Adam Immerwahr is a director and theater producer. He is currently the artistic director of Theater J, the nation's premier Jewish theater. He served as the Associate Artistic Director at McCarter Theatre, a Tony Award-winning regional theater in Princeton, NJ. Adam also served as Resident Director at Passage Theatre and the Artistic Director of OnStage, an ensemble of retired Mercer County residents who collect and perform the stories of their community. Adam is a graduate of Brown University, where he majored in Theatre, Speech and Dance, and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.
Adam served on the producing team of multiple productions that have transferred to Broadway and Off-Broadway, including the world premiere of Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (which won the Tony Award for Best Play). Other notable producing credits include the original production of Fiasco Theater's Into the Woods (McCarter Theatre, The Old Globe, the Roundabout, the West End, national tour); the original developmental production of Danai Gurira's Eclipsed, directed by Liesl Tommy (a subsequent Broadway production garnered six Tony Award nominations); and the world premieres of Ken Ludwig's Baskerville and A Comedy of Tenors, Stephen Wadsworth's The Figaro Plays, and Tarell McCraney's Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, as well as world premieres by Edward Albee, John Guare, Marina Carr, Will Power, and Rachel Bonds. Directors whose work he has produced or associate produced include Roger Rees, Nicholas Martin, Rebecca Taichman, Tina Landau, Des McAnuff, Sam Buntrock, Liesl Tommy, John Doyle, Mary Zimmerman, Stephen Wadsworth, Phylicia Rashad, John Kani, Amanda Dehnert, and Aaron Posner.
Adam was a recipient of a 2008 Drama League Directing Fellowship and a member of the Luna Stage Directors’ Lab in 2006-2007. He is the winner of a National Merit Award, the Young Scholar Award, the Weston Award for Directing, and the Brown University Shakespeare Prize. He recently received the NJ Theatre Alliance Applause Award and the Fairleigh Dickinson University / Center for Nonprofits Emerging Nonprofit Leader Award.
Adam has taught classes, masterclasses, and workshops in casting, producing, community-based performance, devised theater, audition technique, and acting at Princeton University, Juilliard, Arcadia University, Rider University, Kean University, Westminster Choir College, Chautauqua Theater, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and others.
As a director, Adam’s credits include international: The Convert (Zimbabwe); Off-Broadway: Missing Celia Rose (SPF 2007, Theatre Row), The Chimes (SPF 2009, The Public Theater); Spirit Sex: A Paranormal Romance (Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC as part of the Going to the River Festival); Bacteria and Ground (The Wild Project, Theater Masters). Regional and NYC: The Understudy, The Mousetrap, A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre); Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Walnut Street Theater - and national tour); Familiar (Woolly Mammoth); Ken Ludwig's Sherwood (Cleveland Play House); The Last Schwartz, Roz and Ray and The Jewish Queen Lear (Theater J); Hannah and By The Water (Premiere Stages); Love and Communication (winner of the Brown Martin Philadelphia Award), Slippery As Sin, Trenton Lights, and Blood: A Comedy (Passage Theatre); The Possibilities, The Thing About Air Travel, The Kid Who Talked To Penguins (Hangar Theatre); Ground, Some Old Black Man, and Bacteria (Theater Masters); A Little Night Music (Princeton Summer Theater); Know Dog (Luna Stage); and others. Other credits include: Once Upon a Mattress, Measure for Measure; Metamorphoses; Marowitz’s The Shrew; Endgame; The Mystery of Edwin Drood; and Hush: An Interview with America.
A Christmas Carol
I’ve seen at least one version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for every December I’ve been reviewing theater (which adds up to a lot of Decembers, and doesn’t include annual visits to the Wanamaker’s/Macy’s Christmas Village). McCarter Theatre’s new adaptation by David Thompson probably rests at the top of that heap, a big-budget, talent-packed, and adorable-child-filled sugarplum of a production. Of course, every production of A Christmas Carol is still just that: sooty-faced Victorian urchins; the three ghosts; Ebenezer Scrooge and his humbuggery; Tiny Tim’s blessing us, every one. But there are always new generations of children ready to be terrified into a life of charitable Christian giving, and for them, McCarter’s is likely to make the lifelong impression against which all other Scrooges will be measured...
