by Amrita Mangus, Interim Literary Manager
As I walk through the halls of Arena Stage, I encounter the friendly faces of Ari Roth, Shirley Serotsky, Stephen Spotswood, and Aaron Posner from Theater J's production of The Chosen, bustling from rehearsals in the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall as they anticipate the opening of the show in the Fichandler theater on March 5th. They add a new and exciting energy to the Mead Center, reminding me that the Visiting Companies Initiative is finally taking off!
As part of the new activity surrounding the opening of the Mead Center, we inagurated the Visiting Companies Initiative this season and plan to continue it annually. Inspired by Steppenwolf Theater Company (who will be the building next week for technical rehearsals of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Talk about synergy, eh?), the initiative engages Arena with the local theater community and offers a cross-polination of audiences and artists from theater to theater. It's a way to build a strong theater ecology, because aren't we all collaborating for the same cause in the long run? We want to make our local arts community thrive and imitate the practices of the rehearsal room, where artists come together by the art, for the art, and build upon their relationships to create work that sustains across audiences and accessibility. Conversations about the Visiting Companies Initiative started a couple years ago during our renovation period in Crystal City and the Lincoln Theater. It's a joy to see it come to fruition!
Set against the backdrop of WW II, The Chosen introduces us to Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders, passionate, intelligent young boys on opposite sides of a baseball game. When Reuven is injured by Danny’s errant pitch, a unique friendship is born. If you're interested in learning more about The Chosen, follow along with Theater J's blog with timely updates from the rehearsal room.
So with all that said, welcome Theater J! It's great to have you here and thank you for sharing your art with us.