Friends at Fringe

The 2016 Capital Fringe Festival is NOW OPEN, and we’ve compiled a list of Theater J affiliated artists who are creating, performing, and entertaining at the festival this summer! Check it out!


Created and directed by Theater J 5×5 Playwright Brett Steven Abelman
Featuring Theater J Load-in Crew Member Niusha Nawab



Directed by Clare Shaffer, Assistant Director of Falling Out of Time


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Directed by Clare Shaffer, Assistant Director of Falling Out of Time


sixteen (2)

Featuring Theater J House Manager Claire Schoonover


sixteen (3)

Featuring 2015 Locally Grown actor Lee Ordeman


sixteen (4)

Directed by Regie Cabico, Theater J post-show panelist


sixteen (5)

Featuring music by former Theater J intern Itai Yassur



Directed by The Last Schwartz actor Andrew Wassenich

See you at the festival!


Neat Things One Is Called Upon To Make, Only In Theater

Hey there Teammates,

This is Theater J Tech Director Tom Howley, speaking to you on location from the Theater J Scene Shop in Beltsville, MD. While only popping up very rarely on our blog, the theme I’ve enjoyed touching on is “Only In The Theater,” and I have to say that the talented Paige Hathaway’s design for ANOTHER WAY HOME, written by Anna Ziegler, has afforded us another one of those happy opportunities. She’s given me permission to give you a behind-the-scenes look at a particularly fun element of her design: The CAMP KICKAPOO sign that looms over the primary playing area on the stage.


It is, of course, one of those traditional made-from-branches camp signs that have been appearing in films and on postcards since about 1903. Very outdoorsy/folksy/artsy-craftsy. But, what there’s NOT is a chapter in the ol’ Scenic Construction 101 on how you’d actually make one of these venerable, iconic items? Happily, it’s really not that challening from a technical standpoint.


Did not cut any live growth. That just seemed inappropriate.

Step 1:  You need branches. Fortunately, a slice of county forest abuts most of our back yard, so I got out into the woods with loppers and a pruning saw, and worked my way around to a couple of particularly large dead-fall piles created by the remains of a) Snowmaggedon, and b) the Derecho (a few years ago).

Step 2:  Cut branches down to transportable, usable lengths, aiming for a ballpark diameter between 1-1/4 ” and 2-3″.



This was easily the most taxing aspect of the project.

Step 3:  Good heavens. These branches are ALL covered with unusable bark! The branches need to be stripped. What expensive, special tool does one have to use to do that?  A machete?  Some new power tool?  Or. . . my Dad’s old Swiss Army Jack-knife which I’ve carried around for 25 years and never actually used?  I summon my inner Jed Clampett. . .




The branches are attached with a combo of long drywall screws and long finishing nails.

Step 4:  Then came the-honestly-quite fun part of the project, which was working from the drafted letters and finding real-branch analogs for them. It was necessary to take a couple of stylistic liberties here and there in order to make the letters themselves attach securely to the beams and to each other. The square panel you see to the right was a gridded guide I used to lay each letter out first to ensure that it fit correctly and that it presented well.


Several kinds of wood on display.

Final Step: The framework has a break point between the two words, as the whole piece is about 6 ft longer than will fit into our truck. Temporarily assembled, I propped some scrap ply behind the frame just to clear up the visual. The framework is open, and the letters themselves will have a lighter, grayer wash to both unify them and to make them visually pop from the darker wood around them.


And there you have it.  A how-do-you-do-it project that proved to be not too hard to figure out and was quite fun to fabricate in the process. One component in a truly delightful design for our final show of the season.


Another Way Home by Anna Ziegler runs at Theater J from June 23-July 17. Click for tickets and more information. 

An Interview with Dan O’Brien

dan-obrien-headshotThis engrossing and provocative play tells the true story of the extraordinary friendship between playwright Dan O’Brien and Pulitzer Prize-winning war reporter Paul Watson. Shirley Serotsky, Theater J Associate Artistic Director, interviewed O’Brien while preparing for the regional premiere of The Body of an American, which won the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play.