There’s a little bit of everything, both onstage and off. The action extends out into the audience space, so you really feel as if you’re in the middle of a rehearsal, not a play. As directed by McCarter’s Associate Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr, making his main-stage debut at the theater, the three-member cast brings this mayhem to life in an alarmingly believable way. For its over-90-minute duration, the play is sustained by an antic energy that flags only briefly at times.
If you want to know what goes on in theater-peoples’ psyches, or if you’re a theater person yourself and want to relieve the tension, this play is the answer. Howlingly funny, brilliantly performed both on stage and behind the scenes, The Understudy is pure comic genius. .
Ken Ludwig’s Sherwood
Though there must have been the temptation to politicize such a story for a 2019 audience, fortunately writer Ludwig and director Adam Immerwahr resisted.
Instead, this farcical take on Robin Loxley of Nottingham is a timeless, whimsical foray into the Middle Ages – complete with rubber frogs, hammy swordplay and lots of Shakespearean in-jokes.
Steven Ratazzi, in an intentionally awful mop-top wig, is especially strong as the campy, cowardly Sheriff, who is given many of the most outrageous moments. Price Waldman is wickedly funny as Prince John. And Doug Hara shines as he narrates as wise Friar Tuck. All in all, it’s wonderful ensemble effort with each actor effortlessly playing off of one another.
“Sherwood” is a very good “Robin Hood.”
Blood: A Comedy
David Lee White’s “Blood: A Comedy” couldn’t be cleverer as it deals with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a soap-opera-style family shocker and reflections on the existence of God. The Passage Theater Company’s satisfyingly sassy production, a world premiere directed with decided finesse by Adam Immerwahr, introduces us to a painfully honest modern family with outstanding verbal skills...
Roz and ray
Susan Rome is the doctor and Tom Story the father in this finely handled production at Theater J that has been sensitively guided by director Adam Immerwahr.
Immerwahr elicits performances of persuasive rawness from both of his actors. Rome adroitly conveys Roz’s commendable attempts at maintaining a professional facade, as well as the emotional needs that lead her close to ethical transgression. And Story, in a remarkably contained way, embodies the tragedy of Ray, an ordinary man caught in an eddy of despair, who, looking for someone to blame for a loss he cannot cope with, turns on the one person who stuck by him.
Director Adam Immerwahr and a wonderful cast make this piece that’s been running as long in London as Queen Elizabeth II alive with an energy that belies the play’s age. It would be hard to imagine a better, or more thoughtfully conceived staging of Agatha Christie’s classic. Immerwahr keeps everything edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, while eking scads of legitimate laughs and allowing characters to develop so they seem big and individual, yet everyday and authentic...
The Last Schwartz
Immerwahr’s buoyant, indisputably funny production makes a nice case for “Schwartz"... Immerwahr brings a light touch to this first show for the troupe he now runs: Very quickly, the performance finds a comic rhythm that’s snappy and occasionally kooky yet never pushy...
Last of the Red Hot Lovers
Tinder. Grindr. Match.com, and OKCupid — when Neil Simon wrote Last of the Red Hot Lovers in 1969, people actually had to meet IRL (in real life) to determine a potential mate’s worth, without prescreening photos or checklists of compatibility. As the Walnut Street Theatre’s blisteringly funny production proves, the only thing that hasn’t changed in 50 years is the hilarious failure rate of beta schmucks and their female counterparts left and looked over by the sexual marketplace...
The Language Archive
Under the masterful direction of Adam Immerwahr, the cast delivers sympathetic performances that are at once lofty and relatable, funny and sad, uplifting and heartrending; they are thoroughly human and multi-dimensional. Irungu Mutu is a revelation as George, the heartbroken scholar who is fluent in countless languages but can’t comprehend the messages the women in his life are sending him. Julianna Zinkel (Mary) and Tiffany Villarin (Emma) are telling embodiments of the age-old tradition of the active versus the contemplative life, and Keith Baker and Jo Twiss bring passion and humor to Resten and Alta, who argue in English—“the language of anger”—rather than defile the sacredness of their indigenous tongue...
