Theater J has a new artistic director. Adam Immerwahr started last month from the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J., where he lived for about 10 years.
He arrives at an interesting juncture for the famed Jewish Community Center theater, which drew heavy media attention last year about this time when long-time artistic director Ari Roth was fired (the official reason given was “insubordination”; he claimed artistic censorship; he’s now busy at his new company Mosaic).
Immerwahr says the proceedings were not a major concern for him.
“I wasn’t here … so I don’t have much to say about it,” says the 33-year-old Swarthmore, Pa., native. “There was an extensive search process … which gave me ample opportunity to ask questions. … I feel confident that all involved are eager to see Theater J remain a bold, imaginative, political, personal and joyful theater that engages with some of the most pressing issues of our time.”
Immerwahr’s priorities are, “that we be a theater of joy and delight placing artistic excellence above all else.” He also says he’s “utterly elated” to join the theater.
Immerwahr is looking for an apartment in the Dupont or Logan areas. He’s in Capitol Hill for now. He’s single and enjoys cooking and bike riding in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I started coming out in sixth grade and finished in eighth. I recall it was hard to tell my older brother, but it was a non-event because he totally already knew. I guess when you’re younger brother comes out in the same school as you, the word gets around!
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Trans activist, author, performer and sex educator Kate Bornstein. She is one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. But my second choice would be performer-raconteur Taylor Mac, who goes by the gender pronoun “Judy.” Mac is changing the way we view gender, performance and culture with each of Judy’s shows.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Come on, I’ve only been here for two weeks! So far, my favorite bar/club has been Town, but I’ve also visited Trade, Nellie’s and Number 9. Of course, most nights you can find me at Theater J.
Describe your dream wedding.
I’m in showbiz and put on events for a living. I’d want something really laid back. Just a handful of people and a civil marriage.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Climate change. If the earth keeps getting warmer, nothing else will matter.
What historical outcome would you change?
The destruction of the library of Alexandria. So much knowledge was lost.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
At my last job, I was on the producing team that commissioned and premiered Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” When our production, which starred Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce, transferred to Broadway and won the Tony Award for best play, that was pretty unforgettable.
On what do you insist?
Wearing a tie to work every day. You gotta dress the part.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
On Facebook: “And then there was that day you gave a terrific pre-show speech but you felt like the audience was distracted. They were paying attention to something else. And you realized later that your fly was open.”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“An Eater’s Guide to Vegan Junk Food”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
That would be terrific. I can think of a few straight men whom I would be more than happy to convert. Scientists should start working on that immediately. Oh wait, you meant change sexual orientation from straight to gay, right? Why would they work on the other direction?
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Data-driven decisions and strategic thinking.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Now that we have gay marriage, let’s not forget about the struggles that still face our community, particularly for queer people of color and the trans communities.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
A farm-to-table vegan restaurant that served good cocktails
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
Ugh. All of them.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
I don’t really have one. I don’t watch a lot of LGBT movies (or really movies of any kind). I spend enough time in theaters.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Holding doors for others. It’s inefficient more often than not and I just hate playing the door-holding one-upmanship dance.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The ig Nobel prize, which is given for achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That no matter the choices I made, my life direction would be shaped as much by luck as anything else.
This is a town with an incredible, vibrant and diverse theater community. Though rarely touted, the arts are thriving in this city. I couldn’t be happier to be surrounded by such visionary, talented, creative and fearless colleagues.