Category Archives: Two River Theater

‘Ballad of Little Jo’ opens tonite at Two River Theater in Red Bank

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Cindi Lauper is writing the songs for the upcoming “Working Girl” Broadway musical. Cher’s life and career is to be the source of a 2018 Broadway show. But long before that, another woman was making her  way in a man’s world (even if she was incognito) and her story was adapted for the stage as “The Ballad of Little Jo.”

The  musical first staged in 2000 at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company — based on a real story made into a 1993 movie of the same title written and directed by Maggie Greenwald — continues through Sunday, June 25, at the Two River Theater Company, 21 Bridge St., Red Bank, NJ.

Set in the late 19th century, “The Ballad of Little Jo” is inspired by a real-life story of American optimism, according to the press release, and infused with a score that evokes the folk ballads of pioneer America. It tells the story of a woman named Josephine Monaghan, originally from Boston and where unmarried  pregnant daughters are banished as disgraceful, makes her way to a tough Idaho mining town where she lived as a man called “Jo” for nearly 20 years.

Continue reading ‘Ballad of Little Jo’ opens tonite at Two River Theater in Red Bank

Last weekend to catch Two River Theater’s ‘Women of Padilla’

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Tony Meneses new play, “The Women of Padilla,” is about eight women who are married to eight brothers who are away fighting an unknown war for an unknown cause that seems never-ending.

The title refers to the family’s last name and seven of the women spend hours together daily talking, eating, arguing, and laughing in a series of short scenes during the 90-minute play featuring an all-Latina cast. Continue reading Last weekend to catch Two River Theater’s ‘Women of Padilla’

Bedlam director delivers darker ‘Merry Wives’ at Two River Theater

Zuzanna Szadkowski, Jason O'Connell and Nicole Lewis in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at the Two River Theater in Red Bank. (PHOTO: T. Charles Erickson)
Zuzanna Szadkowski, Jason O’Connell and Nicole Lewis in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” at the Two River Theater in Red Bank. (PHOTO: T. Charles Erickson)

The second the lights come up on the set of the Two River Theater’s  “The Merry Wives of Windsor” you know this production is not your grandmother’s Shakespeare.

Sir John Falstaff (Jason O’Connell) is handcuffed to a bed with a ball gag in his mouth and wearing very little else. Mistress Ford (Nicole Lewis), in black baby-doll lingerie, stands next to the bed holding a gun.

The location is a seedy motel room strewn with clothes, liquor bottles, and garbage. It’s decorated with bulls’ horns, paint-by-number art, and a multi-colored carpet that hides all stains. Projected on the wall are the words “Right Now.”

Continue reading Bedlam director delivers darker ‘Merry Wives’ at Two River Theater

‘Lion in Winter’ to roar at Two River Theater

Dee Hoty (Eleanor of Aquitaine) and Michael Cumpsty (Henry II) in "The Lion in Winter" at Two River Theater directed by Tyne Rafaeli, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, scenic Design by Kristen Robinson and costumes by Andrea Hood. (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)
Dee Hoty (Eleanor of Aquitaine) and Michael Cumpsty (Henry II) in “The Lion in Winter” at Two River Theater directed by Tyne Rafaeli, lighting by Jennifer Tipton,
scenic Design by Kristen Robinson and
costumes by Andrea Hood. (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)

Between them, actors Michael Cumpsty and Dee Hoty have been in 29 Broadway shows and earned four Tony Award nominations.

They pop up often as guest stars on TV shows filmed in and around the New York metro area, including “Blue Bloods,” “Law and Order,” “Elementary,” “Madam Secretary” and “Smash.” They also do the occasional feature films.

Asked what they prefer doing, the answer was a resounding “being on the stage,” especially in regional theaters such as the Two River Theater where they open tomorrow night in “The Lion in Winter” in the lead roles of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Continue reading ‘Lion in Winter’ to roar at Two River Theater

Theater jobs: What is a Director of Production?

