To date, InterAct has presented 78 main-stage productions, including 32 world premieres, more than 30 regional premieres, and two premieres in the United States.
Rozin's path to InterAct began with his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. Kaki Marshall, Rozin's college adviser and the then-associate director of the Annenberg Center, offered him a job as her assistant.
The job brought him into contact with the Irish Universities Theatre Company, which was touring the United States performing classic and contemporary Irish plays.
While handling local arrangements for the group, Rozin got to know Terry Dixon, the troupe's tour director, who was both an Irish and a U.S. citizen. Rozin decided he wanted to bring a tour of American plays to Ireland.
Dixon and Rozin developed an Irish tour schedule the following fall.
Rozin gathered former college colleagues to help get the tour running, and by February 1988, the tour group became InterAct.
"We decided to form a company that would do this international theater exchange with the idea that you could learn something about another culture through its plays, both about its contemporary culture and values," Rozin explained.
InterAct launched its first season at the Annenberg Center's Harold Prince Theater, performing five classic and contemporary plays one night each.
The plays performed were Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones, Seduced by Sam Shepard, This Property Is Condemned by Tennessee Williams, Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet, and Edward Albee's Seascape, which Rozin directed.
The performances were followed by a seven-week tour of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
"We did that entirely fueled by naivete, adrenaline, and my life savings, which wasn't much," Rozin said with a laugh.
InterAct's mission began to change by the third season.
Rozin met playwright Thomas Gibbons, who also has Main Line roots, and the company began producing new work with a more political and public focus.
Rozin also found that his volunteer work with a shelter program for mothers and children was affecting his view of theater.
Rozin said the experience sold him on the notion that theater should stimulate dialogue as well as entertain.
Rozin's newfound theater goal was put to the test with the production of Gibbons' 6221, a three-act play about the 1985 standoff between the Philadelphia police and the radical MOVE group, which ended with 11 deaths and a West Philadelphia neighborhood destroyed by fire.
The play premiered at the Annenberg Center and received nationwide attention.
"With 6221, every single person has a strong feeling about it, and we couldn't sell it that well because of so many people having such angry feelings about the tragedy that they didn't want to see the play," Rozin said. "For those who did come, we had big arguments every night after the show."
InterAct has produced an array of plays since then, including Microcrisis, a comedy about the recent financial crisis, which finished its run this month. However, Rozin said none had defined InterAct as much as 6221.
"It crystallized what we were about, which was to use theater as a vehicle to stimulate dialogue," Rozin added. "And we've never done anything like that since it's really hard to get that kind of material all the time. It was something."
Rozin said InterAct is putting together a first-time festival this spring called "Outside the Frame: Voices From the Other America," running March 27 to April 22. It will be at the Adrienne Theater at 2030 Sansom St. and include performances by storytellers, solo artists, and monologists, sharing their stories about identity in America.
"It's mostly first-person solo works that individually and collectively show an array of stories, characters, and ideas that are not commonly covered in the mainstream media," Rozin said.
One of the first-person works is Draw the Circle, performed by Deen, a transgender artist who uses the narrative to tell the story of his transformation from a South Asian woman to man, entirely through the words of his family, friends, and partner.
"It's an absolutely beautiful story, but he never plays himself," Rozin added. "He only speaks the words of the people around him. He's the person who is transforming before their eyes."
Regardless of the future, Rozin credits his development as a director, writer, and producer to his tenure with Lower Merion High School's theater group, Lower Merion Players, the organization for which he also served as a staff sponsor from 1990 to 1998.
"I developed my entrepreneurial spirit there, I directed for the first time there, and I even did some of my first writing there," Rozin said. "I can really track my creative and professional seeds to that time in high school. I am incredibly indebted to my time there."
Contact Josh Fernandez as firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-800-1377.