Monday night the Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater was filled with supporters of Theater J gathered together to roast, slander, skewer and humiliate Artistic Director Ari Roth.
Well maybe it wasn’t as bad as all that. The following Ode To Ari by Robert Brustein, dean of American theater and founder of both the Yale and American Repertory Theaters was more typical of the appreciative needling:
FOR ARI ROTH FROM BOB BRUSTEIN WITH LOVE 2008
NO DEADLY SLOTH IS ARI ROTH,
A SPIRIT BOLD, A SOUL OF GOLD,
HE BRINGS A PLAY EACH DAY TO THEATRE J
–EXCEPT THE JEWISH HOLIDAY.
WHO PAYS FOR SUCH OUTLAYS?
NOT ROTH OF COURTH.
EVEN HIS HITS BRING DEFICITS.
SO WHAT HE SPENDS REQUIRES FRIENDS,
ROMANS, LANDSMEN TO LEND HIM HIS ARREARS.
OH, DAMN THE COST, WHEN NO EFFORT’S LOST
TO THINK LIKE A SAGE, TO TURN A NEW PAGE,
TO MAKE HIS STAGE THE GAUGE
OF EVERY AGE.
SO DO NOT HARRY ARI,
DO NOT LEAVE HIM WAXING WROTH
NO, WE MUST HOST HIM, TOAST HIM,
ROAST HIM, MAKE THE MOST OF HIM,
WITH DEEP EMOTION FOR HIS DEVOTION.
AND JUST FOR THE HECK OF IT,
INCLUDE A CHECK WITH IT.
It was a great evening, with a lot of laughter and no small amount of long pent-up venting for the Theater J staff who performed their own version of “The Cell Block Tango (He Had it Coming)” from Chicago. Another highlight of the evening were the video testimonials from current and former colleagues, actors, directors, family members and Theater J Council Members. We’ve included one below for those of you who couldn’t make it.