Shirley Serotsky: The origin story of your play traces back to an interview you heard on NPR between Terry Gross and the photojournalist Paul Watson in 2007. Now, almost ten years later, how can you explain what stood out to you about that particular conversation, and at that particular time? At what point did you realize that this could be the inspiration for a play?

Dan O’Brien: I knew right away that I would write about Paul. I felt haunted by his haunting but I didn’t know why, and our ongoing, peculiar collaboration has been an exploration of precisely this question. I say “ongoing” because I’ve written this play, two collections of poems, a libretto for an experimental chamber opera, and a new play-in-progress about Paul Watson; and “peculiar” because he shares his material with me, both personal and professional, but he never reads what I write about him. He hasn’t seen the play and says he never will, simply because he imagines the experience would be too disturbing.

SS: Your play, THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN, has been described as a docudrama; a “poetic true story”; and as biographical drama. How would you describe its particular mix of reality and theatricality?

DO: The play is certainly quite close to docudrama, as everything’s derived closely from things Paul and I have written, and written to each other, as well as recordings of our conversations, and audio and video recordings that Paul has shared with me from his work and life. There’s been some poetic license taken here and there, very minor stuff having to do mostly with chronology, or pieces of dialogue and phrasing.


Eric Hissom as Paul Watson and Thomas Keegan as Dan O’Brien in The Body of an American

SS: You are both a poet and a playwright (interestingly—so is the final playwright in our season, Anna Ziegler). How do these two genres interact with each other for you? What compels you to turn to one form or the other?

DO: Poetry is simply more private for me, a more intimate experience to conceive a poem and to craft it, and I imagine a one-on-one relationship with a reader. A play is much more about story, dialogue, language that works in the moment and—however poetic—functions primarily in a dramatic sense. It’s a story to be experienced in public.

SS: Theater J’s production of THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN marks its Washington, DC premiere. What about your play do you think will be particularly resonant for a DC audience?

DO: This play is primarily a story of friendship, in my opinion, and an exploration of the healing—or at least strengthening, clarifying—power of storytelling and specifically theatre in relation to past trauma. But it’s my hope that the play addresses our historical ghosts too, specifically the Battle of Mogadishu and the Rwandan genocide, but the relationship of those traumas to the wars of the last thirteen years and our ongoing “war on terror.” I imagine that a Washington, DC audience might come to this story with even more knowledge of this play’s historical and political context.  

The Body of an American is now playing at Theater J through May 22. Purchase tickets online at, at the Box Office or by calling 202-777-3210.

A Reflection on the Parents Circle-Families Forum at Theater J

By Shirley Serotsky

1The evening of Thursday, March 17 was a significant night for Theater J. We presented the first public showing of FALLING OUT OF TIME, American artist Derek Goldman’s new adaptation of Israeli novelist David Grossman’s memorable work. We welcomed members of the Parents Circle—Families Forum to speak before and after the performance. It was a moving and memorable experience.

Robi Damelin is an Israeli mother whose son David was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002. Bassam Aramin is a Palestinian father whose daughter Abir was killed in 2007 by Israeli border police. The pair was visiting the States from Israel to attend an event in Texas. When we realized that this visit overlapped with our production, we jumped at the chance to bring them to DC.


Grossman’s transfixing novel—which combines poetry, dialogue and prose to tell the story of what happens when several sets of parents navigating the loss of a child come together to find strength in each other and in the power of storytelling—was a natural fit with a conversation with the Parents Circle. Grossman wrote the novel after his own son Uri was killed during the second Lebanon war. His articulation of the experience is at once theatrical and authentic.