Tamer of Horses
Directed by Adam Immerwahr, it’s powerful, theater about issues that are as urgent today as when the play was first staged... All three actors are splendid in their roles. Ms. Freeman’s Georgianne is the calm ballast that anchors the two wilder men. Mr. O’Blenis’s Ty wrestles with how to approach this wild child. He’s threatening, cajoling, demanding, even literally wrestling with Hector and learning street smarts in the process. The fight scenes are thrillingly choreographed by fight director Samantha Bellomo. As Hector, Mr. Piniella is scary good, moving like a loose-limbed beast and talking like a rapper. He’s at once hysterically funny and frightening in a brilliant performance...
Slippery as Sin
Slippery as Sin is one of the smartest and funniest new comedies around. White has nailed farce. There are some inspired visual bits in this play that are guaranteed to have you howling (at least they had me and everyone else in the place roaring uncontrollably)... Adam Immerwahr, who directed White’s Blood: A Comedy last season, is again directing, and with equally side-splitting results. Slippery as Sin is fresh, fast-paced, wicked fun. It’s going to slip away soon, so catch it before it disappears, or you’re caught in the grip of Diabolicus, whichever comes first...
By The Water
As Sharyn Rothstein’s family drama unfolds in this fine production at Premiere Stages at Kean University in Union, it becomes apparent that this home was damaged in a different way long before the storm hit... Making smart use of varied sound effects designed by Karin Graybash — subsiding thunder and rain, later the distant sound of waves and sea gulls, and brisk acoustic guitar music between the scenes — Mr. Immerwahr enhances these solid performances and the play’s changing moods. This New Jersey premiere is visually superior to Manhattan Theater Club’s original staging in 2014. A dirty high-water mark left by Hurricane Sandy smudges the white vinyl background of the expansive setting designed by Anya Klepikov, which otherwise purposefully looks barren.
A Little Night Music
Pulling this major production together, Mr. Immerwahr has cast the show with unerring intelligence and directed with distinction. The pace moves rapidly from start to finish. Every moment seems carefully, precisely rehearsed; with scenes shifting smoothly; diction, projection, and balance between actors and orchestra, between comic and serious, making all the witty shades of meaning and complex dialogue clear and accessible.
A Little Night Music, in this dazzling Princeton Summer Theater production, transcends the time and place in which it is set, transcends its farcical plot, transcends the difficulties of Mr. Sondheim’s sometimes cerebral music, and it transcends the discord of these characters’ lives. It delivers a striking commentary on the human condition, the frailty of love and life. Mr. Immerwahr and his richly talented company offer an exciting opening to PST’s diverse summer season. Don’t miss it.
Impatient, impetuous, imperious are appropriate adjectives to describe the young World War II Hungarian spy/poet Hannah Senesh at the center of John Wooten's play, Hannah, now onstage at Premiere Stages at Kean University in Union... Impressive is also a good word to describe Liz Wisan's portrayal of Hannah... Adam Immerwahr's direction makes it all work quite well, especially when he has the grown-up Hannah "watch" scenes from her childhood as if she is remembering them or, in one case, describing them to another prisoner... In addition to Wisan, Immerwahr has assembled a talented group of characters, many of whom have to play rather unsavory roles. The most impressive of these is Alan Coates, whose prison commandant Silon is one scary character. Sly, devious, he is quite a match for Wisan's Hannah who stands with a ramrod straight back and looks him in the eye when he addresses her. It is truly a battle of two strong wills; of course, he holds all the cards, so it won't bode well for her.