Director of Production Lauren Kurinskas with Queen Eleanor's dress from its current production of "The Lion In Winter" at the Two River Theater in Red Bank.
Director of Production Lauren Kurinskas with Queen Eleanor’s dress from its current production of “The Lion In Winter” at the Two River Theater in Red Bank.

Wonder what some of those titles in your theater program mean? Meet Lauren Kurinskas, Director of Production at the Two River Theater in Red Bank. No, she doesn’t direct the play, but she tells a lot of people behind the scenes what to do.

She joined the company in April 2012 as an Associate Production Manager and was promoted to her current job in October 2013. She handles all aspects of the shows staged by the professional theater company, which includes helping to create the season schedule and making sure each set is built on time; liaison between artistic and technical staff; oversee a staff of 23, plus find housing for visiting artists and facility rentals; running meetings and participating in long-term planning. Whew! Continue reading Theater jobs: What is a Director of Production?

Latino theater festival Crossing Borders opens tomorrow, ends Sunday

Crossing Borders logoThe 2016 Crossing Borders Festival at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ, launches tomorrow. It’s a 5-day celebration (Aug. 3,-7) of new plays by Latino writers with food and music. And it’s free. What’s not to like?

Two River’s outreach year-round within  its community is exemplary, especially to area Latinos and African-Americans. It’s what all nonprofit theaters should be doing. Continue reading Latino theater festival Crossing Borders opens tomorrow, ends Sunday

‘I Remember Mama’ at Two River Theater is a Mama you will remember

If you want to know what else there is to be learned from the old play “I Remember Mama,” visit its current non-traditional production at Two River Theater that ends on Sunday. Bring your mom, if you’re still lucky to have one.

“I Remember Mama,” based on Kathryn Forbes’  memoir “Mama’s Bank Account,” was adapted for the Broadway stage by John Van Druten (1944), who turned ; turned into a movie (1948) and TV series (1950s), before returning to Broadway (1979) as a musical lasting a mere 108 performances.

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Alec Baldwin, Kevin Kline plan live podcast to raise money for 2 River Theater

Kevin Kline (left) and Michael Palin in a scene from the film "A Fish Called Wanda." Kline earned a Best Supporting Oscar for the role.
Kevin Kline (left) and Michael Palin in a scene from the film “A Fish Called Wanda.” Kline earned a Best Supporting Oscar for the role.

Alec Baldwin returns to the main stage at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ,  on June 20 with actor Kevin Kline to tape an interview for the his podcast, “Here’s the Thing.”

His last public visit at the highly respected and adventurous regional theater company was for a 2011  fund-raising event “Alec Baldwin, Michael Cumpsty Unplugged.”  That sold out.

Continue reading Alec Baldwin, Kevin Kline plan live podcast to raise money for 2 River Theater

Two River Theater’s ‘Pericles’ an epic theatrical event

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OK. Let’s just say it up front. “Pericles” is a play with problems and  almost nobody understands it. It’s one of Shakespeare’s last plays and some scholars believe he had a not-too-talented collaborator for half of it. It’s hardly ever staged because it doesn’t sell well.

But none of that deterred the Two River Theater company in Red Bank, NJ, from putting it on their  adventurous 2015-16 season schedule that includes an all-male “Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum” and the upcoming all-female “I Remember Mama.”

Continue reading Two River Theater’s ‘Pericles’ an epic theatrical event

2 River Theater reveals 2016-17 season with classics, and new works

Two River Theater tonight announced its 2016-2017 season, which  includes Michael Cumptsy as Henry II in “The Lion in Winter” and Ruben Santiago-Hudson directing August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”  Cumpsty and Santiago-Hudson, comfortable on NYC stages, bring their Broadway level work to regional theaters. Both men are returning to what they consider their second home which 2River fans are happy about.

Continue reading 2 River Theater reveals 2016-17 season with classics, and new works