Our pre-show conversation that evening was moderated by Howard Sumka, member of the American Friends of the Parents Circle board, Director of the USAID Mission to West Bank and Gaza, and expert in post-conflict reconstruction and development. He introduced the work of the Parents Circle, which involves some 600 Palestinian and Israeli families and includes education programs for young people and adults; public appearances; media campaigns to promote peace; and sponsors support groups for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

11011074_1069423266418952_2394900452564442392_nThe post-show talk was a deeply emotional one. Both Robi and Bassam needed a moment to process the impact of the performance, and when they did begin to speak they were adamant about the need for people to take action towards promoting peace both in the Middle East and in other conflict zones in the world. The take-away is this: the pain that a parent experiences when dealing with the loss of a child transcends all other markers of identity. In a situation where it is preventable—where an attainable peace can be reached and young people no longer need to be on the front lines either as combatants or as civilians—we should make any and all efforts to achieve this peace.

It is our duty, our calling, our need as human beings to–as Bassam articulated it–“see the humanity of the other” and then treat them with compassion.

The Creativity of a Translator – An Interview with Jessica Cohen

Jessica Cohen, translator of David Grossman’s genre-defying masterpiece Falling Out of Time, answered one of our most burning questions: How closely did you work with Grossman on the intent and meaning of the novel, and how much creativity can you use as a translator? 

JessCohen_picWhen I translated David Grossman’s masterful novel, To the End of the Land, I thought it would be the most intense and demanding translation I might ever take on. But then Falling Out of Time came along and proved me wrong. The translation presented many challenges, both professional and emotional. Working with a hybrid form that veers into genres I did not have a lot of experience translating—poetry and drama—required a rethinking of the translation methods I had developed over many years of translating prose. The book’s gut-wrenching subject matter and sheer emotional impact were not an easy thing to live with over the many months of translating this work. And most demanding of all was the knowledge that this was perhaps the most intensely personal work Grossman had ever written, drawing on an incredibly painful experience that he and his family had recently undergone. I was left feeling that there was a hefty responsibility that went along with this translation project. And indeed, David’s personal involvement in the translation work was greater than any I have had before or since with an author, and a fairly unique experience for any translator.

41U-Rkf0obL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Whenever I translate a book, the author generally makes him or herself available to answer the questions that inevitably arise, and in this case, too, I periodically sent David queries about the text, asked him to clarify the meaning of certain phrases and word-choices, and so forth. But whereas that is usually the extent of the author’s involvement in a translation, in this case, after I had completed my translation, David and I met over the course of a few days in Jerusalem and I read my translation out-loud to him, pausing frequently to discuss the text and my translation choices, and for him to offer comments and corrections when necessary. David’s long-time agent, Deborah Harris, was also present at these readings, and the three of us had many fascinating and fruitful discussions about various translation challenges and textual issues. Having this degree of access to the author’s thought process and being able to probe his mind for all the layers of meaning behind every line in the book, was a rare opportunity.

David made it clear in our work together that he had a keen interest in making sure this translation came as close as possible to his original intent. Although this is true, to varying degrees, of any work by a good author, Falling Out of Time is an extreme example—perhaps the most extreme—of the writer’s heart and soul being laid bare on the page, and that was clear to me throughout my work on the project. Yet despite all this weight, I was allowed and even encouraged to find creative solutions to some of the tricky issues presented by the text. David has always been respectful of my creative license as the translator of his words, and it was no different with this book.

Tickets available online at or by calling 202-777-3210.


Jessica Cohen is a freelance translator born in England, raised in Israel, and now living in Denver. She translates contemporary Israeli prose, poetry, and other creative work. Her translations include David Grossman’s critically acclaimed To The End of the Land, and works by major Israeli writers including Etgar Keret, Rutu Modan, Yael Hedaya, Ronit Matalon, Amir Gutfreund and Tom Segev, as well as Golden Globe-winning director Ari Folman. She is a past board member of the American Literary Translators Association and has served as a judge for the National Translation Award.

A Mid-Season Update

We are halfway through the 2015-2016 season and it has been an incredible year so far with some exciting firsts for Theater J.

