Two River Theater reveals diverse 2016-17 season


By August Wilson’s

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson 

Rechnitz Theater 

Sept. 10-Oct.

"Ma" Rainey was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues. (Wikipedia)
“Ma” Rainey was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers. (Wikipedia)

Two River Theater opens its season with an extended four-week run of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Two River’s fourth American Century Cycle production following its acclaimed productions of JitneyTwo Trains Running, and Seven Guitars. August Wilson’s incendiary drama, set in the 1920s, takes audiences into the world of legendary singer Ma Rainey (the real-life “Mother of the Blues”) as she lays down tracks with her band in a Chicago recording studio. Tony Award-winning actor, playwright, and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Broadway’s Seven GuitarsYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine) directs.

Mary Birdsong (Marion) and Michael Cumpsty (Ronald) in "Absurd Person Singular' at Two River Theater. (PHOTO: T Charles Ericsson)
Mary Birdsong (Marion) and Michael Cumpsty (Ronald) in “Absurd Person Singular’ at Two River Theater. (PHOTO: T Charles Ericsson)


By James Goldman  

Rechnitz Theater 

Nov. 12-Dec. 4, 2016

“Well—what shall we hang? The holly or each other?” Tony Award-nominated actor Michael Cumpsty (End of the RainbowThe Body of an American) stars in The Lion in Winter. This American classic depicts the ruthless scheming and power struggles between Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their three children during Christmas, 1183 as they fight over who will rule the land after Henry’s death.


Produced by Lightwire Theater

Rechnitz Theater

Dec. 27-30, 2016 

Music, movement, and neon lights fill the stage as dancers and puppets tell the story of a young bird named Max, who is trying to fly south for the winter.  As he tries to make his way home, his adventures begin as he encounters friendly caroling worms, dancing poinsettias, Nutcracker soldiers, mischievous mice and an evil Rat King. This holiday tale for audiences of all ages is set to timeless holiday hits by Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey, Tchaikovsky, and more.



By Madeleine George

Directed by Leigh Silverman

Marion Huber Theater

Jan. 14-Feb. 12, 2017

Set in a slightly larger-than-life version of Red Bank, Hurricane Diane is a “wild comedy” about climate change. An ancient god on an

Playwright Madeleine George returns to Two River this season.
Playwright Madeleine George returns to Two River this season with a new work.

earthly mission, gardener Diane forever alters the lives of four New Jersey housewives when she sets out to convince each woman to implement her environmentally friendly landscape design. Two River commissioned Hurricane Diane from Madeleine George after the success of her play Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England in the 2011/12 Season. George is the winner of the 2016 Whiting Award in Drama; she received a Pulitzer Prize nomination and the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for her play The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence. Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman (Violet) previously directed Ethan Lipton’s No Place to Go at Two River.


By William Shakespeare 

Directed by Eric Tucker  

Marion Huber Theater 

Feb. 25-March 26, 2017

Shakespeare’s great comedy about marriage—which features one of his most beloved comic characters, Sir John Falstaff—will be Martin Droeshout's created the cover for Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies is the 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays. Modern scholars commonly refer to it as the First Folio and has 630 pages. Only 233 copies are known to exist.performed by only three actors in an exuberant feat of imagination, energy, and theatricality. Director Eric Tucker and actor Jason O’Connell are frequent collaborators; their work together includes last season’s acclaimed Off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (named the Best Classical Production of 2015 by Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal) and Sense and Sensibility for the New York-based company Bedlam, for which Tucker is Artistic Director.

The Merry Wives of Windsor will be performed in Two River’s 110-seat Marion Huber Theater. In connection with this production, Two River will produce A Little Shakespeare, a 70-minute version of the play performed by high school students. Performances of A Little Shakespeare will be presented in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater from March 7-12.

"Guadalupe In the Guest Room" received its world premiere at Two River Theatre Company. Written by Tony Meneses and directed by Daniella Tool. (PHOTO: T Charles Ericsson)
“Guadalupe In the Guest Room” world premiere was at Two River Theatre.. Written by Tony Meneses, directed by Daniella Tool. (PHOTO: T Charles Ericsson)

By Tony Meneses 

Rechnitz Theater

April 8-30, 2017

Through the power of food, faith, laughter, and each other, eight women find a way to carry on life at home while their husbands are away at an unnamed war. Inspired by the heightened lyricism of playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, this new play shows there is always a way—even through the hardest of times—to set our love free. Playwright Tony Meneses made his Two River debut last season with Guadalupe in the Guest Room.


Music by Mike Reid        

Lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger
Book by Sarah Schlesinger, Mike Reid, and John Dias
Based on the film The Ballad of Little Jo by Maggie Greenwald
Directed by John Dias

Rechnitz Theater 

June 3-25, 2017

This soaring musical about the American West is inspired by the real-life story of Josephine Monaghan—a young woman from Boston who, in the late 19th century, made a new life in an Idaho mining town disguised as a man called “Jo.” Grammy Award-winning Nashville songwriter Mike Reid and lyricist Sarah Schlesinger previously collaborated on Two River’s productions of A Wind in the Willows Christmas and In This HouseJohn Dias, Artistic Director of Two River Theater, is co-writing the book and making his directorial debut with this production.


Full-season 6-play subscriptions are on sale now; prices range from $170 to $315. Subscribers save 25% on tickets, receive prime seating and a number of additional benefits. Visit for more details.

Individual show tickets will go on sale August 2016. Ticket prices for individual shows range from $20 to $70.

Ticket prices for all productions except A Very Electric Christmas and A Little Shakespeare range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance.

Ticket prices for A Very Electric Christmas and A Little Shakespeare are $20 for adults and $15 for children under age 12.

News and views of New Jersey's regional theaters, and bits about Broadway.

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