DC’s Theater J hires replacement for controversial longtime artistic director


(JTA) — A JCC theater has hired a replacement for a longtime artistic director who was fired amid claims that his productions were too critical of Israel.

Adam Immerwahr, 33, will succeed Ari Roth at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center’s Theater J, the Washington Jewish Week reported. Roth was fired in December.

Immerwahr is currently the associate artistic director at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey.

The DCJCC’s CEO, Carole Zawatsky, said Immerwahr “has a record of superb direction, commitment to building community through theater, working hard to find new voices and producing groundbreaking dramatic pieces.”

Asked by the Washington Jewish paper if he plans to mount productions about the Israeli-Arab conflict, Immerwahr said, “It’s important that we produce first-rate art. Israel will continue to be one” of the topics the theater will explore.

In 2014, a small group of community members urged a boycott of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, which provides funding to the DCJCC, because they considered a play being produced by Theater J to be anti-Israel.

Despite claims that Roth was fired for his politics, Zawatsky in December said in a statement that his dismissal “related to a pattern of insubordination, unprofessionalism and actions that no employer would ever sanction.”

Zawatsky’s statement came in response to an open letter circulated by 61 artistic directors of U.S. theater companies denouncing Roth’s firing.

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