The Convert, by Danai Gurira: Almasi Collaborative Arts, Zimbabwe (nominated for Zimbabwe's national arts medal)
Off Broadway and NYC
The Chimes, by Kevin Christoper Snipes: The Public Theater - Summer Play Festival 2009
Some Old Black Man, by James Tyler: Theater Masters - The Wild Project, NYC / Aspen, CO
Ground, by Sarah Saltwick: Theater Masters - The Wild Project, NYC / Aspen, CO
The Delay, by David West Read: NYU Studio Tisch / Four Tens
Missing Celia Rose, by Ian August: Theater Row - Summer Play Festival 2007
Spirit Sex, by Desi Moreno-Penson: Ensemble Studio Theater (Going to the River Fest)
Bacteria, by Rachel Jendrzejewski: Theater Masters - The Wild Project, NYC / Aspen, CO
Last of the Red Hot Lovers, by Neil Simon: Walnut Street Theater / National Tour
A Christmas Carol, adapted by David Thompson: McCarter Theatre Center (recurring yearly since 2016)
Ken Ludwig's Sherwood, by Ken Ludwig: Cleveland Play House
Sleuth, by Antony Shaffer: McCarter Theatre Center (upcoming)
The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie: McCarter Theatre Center
Sheltered, by Alix Sobler: Theater J (upcoming)
The Jewish Queen Lear, by Jacob Gordin, translated by Nahma Sandrow: Theater J
The Last Schwartz, by Deborah Zoe Laufer: Theater J
The Understudy, by Theresa Rebeck: McCarter Theatre Center
Familiar, by Danai Gurira: Woolly Mammoth
Roz and Ray, by Karen Hartman: Theater J
The Language Archive, by Julia Cho: Bristol Riverside Theatre
Tamer of Horses, by William Mastrosimone: Passage Theatre
Cat in the Hat, by Katie Mitchell: Adventure Theater - MTC
By The Water, by Sharyn Rothstein: Premiere Stages
Roundelay, by R.N. Sandberg: Passage Theatre
Blessed Are, by Jessica Bedford: Passage Theatre
A Little Night Music, by Sondheim and Wheeler: Princeton Summer Theatre
Know Dog, by Kathryn Walat: Luna Stage
The Kid Who Talked to Penguins, by Ed Monk: Hangar Theater
Slippery As Sin, by David Lee White: Passage Theater
Hannah, by John Wooten: Premiere Stages
You Win Some, You Lose Some, by Adam Immerwahr: OnStage
Love and Communication, by Jim Christy, Jr.: Passage Theater
Trenton Lights, by David Lee White and June Ballinger: Passage Theater
Not Just Surviving, but Thriving, by Adam Immerwahr: OnStage
Blood: A Comedy, by David Lee White: Passage Theatre
The Possibilities, by Howard Barker: Hangar Theater - The Wedge
The Thing about Air Travel, by Max Posner: Hangar Theater - The Wedge
Illuminating Spirits, by Adam Immerwahr: Passage Theatre / NJ School Tour
Billy Loves Tara, by Alexis Martin: Mantua Street Project: Drexel University
Once Upon a Mattress, by Mary Rodgers: Westminster Choir College
Flight of the Lawnchair Man, by Ullian and Lindsay-Nassif: McCarter Theatre - Summer First Stage
Metamorphosis, by Mary Zimmerman: Interlochen Center for the Arts
Still Life with Iris, by Steven Dietz: Interlochen Center for the Arts
Measure for Measure, by Shakespeare: Brown University
Hush: An Interview with America, by James Still: Interlochen Center for the Arts
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Rupert Holmes: Musical Forum, Brown University
The Shrew, adapted by Charles Marowitz: Shakespeare on the Green, Brown University
Associate / Assistant Directing
The Convert, associate director to Emily Mann: McCarter / The Goodman / Center Theater Group
Sizwe Banzi is Dead, associate director to John Kani: Syracuse Stage
A Christmas Carol, assistant director to Michael Unger: McCarter Theatre Center
A Midsummer Night's Dream, assistant director to Tina Landau: McCarter Theatre / Paper Mill Playhouse
Miss Witherspoon, assistant director to Emily Mann: McCarter Theatre / Playwrights Horizons
Producing / Arts administration / teaching
Theater J, Artistic Director: 2015-present
McCarter Theatre, Associate Artistic Director: 2013-2015
McCarter Theatre, Associate Producer: 2010-2013
McCarter Theatre, Producing Associate: 2007-2010
McCarter Theatre, Grants Manager: 2006-2007
Passage Theatre, Resident Director: 2009-2016
OnStage Seniors, Artistic Director: 2009-2016
Nassau Presbyterian Church, Artist-in-Residence: 2014-2016
Brown/Trinity Rep MFA New Plays Festival, Assistant Producer: 2004-2005
Interlochen Center for the Arts, Faculty Member: 2001-2006
Interlochen Center for the Arts, Assistant to the Director of Theatre Arts: 2001-2004
Notable Producing Credits
The Jewish Queen Lear, Theater J: English-language world premiere of most famous Yiddish play ever written (Mirele Efros)
Becoming Dr. Ruth, Theater J / Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park: Helen Hayes nomination for Best Actress, remounted at Theater J and transferred to Cincinnati
Brighton Beach Memoirs, Theater J: Two Helen Hayes nominations, winning for Best Actress in a Play (Susan Rome)
Trayf, Theater J: World premiere
The Christians, Theater J: Two Helen Hayes nominations.