At the recent Helen Hayes nominations, Theater J received five nominations, including four for QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD.
• The James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play — HAYES Production, Michael Willis, SONS OF THE PROPHET
• Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play — HAYES Production, Dawn Ursula, QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD
• Outstanding Director of a Play — HAYES Production, Eleanor Holdridge, QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD
• The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical, Caleen Sinnette Jennings, QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD
• Outstanding Play — HAYES Production, QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD

Theater J has never before received nominations for lead actress, director, playwright and the overall play all for one production and we could not be more thrilled!

QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD also garnered Theater J’s first ever review in The New York Times, which was glowing, calling the play a “sweet spirited solo show…portray[ed] with star quality brilliance.” The play was commissioned and developed through our unique Locally Grown Festival, which focuses on providing support to local playwrights to foster new work.

Our new Artistic Director, Adam Immerwahr, started in December. He is hard at work programming our next season, which will be announced on April 3rd at the Theater J benefit – so mark your calendars!

Our next production, an adaptation of famed Israeli author David Grossman’s FALLING OUT OF TIME, is going to be an incredible and unique theatrical experience. After losing his son in the Israel-Lebanon conflict, Grossman was moved to write this stunning masterpiece about loss, solace, and hope. To more deeply engage our audiences with the work, we have planned two important events:
• On March 20, A Conversation with David Grossman, Azar Nafisi (author of READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN) and Leon Wieseltier about “The Freedom of the Writer and the Cruelties of History”
• On March 17, Pre- and post-show conversations with The Parent’s Circle, an organization that unites bereaved Israeli and Palestinian parents in promoting reconciliation.

We are proud to continue to bring Israeli art to DC audiences and to use it as a springboard for these important and inspiring conversations.

Hope to see you at the theater soon!

16 Performances, 5 Playwright meetings, and 2 Falafels in 4.5 Days

As opposed to in the US where a play may run 8 nights a week for a month or two, in Israel a successful production can run for years and years, but with only a few performances a month. That means that in any given stretch of time, there is at least 5 or 6 times as much theater to see in Israel! In Tel Aviv, productions run the gamut from major institutional theaters playing to over 100,000 patrons a year to tiny performance art troupes performing site specific work in the streets.

750In 4.5 days of the International Exposure for Israeli Theatre festival, we saw the full range cramming in as much as we possibly could, with non-stop theater from 9:30 am to after 9:00 pm (Israelis stay up late). The amount of diversity on stage is truly unique to Israeli theater ranging from the most innovative of fringe productions to large-scale productions at major institutions. The fringe-ier performances included: a performance piece of light and sound called You Never Look at Me From the Place I See You and two very personal and brave one woman autobiographical shows (The Other Body and My Ex Mother-In-Law) at Tmu-Na Theater to a movement piece about our attraction to violence in art at the Tel Aviv Museum (Forever/Never produced by Clippa Theatre) to a sweet and dark children’s story ending with a trans-gender love story told at Jaffa Theatre (where Arabs and Jews work to create art together).

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More polished was a stunning political fable told with puppets, a live video feed and 1,000 lbs of salt – The Road to Ein Harod by PuppetCinema , which you can see at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center this April. We also saw a few pieces of more traditional theater (what we would call plays). Jehu, an older play by Gilad Evron, who wrote Ulysses on Bottles, at the Habima National Theatre, the Israeli adaptation of Falling Out of Time at Gesher Theatre, which was developed specially for their space so the audience could move throughout three locations, and a pared down adaptation of Electra at The Cameri on a gruesome and stunning set. I will admit I skipped the Habima/Cameri co-production of Our Class because I wasn’t up for sitting through the shocking violence again.

In total, I saw 4 shows with no words, 3 shows that included chalk drawings, 4 shows with puppets, 3 site-specific works, 2 of which functioned as guided tours through the political and the personal, and 5 shows that used innovative projections. What I didn’t see were a lot of new plays by Israeli playwrights. (Those will be included in next year’s IsraDrama festival, rather than the Exposure festival.) What I did see was a lot of incredible, innovative and moving performances.


