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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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?→
The 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?
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.
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.”
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.