Fiasco's Into the Woods, McCarter Theatre: Original production, transferred to The Old Globe, the Roundabout, the West End, national tour.
Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike, McCarter Theatre: As associate producer. World premiere coproduction with Lincoln Center Theater, starring Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce. Transferred to Broadway (six Tony nominations including winning for Best Play).
Eclipsed, McCarter Theatre Lab: Original developmental production directed by Liesl Tommy. Play later performed at Woolly Mammoth, Yale Rep, Center Theater Group, and Broadway (six Tony nominations including Best Play).
A Comedy of Tenors, McCarter Theatre / Cleveland Playhouse: Ken Ludwig world premiere.
Tennessee Williams' Baby Doll, McCarter Theatre: U.S. premiere adaptation by Emily Mann and Pierre Laville.
Baskerville, McCarter Theatre / Arena Stage: Ken Ludwig world premiere.
The Figaro Plays, McCarter Theatre: World premiere adaptations, directed and adapted by Stephen Wadsworth.
Sizwe Banzi is Dead, McCarter Theatre / Syracuse Stage: Coproduction with Market Theater (South Africa).
August Wilson's Fences, McCarter Theatre / Long Wharf Theater: Directed by Phylicia Rashad.
The White Snake, McCarter Theatre / Goodman Theatre: Written and directed by Mary Zimmerman.
Fetch Clay, Make Man, McCarter Theatre: As associate producer. World premiere directed by Des McAnuff.
Edward Albee's Me, Myself and I, McCarter Theatre / Playwrights Horizons: As associate producer. World premiere.
Are You There, McPhee?, McCarter Theatre: As associate producer. World premiere by John Guare.
Phaedra Backwards, McCarter Theatre: As associate producer. World premiere by Marina Carr.
Drama League Award Nominator: 2015
Philadelphia Barrymore Award Voter: 2010-2012
Fred Ebb Songwriting Awards Voter: 2016
Visiting Artist / Guest Teacher
Chautauqua Theater Company (MFA)
University of Maryland
Westminster Choir College
McCarter Theatre Education
Theater J Education
Artistic Director: Adam Immerwahr
Managing Director: Jojo Ruf
Mission: Theater J is a nationally-renowned, professional theater that celebrates, explores and struggles with the complexities and nuances of both the Jewish experience and the universal human condition. Our work illuminates and examines: ethical questions of our time, inter-cultural experiences that parallel our own, and the changing landscape of Jewish identities. As the nation’s largest and most prominent Jewish theater, we aim to preserve and expand a rich Jewish theatrical tradition and to create community and commonality through theater-going experiences.
Hailed by The Washington Post as “The most influential Jewish theater company in the nation,” and recipient of 80 Helen Hayes nominations and awards, Theater J has emerged as one of the most distinctive, progressive and respected Jewish theaters on the national and international scene. A program of the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center, the theater works in collaboration with other components of the Morris Cafritz Center for the Arts: the Washington Jewish Film Festival and the Literary and Music Department.
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