Category Archives: Two River Theater

Last chance to catch delightful staging of ‘The Belle of Amherst’

“The Belle of Amherst” featuring Maureen Silliman as Emily Dickenson. (PHOTO:  T Charles Erickson)

The Two River Theater Company launched  two shows that landed on NYC stages so far this year. It’s a great way for the Red Bank-based regional theater to celebrate its 25 anniversary season.

TRT playwright-in-residence Madeleine George’s “Hurricane Diane” was staged at the New York Theatre Workshop earlier this season and “Be More Chill” opened last month at  the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway.

You might think TRT specializes in new work.

Wrong. The company also produces classic works, and this is the last week to check out “The Belle of Amherst,” based on Emily Dickinson’s life. It’s a loving revival of the one-woman show written by William Luce (he specialized in them, and wrote this one for Julie Harris, who premiered it on Broadway in 1976). Continue reading Last chance to catch delightful staging of ‘The Belle of Amherst’

‘Be More Chill’ has a sister in Joe Iconis’ new musical ‘Love In Hate Nation’

Two River Theater Company announced its 2019-2020 season, which includes a world premiere musical from Joe Iconis. (PHOTO: Gretchen Van Benthuysen)

”Be More Chill” fans rejoice!! Joe Iconis has a new show. It’s about teenagers. Bad girls, really bad girls, in fact, it takes place in a juvie hall in the 1960s. It’s called “Love In  Hate Nation.” Continue reading ‘Be More Chill’ has a sister in Joe Iconis’ new musical ‘Love In Hate Nation’

Classic ‘Belle of Amherst’ at Two River Theater opens tonite, closes May 5

Two River Theater tonight opens the  classic one-woman play “The Belle of Amherst, “a biographical drama (with plenty of laughs) starring Maureen Silliman as poet Emily Dickinson.

It’s directed by the theater’s founder and Executive Producer Robert Rechnitz, a former Professor of American Literature at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. Continue reading Classic ‘Belle of Amherst’ at Two River Theater opens tonite, closes May 5

Dear world, ‘Be More Chill’ was launched at Two River Theater Co.

Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, N.J.
Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, N.J.

The “Be More Chill” segment that closed today’s NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt is great publicity for a  musical whose original cast album had 250,000,000 million downloads on social media. Only “Hamilton” had more. 

But couldn’t the reporter have thrown a bone to the non-profit Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, NJ, where the show first was produced and created the album. Instead of naming it she said: “When ‘Be More Chill’ closed its first run at a small New Jersey theater, it seemed like that would be it for the musical.”

Ok.Ok. It only has 349 seats. But the Lyceum Theatre is one of the smaller Broadway theatres in terms of capacity, seating only 922. So there.

Watch the NBC video

It is the oldest continuously operating legitimate theatre in New York City, and the first Broadway theatre ever to be granted landmark status (1974)
It is the oldest continuously operating legitimate theatre in New York City, and the first Broadway theatre ever to be granted landmark status (1974)

Wilson’s ‘King Hedley II’ very much in yo’ face at Two River Theater

With Two River Theater’s current staging of August Wilson’s “King Hedley II,” the Red Bank company has reached the halfway mark in  producing the 10-plays that comprise the playwright’s American Century Cycle.

Actor Brandon J. Dirden, whose career includes TV, Broadway and five plays here (two by Wilson), has done an outstanding job once again with a superb cast of six very accomplished actors and a skilled technical team.

Dirden also chose to stage the play in the 110-seat Marion Huber Theater. The actors are in your face and their thoughts, feelings and desperation are visceral. It’s down-and-dirty theater that, at times, takes your breath away. Continue reading Wilson’s ‘King Hedley II’ very much in yo’ face at Two River Theater

Brandon J. Dirden balances acting with directing, for now

Brandon J. Dirden as Martin Luther King, Jr. in “All The Way.” (PHOTO: Evgenia Eliseeva)

For now, Brandon J. Dirden is an actor who also directs plays. But maybe not for long. He might be transitioning into a director who also acts.

Dirden, 39, is the son of actor Willie Dirden, older brother to actor Jason Dirden, is married to actress Crystal Dickinson and they have a 4-year-old son he calls a “theater rat” because he spends so much time in them.

Dirden made his Broadway debut in “Prelude to a Kiss” (2007) and portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. opposite Bryan Cranston in his Broadway debut as Lyndon B. Johnson in “All the Way” (2014). Continue reading Brandon J. Dirden balances acting with directing, for now

‘Pamela’s First Musical’ announces cast for its world premiere

Pamela's First Musical logoWe knew the world premiere of “Pamela’s First Musical” would open the 25th anniversary season of the Two River Theater Company in September. Now we know who’s in the cast and the creative team.

They have more than 25 Tony Awards nominations — and seven wins — among them.

Wendy Wasserstein (“The Heidi Chronicles) adapted her 1996 children’s book for the stage with “City of Angels” composer Cy Coleman and lyricist David Zippel —all Tony Award-winners. 

Christopher Durang, another Tony winner for “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” also is involved in the project that has been under development by Two River Theater for several years. Continue reading ‘Pamela’s First Musical’ announces cast for its world premiere

Two River Theater expanding its footprint and booking as it turns 25

Mike Birbiglia's one-man show "The New One" is being performed at Two River Theater in Red Bank and the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village this month.
Mike Birbiglia’s one-man show “The New One” is being performed at Two River Theater in Red Bank and the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village this month.

Two River Theater Company, a regional non-profit theater in New Jersey with a national reputation for staging excellent productions, appears to be expanding its offerings with booking a comic and a film festival in the “off-season.”

Mike Birbiglia‘s one-man show “The New One” that begins tonight at the Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Ave., Red Bank.

Continue reading Two River Theater expanding its footprint and booking as it turns 25

‘Songbird’ soars for fans of boot-stomping, honky-tonk version of ‘Seagull’

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A new honky-tonk musical based on an Anton Chekhov play is stomping the stage at the Two River Theater through July 1. 

Set in a small Nashville bar where whisky is a food group, music on the out-of-tune piano is more rhythm than melody and dead keys a must, plus the ability to dance the two-step is required, 10 real good friends and relatives are trying to sort out their lives — badly.  Continue reading ‘Songbird’ soars for fans of boot-stomping, honky-tonk version of ‘Seagull’

Comedian Mike Birbiglia books six performances at Two River Theater

Mike Birbiglia is a comedian, actor and filmmaker, who also can be heard on Public Radio's  "This American Life" and "The Moth." He also has  released several comedy albums and television specials. (PHOTO: Courtesy Two River Theater Company)
Mike Birbiglia is a comedian, actor and filmmaker, who also can be heard on Public Radio’s “This American Life” and “The Moth.” (PHOTO: Courtesy Two River Theater Company)

Two River Theater Company has announced a special July event featuring comedian and storyteller Mike Birbiglia in six performances of “The New One” prior to its New York premiere.

Tickets go on sale beginning 10 a.m. tomorrow (May 16) for Two River subscribers and donors, and to the general public at 10 a.m. Friday (May 18.) Tickets are $35 and available at tworivertheater.org or at 732-345-1400.

Birbiglia  has performed in venues around the world, including  the Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall. Recent shows include, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” and “Thank God for Jokes,” which were filmed for Netflix. Continue reading Comedian Mike Birbiglia books six performances at Two River Theater