In between all of the performances, I carved out some time to connect with some playwrights – familiar faces and new friends. It was wonderful to reconnect with Motti Lerner and hear about his latest projects, which include a narrative film opening in December. I shared carrot/lemon/ginger juice (at her recommendation) with Hadar Galron (who wrote Mikveh). She is working on a new Israeli TV drama about a cult leader of sorts with many wives called Harem, which will also be adapted into a play. I dined with three young innovative artists from Ensemble Can who are working in a variety of fictional, devised and documentary style work – most recently in a trilogy about sex. I also had coffee with Goren Agmon, whose work deals primarily with the unsolved personal struggles in the lives of women in Israel.

I ended my time over a glass of wine with prolific and widely produced Israeli playwright Joshua Sobel. According to Motti, Joshua’s work is what inspired him to first become a playwright. His body of work already includes over 45 plays, but at 76 he is continuing to develop new work as both a playwright and director. His most recent works include The Melting Pot which looks at the growing prostitution problem in Israel and a new adaptation of Waiting for Godot in Yiddish, Russian and Spanish that frames the play as a story about two Russian Jewish refugees waiting for a smuggler (Godot) to ferry them across the French/Spanish border to safety.

And that’s not even getting into the fascinating people that I met from all over the world. Believe me, if I could have managed to squeeze in more than 2 falafels, I certainly would have! I’m looking forward to catching up on sleep and laundry, and then debriefing with all of my colleagues back at Theater J.


Spending Time with Stephen Karam

Hi, Readers!

Lauren and Delia here, who were a few of the lucky staff members to meet Stephen Karam on Sunday. We wanted to share some insight into what it’s like to be in the rehearsal room with a Pulitzer Prize-nominated, and Broadway bound playwright, who joined us from New York City for Sunday’s design run. We were only able to utilize his time for one afternoon, as he’s busy busy in New York with his new hit The Humans (which just announced it’s Broadway run!), but it was such a joy to have him.

Watching Stephen watch the show was so enjoyable – the way he laughed at some of his favorite moments was very validating for us, who laugh at nearly every moment.

Such a gracious, genuine and generous response to our production from a playwright whose career continues to blossom and reach an ever widening audience. This play speaks to adults of all ages in humorous, soulful and heart opening ways. Its author, a handsome young Lebanese American gay man with a modest demeanor and warm smile, entered the rehearsal room with the director, a friend and colleague, Gregg Henry (who was on tenterhooks but as always composed.) They sat together in the back corner of the room during the rehearsal, after which the actors had a ten minute break and returned to hear what the playwright had to say. I think we all held our breath…

Karam and Company

Karam and Company

When they returned, Stephen Karam hugged all of the actors, and gave a few notes including:

“The only solution is to have Gregg [Henry] direct all of my plays.”
“The entire cast trusts the script and their characters.”
And something along the lines of “After the 1st scene, I didn’t think the acting could stay at that level, with a cast of 8, who knows? But it did. Every character did.”

He then sat down with Director Gregg Henry and gave a few more notes. We can’t see how the show evolves and grows over the next week before we open for previews!

Sons of the Prophet runs November 18-December 20, 2015
Purchase tickets online HERE.

Get to Know Adam Immerwahr

Adam ImmerwahrHow would you describe your artistic philosophy?

First and foremost, it is that everything on our stage must be a truly excellent version of whatever it is trying to be. Great theater can be in service to its audience by entertaining, challenging, edifying and transforming them – but no matter what it is trying to do, it must be produced at the highest quality to be successful. Personally, I place delight among the things that matter most to me in a theatrical experience, and I veer toward theater that is beautiful and moving and stimulating. The theater that excites me explores cultures from a wide variety of perspectives, takes us on journeys to other communities, asks us to use our imaginations to try on someone else’s shoes, and demands that we lean forward in our seats and open up our minds.

