2 River Theater schedules all-male ‘Forum,’ plus all-female ‘I Remember Mama’

The Two River Theater company announced its 2015-2016 season Monday night before an applause-happy crowd and it includes an all-male Plautus-inspired production of “Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum” and an all-female staging of “I Remember Mama” in which none of the 10 actresses are under age 65.

Now that’s something you don’t see very often at the country’s top regional theaters.

Image of Two River Theater logo as it announces its 2015-2016 season.
Two River Theater in Red Bank announces its 2015-2016 season.

Also on the schedule is Shakespeare’s “Pericles” which  has music and lyrics and begins in a bar filled with losers at the end of the universe. “Ropes,” a Mexican play with a new English translation is planned, a world premiere of a  play written by Two River founder Robert Rechnitz called “Lives of Reason” and August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” round out the season.

More info to come soon, but for now the details on Two River Theater season:

“Seven Guitars,” Sept.12-Oct. 4

Brandon J. Dirden, who as an actor starred in TRTC’s “Topdog/Underdog” and the recent “Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine” makes his directorial debut with the August Wilson play that takes place in 1948 Pittsburgh and centers on local blues guitarist Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton whose career is on the edge of stardom.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Nov. 14-Dec. 13

Jessica Stone directs. She helmed this season’s “Absurd Person Singular.” I know, you mostly want to know who’s playing Pseudolus for without  a good one, there is no Roman comedy … Christopher Fitzgerald (Stone’s husband), who has second billing in Jim Parson’s Broadway show  “An Act of God” on its website and was in the original cast of “Wicked” (Boq) and “Young Frankenstein” (Igor). Enuf said.

“Lives of Reason,” Jan. 9-Feb. 7

By Robert Rechnitz and Kenneth Stunkel, both of whom were seriously tenured professors at Monmouth University. The play takes place during an  “English Department’s faculty party where a  woman’s secret passions explode.” It will be directed by Jonathan Fox, Two Rivers’ original artistic director.

“Ropes,” Feb. 20-March 20

By Barbara Colio, translation by Maria Alexandra Beech, directed by Lisa Rothe: Written by a leading, contemporary Latin American playwright, the work centers on three sons who don’t know their father, a world-famous tight rope walker, and their quest to connect with him.

“Pericles,” April 16-May 8

By you-know-who, with music and lyrics by Rinde  Eckert, directed by David Schweizer: This sounds really cool. The duo, known for their  “And God Created Great Whales,” based on “Moby Dick,” bring a nonconventional look at theater. As TRTC Artist Director Dias told the more than 300 people who showed up at the theater to hear about the new season, “I go see whatever these guys do.”

“I Remember Mama,” June 4-26

By John Van Druten, directed by Jack Cummings. John Dias, described as visionary by numerous people during the presentation, said he went to see this show off-Broadway produced by Transport Group Theatre Company and directed by Cummings and he was blown away. He felt the play needed a longer life, more exposure. The cast will be led by Barbara Barrie and by local actress Barbara Andres, who appeared in the NYC production.

Only problem with the new season … Broadway (TV and film)  star Michael Cumpsty, who’s been a semi-regular here,  said at the after party he wasn’t expecting to be cast in any roles this upcoming season. Boo, Hiss. Ugh.

Otherwise … Two River has an exceptional lineup, one filled with adventure and excitement, challenges and tradition, family themes —  a treat-to-be for theater geeks.

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