Controversial: One of Theater J’s disputed productions was 2011’s ‘Return to Haifa,’ which critics claimed took an anti-Israel approach.

61 Theater Chiefs Slam Firing of Theater J Director Ari Roth

Sixty-one artistic directors of U.S. theater companies denounced the DC Jewish Community Center’s firing of Ari Roth, the artistic director of its Theater J who staged numerous works critical of Israel.

An open letter issued Monday said “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,” the Washington Post reported. It was signed by leaders of such companies as New York’s Lincoln Center Theater and Public Theater, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Roth has been artistic director of Theater J for 18 years; the JCC fired him for “insubordination” on Dec. 18.

The letter said its signatories “deplore the action of the JCC, offer our complete support for Ari Roth” and “urge the American theater community to protest these events in all possible ways.”

The JCC has described Roth’s departure as “stepping down to pursue a new series of endeavors,” while Roth has said it “was pretty punitive,” according to the Forward.

In recent years, Roth and the JCC had clashed over several plays criticized for being anti-Israel.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

61 Theater Chiefs Slam Firing of Theater J Director Ari Roth

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close