I also believe that the time has come for us to explore ways in which our audiences engage more deeply and authentically with the work on our stages; I’m interested in blurring the lines between the art-makers and the art-receivers. Whether it is creating community-based projects that reach out beyond our walls into under-served communities, or offering theater education, or inviting our audiences as co-curators for the work on our stages, I am seeking ways to allow the theater to become more permeable, and more multi-vocal.

What do audiences have to look forward to next season?

I don’t know if it’s next season or beyond, but I’m really intrigued to deep dive in to our country’s all-but-forgotten canon of Yiddish Theater. By WWI, there were 22 Yiddish Theaters in NYC, and they were producing new works, adaptations and translations. Some of the plays I’ve read are utterly surprising, and there is a wide variety; there’s one strand that is huge and imaginative and metaphoric, and another that is small and domestic and honest, almost Chekhovian. I don’t know how we’ll engage with these texts (in translation, adaptation, or other ways) and I don’t know when, but I’m confident that we’ll see some of these lost masterpieces on our stage in a coming season. Until then, you might find me in the library, poring over scripts and wishing I knew how to read Yiddish!

Here’s what I know for sure about the first season I will program: Theater J’s audiences can look forward to a bold season of programming that will delight, provoke, stimulate and engage them throughout the entire season. We will continue to use theater to examine our world through a Jewish lens; tackling the great moral, social and political issues of our time for Jews and non-Jews alike, in this country and abroad. We will seek work that celebrates the uniquely Jewish voice, tells our stories (both triumphs and tragedies), and honors our heritage, but we will also present plays that expose us to other cultures that share many of our challenges—immigration and assimilation, language and family, living one’s life religiously in an increasingly secular world, and the struggle to make ethical choices. I know it is going to be a provocative, thrilling season full of some of the best theater in the country.

What excites you about Theater J’s mission?

When I look at Theater J’s mission, I see a company committed to creating theater that heals the world. We must use our art form, which is first and foremost entertainment, to reflect the world on stage, giving us and our audiences a chance to learn, to grow and to change.

What’s your favorite play and why?

This is the hardest question ever! Honestly, I think it’s whatever I’m directing at the moment. So right now that is Julia Cho’s masterpiece, The Language Archive. It is a stunning new play about language itself, about the words of love and the challenge of communication.  A love story about how love can be as hard to learn as any language. It is whimsical, magical, funny, moving and exquisite—and it takes on the eternal mystery of communication: our never-ending struggle to articulate the synaptic connections of our brains and share our thoughts with others. I’m directing it at Bristol Riverside Theater (in Pennsylvania) and as I write I’m in the middle of casting the last actor in what promises to be a really brilliant ensemble.

Understudy Rehearsal 2

Immerwahr directing a production of The Understudy at McCarter Theatre

Adam Immerwahr was most recently the Associate Artistic Director at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ. His directing credits at McCarter include The Understudy and The Mousetrap. NYC directing credits include productions at The Public, Theater Row (both for Summer Play Festival), Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Wild Project, and NYU’s Studio Tisch. Internationally, he directed the African premiere of The Convert in Zimbabwe (nominated for the National Arts Medal Award, Zimbabwe’s highest arts award). He has directed and developed work for Luna Stage, Hangar Theatre, Bristol Riverside, Premiere Stages, Playwrights Theatre of NJ, PlayPenn, the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Princeton Summer Theater, Westminster Choir College, Theatre Masters, and Passage Theatre Company in Trenton, where he served as Resident Director.

Adam’s documentary theater works include his many years as the Artistic Director of OnStage Seniors: a community project of McCarter Theatre, in which he led a group of Mercer-county based senior citizens who gathered and performed the stories of their community. He has also developed, written, and directed community-based projects for Nassau Presbyterian Church (where has been the artist-in-residence from 2014-2015) and for Passage Theater and Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Central New Jersey (for whom he is currently developing a piece a documentary work around central NJ’s Holocaust survivors).

