Category Archives: Two River Theater

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.

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Two River Theater invites public to chill with regular free events

Exterior night image of Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Ave., Red Bank, NJ.
Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Ave., Red Bank, NJ.

Nonprofit theaters around the country have been adding value to their brand for years with such things as pre- and-post-performance talks. Two River Theater in Red Bank (NJ) has really thrown itself into building a community by offering lots of free audience-pleasing events other than a 6-play season.

Image of Two River Theater's artistic director John Dias.
Two River Theater’s artistic director John Dias.

On Monday (May 11) the regional theater, under the artistic direction of John Dias, announces its 2015-’16 season. But instead of sending out a press release to local media, the public is invited  to reserve a free ticket in the 399-seat main stage space and hear what’s on the schedule from the directors, artistic staff, and actors who will be part of the season. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the event is followed by a reception.

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‘Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine’ tackles tough talk about race in USA


No matter how much you study the Harlem Renaissance or the Great Migration, read books by famous black authors or listen to Thelonius Monk, you will not really know what it is like to be black in America unless you are black.

But Judith, an earnest, well-educated white woman in Ruben Santiago-Hudson‘s exciting new play “Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine,” believes she can.  Zeke, a black man working at a homeless shelter, knows that she can not.

This is the fulcrum on which this play revolves. Like an approaching  tornado, the 100-minute play begins calmly. But soon we feel a change in the air as an ill wind begins to pick up. Before you know it the tempest hits full force — metaphorically twisting words and meanings and intent — before it quickly passes leaving bewilderment and resentment in its wake. It’s a wild ride that ends too quickly and without resolution.

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Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s new play about race now at Two River Theater

 

Looking forward to seeing Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s “Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine,” a passionate and explosive debate on America’s relationship to race this weekend at Two River Theater. It couldn’t be more timely with an upcoming presidential election and news cycles that often include stories of black men being killed by white cops.

Running through May 3 at the regional theater in Red Bank, NJ, the world-premiere wants audiences to stay for post-play discussions following every performance. That’s certainly one way to get people of various races together to talk.

Written and directed by Tony Award-winner Santiago-Hudson, the 90-minute play centers on an  Upper West Side dinner party invitation that brings an unlikely group together. Two River’s website says it “… brings humor and poignancy to one of the most potent conversations in American life. In our shared history, we all sing the blues. But are your blues sweet like mine?”

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Actor Michael Cumpsty shows ‘slap-sticky’ side at Two River Theater

Image, from left, Michael Cumpsty (Ronald), Mary Birdsong (Marion), Scott Drummond  (Geoffrey) and Liz Wisan (Eva) in Absurd Person Singular at Two River Theater.
From left, Michael Cumpsty (Ronald), Mary Birdsong (Marion), Scott Drummond (Geoffrey) and Liz Wisan (Eva) in Absurd Person Singular at Two River Theater. (T Charles Erickson Photography)

“English” actor Michael Cumpsty has only appeared once in a professional theater production in the country where he was born. The rest of his career in major movies, major TV series and major Broadway plays and musicals has been on this side of the Atlantic.

The Tony-nominated actor currently is appearing at Red Bank’s Two River Theater in the six-character ensemble comedy “Absurd Person Singular” through Feb. 1.

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Michael Cumpsty talks about life as an actor on Broadway, in New Jersey

Image of  Rebecca Hall as Young Woman and Michael Cumpsty as Husband in 'Machinal'
Rebecca Hall as Young Woman and Michael Cumpsty as Husband in “Machinal” on Broadway, which ran from Jan. 16 through March 2, 2014.

One of the great things about being a journalist is access. You get to talk to lots of folks that others can’t. For me, that means conversing with theater people. Today, that meant talking to Michael Cumpsty, who starts previews Saturday in the Two River Theater Company’s “Absurd Person Singular” by Alan Ayckbourn.

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