Academy Award for best foreign language film. Theater J is eager to shed new light on one of his lesser-known works.

This production of Broken Glass has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts and is funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts Funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are available starting at $37 at or (202) 777-3210.

About Theater J:
Theater J is a nationally-renowned, professional theater that celebrates, explores and struggles with the complexities and nuances of both the Jewish experience and the universal human condition. Our work illuminates and examines ethical questions of our time, inter-cultural experiences that parallel our own, and the changing landscape of Jewish identities. As the nation’s largest and most prominent Jewish theater, we aim to preserve and expand a rich Jewish theatrical tradition and to create community and commonality through theater-going experiences.

About the Edlavitch DCJCC:
The Edlavitch DCJCC works to preserve and strengthen Jewish identity, heritage, tradition and values through a wide variety of social, cultural, recreational and educational programs and services. The DCJCC is committed to welcoming everyone in the community; membership and all activities are open to all. Follow on Twitter (@16thstreetj), like on Facebook, and find more information online at