At McCarter Theatre, Immerwahr was part of the producing team that commissioned and premiered Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (starring Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce), which went on to transfer to Broadway and win the 2014 Tony Award for Best Play, and Fiasco Theater’s Into the Woods, which premiered at McCarter before transferring to San Diego’s The Old Globe and then The Roundabout in NYC, where it won the 2015 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival. Other producing credits include works created by some of the world’s top artists, including Ken Ludwig, Mary Zimmerman, Emily Mann, Danai Gurira, Stephen Wadsworth, Phylicia Rashad, John Kani, and Fiasco Theater. Adam is the recipient of a 2008 Drama League Directing Fellowship and the 2010 NJ Theatre Alliance “Applause Award.” Adam was the winner of the 2014 Emerging Nonprofit Leader Award presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Center for Excellence and the Center for Non-Profits.

A Look Back- Exploring the World of Queens Girl

Everyone remembers those few headlines that have come to define the time period during which they grew up. For many young people today those headlines include 9/11, the election of Barack Obama, and the recent Supreme Court decisions guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage. For Jaqueline Marie Butler, the main character in our upcoming production of Queens Girl in the World, many of those defining moments were centered on the racial struggle that tore through the United States during the 50’s and 60’s. We are sharing just a few of those headlines to help us all remember the events that took place in our country not too long ago and which shaped the life of Miss Jaqueline Marie.

October 1, 1962
James Meredith Registers at “Ole Miss”
On Sept 20, with the support a Supreme Court ruling, James Meredith arrives at the Univ. of Mississippi in Oxford, intending to enroll as the school’s first black student. The state Governor physically blocks Meredith’s progress on Sept 20, and again Sept 25. Talks between the White House and the Governor fail to produce a solution. The Kennedy administration orders federal marshals to Oxford. On Sept 30, rioting kills two students, and wounds 160 marshals. The next morning, Meredith officially registers as a transfer student; he graduates in 1963. Bob Dylan writes Oxford Town about Meredith’s experiences.

August 28, 1963
“I Have A Dream…”
During the Civil Rights March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. delivers one of his most impassioned and memorable speeches to an audience of 250,000. Speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial, King sets aside his prepared notes to describe his vision of an nation that will “rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.'” Later this year, King is named TIME’s Person of the Year.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington, Aug. 28, 1963
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

November 22, 1963
Kennedy Assassinated
President John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Lyndon Johnson is quick sworn in as President.

June 22, 1964
Freedom Summer Begins With Murder
The SNCC organizes Freedom Summer to increase voter registration and build a grassroots political party in Mississippi. Three young activists disappear on June 22: Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney. Their bodies are found on August 4, buried in an earthen dam. Investigation results in 21 arrests, and conspiracy convictions of seven Ku Klux Klan members in October 1967. Exactly 41 years after the murders, on June 22, 2005, Edgar Ray Killen is convicted on three counts of manslaughter for masterminding the killings.

Freedom Summer activists sing before leaving training sessions at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, for Mississippi in June 1964. TED POLUMBAUM COLLECTION NEWSEUM

Freedom Summer activists sing before leaving training sessions at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, for Mississippi in June 1964.
Ted Polumbaum Collection, Newseum

July 2, 1964
Civil Rights Act
Legislation outlaws discrimination on basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

February 21, 1965
Malcolm X Assassinated
The civil rights leader is killed while delivering a speech in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom.

Malcolm X on March 5, 1964 (Eddie Adams/AP)

Malcolm X on March 5, 1964 (Eddie Adams/AP)

August 6, 1965
Voting Rights Act
The legislation ends discrimination at the polls.

August 11-16, 1965
Watts Race Riots
Six days of rage and riots in Los Angeles leave 34 dead and $200 million in damages.

TIMELINE: Selected Events 1962-1965
Adapted from

Join us for Queens Girl in the World Sept. 16th- Oct. 11th. Buy tickets here.